Operation Raider Harvest
Backgrounder # 18, December Operations in Muqdadiyah, discussed the reconnaissance in force operations by Coalition Forces north of Muqdadiyah in December 2007 and predicted that the area would see an increased tempo of operations in the coming weeks. On January 9, 2008, Major General Mark Hertling, commander, Multi-National Division – North (MND-North), and 1st Armored Division, announced a new division-level, MND-North wide effort – Operation Iron Harvest. The centerpiece of Iron Harvest was Operation Raider Harvest, which indeed focused on the area north and west of Muqdadiyah. This backgrounder details the conduct of Raider Harvest and its potential impact on security in northern Diyala province.
As al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was pushed up the Diyala River Valley by Coalition operations in 2007, the organization established a sanctuary in the area northwest of Muqdadiyah called the “Breadbasket.” AQI controlled the Breadbasket by terrorizing and intimidating the local population and used the area as a major logistics and command and control site to funnel fighters, weapons, and money down the Diyala River Valley into Muqdadiyah and Baqubah. Raider Harvest cleared the Breadbasket and then moved to a holding phase. The operation aimed to create lasting security by flooding the area with Iraqi Security Forces, investing in rebuilding Muqdadiyah and the Breadbasket’s essential services, infrastructure and economy, and connecting the area with the provincial and federal level governments.