The men wore fatigues and black T-shirts, many adorned with death’s head prints taken from American popular culture, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Marvel’s Punisher comic books, and the Sons of Anarchy television series. As the convoy passed over the rubble of the town, the men cheered to one another, flashing victory signs and shouting at a cluster of Western press.
“By God, we’ll soon be entering Mosul!”
These soldiers, members of the Iraqi Army’s elite Golden Division, are expected to drive the Islamic State out of Mosul. Many members of the division have been battling the Islamic State for over two years across the country — and as the Islamic State has been slowly driven back, the Golden Division has been at the forefront of nearly every victory. But if they hope to defeat the Islamic State, they’re going to have to learn to work with some new allies.