Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Diyala (ديالى)

The Iraqi province of Diyala lies to the north of Baghdad. Its shares its eastern border with Iran, its northern border with Kurdistan, and its western border is shaped by the flow of the Tigris River. The Diyala River, a tributary of the Tigris, flows south through Diyala before meeting with the Tigris just south of Baghdad. Diyala's main cities include Baqubah (its capital), Muqdadiyah, Balad Ruz, Khalis, and Khanaqin.  The province has a mix of Sunni Arab, Shi'a, and Kurdish residents.

Tigris River Valley (وادي نهر دجلة)

The upper Tigris River Valley runs from the northern border of Iraq down directly into the center of Baghdad.  As the Tigris winds its way south to the capital, a number of key Iraqi cities lie along the route; these are Bayji, Tikrit, Samarra, and Balad. A major highway, Main Supply Route Tampa, also runs from the Syrian border, through Mosul, and down along the Tigris River and aforementioned cities into Baghdad.

Western Iraq

Western Iraq is comprised of a single province, Anbar, located to the west of Baghdad. It stretches northwest to the Syrian border and southwest to the Saudi Arabian border. The Euphrates River Valley represents the main line of communication in the province, with numerous cities and settlements lining its banks. Moving from west to east, the cities of al-Qaim, Rawah, Haditha, Hit, Ramadi, Habbaniyah, and Fallujah make up the main population centers of the province. Anbar’s population is almost entirely Sunni Muslim.

Northern Iraq

Northern Iraq extends north from Baghdad and is bordered by Syria, Turkey, and Iran. It consists of the provinces of Salah ad-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah, Arbil, Dahuk, and Ninawa. Iraqi Kurds inhabit the northern area, including Sulaymaniyah, Arbil, and Dahuk. The remainder of the region has a mix of ethnic and sectarian groups.