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.
Tribal Movements and Sons of 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 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.
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.
MND-C operation aiming to promote security in the southern and eastern belts of Baghdad.
The refrain of ‘concerned citizens’ and ‘reconciliation’, so familiar in the news emanating from places like Anbar and Diyala, has found a degree of resonance in the Iraqi capital.
They call themselves Farsan Al Rafidayn, the Knights of the Two Rivers. And in Ameriya, a formerly wealthy district of western Baghdad, they have turned on al Qaeda,
What began in Anbar as a local movement of tribes is developing into a national phenomenon.