Provincial and Central Government

ISW Interview with COL Wayne Grigsby, Commander, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, FOB Hammer, Iraq

As part of a series of interviews with Brigade and Division-level commanders in Iraq,  I spoke today with COL Wayne Grigsby, commander of the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division (Sledgehammer Brigade) about the clearing of the Mad’ain Qadaa and the continuing fight against both Sunni and Shi'a extremists. You can access the audio and the transcript below.




The northwestern Baghdad belt, stretching from Karmah west of Baghdad to Tarmiyah in the north, has been a sanctuary for al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) since January 2007, when the capital of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) was displaced from Diyala province to Tarmiyah.

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.