The Baghdad belts are residential, agricultural, and industrial areas that encircle the city, and networks of roadways, rivers, and other lines of communication that lie within a twenty or thirty mile radius of Baghdad and connect the capital to the rest of Iraq. Beginning in the north, the belts include the cities of Taji, clockwise to Tarmiyah, Baqubah, Buhriz, Besmayah and Nahrwan, Salman Pak, Mahmudiyah, Sadr al-Yusufiyah, Fallujah, and Karmah.
Tribal movements and Sons of Iraq (SoI) groups have been a critical partner for coalition forces in stabilizing Iraq from 2006 onwards.
Although one of the smallest factions in the Sunni insurgency, Al-Qaeda in Iraq may be one of the most deadly. US operations have put tremendous pressure on the group.
The brigade responsible for most of Diyala in 2007 is rotating home, beginning the drawdown of U.S. troops. Yet force levels in Diyala will remain constant.
This is the first in a series of reports profiling the units of the 6th Iraqi Army Division. The units discussed here are located west and south of Baghdad.
Phantom Strike, a series of targeted joint operations against al Qaeda, Sunni, and Shi'a insurgent elements
in Baghdad and the surrounding areas, was launched on August 13, 2007.
What began in Anbar as a local movement of tribes is developing into a national phenomenon.
This backgrounder provides a bulletized summary of Operation Phantom Thunder.