Operation Iron Pursuit

Under Operation Iron Pursuit, U.S. Forces pursued enemy fighters in Diyala province into three rural areas:  south of Balad Ruz (a longtime al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) safehaven); north and east of Hamrin Lake (an AQI safehaven contested by Kurdish Peshmerga forces); and the area north of Khalis (on the seam between Diyala and Salah ad Din provinces). 

The operation is divided into three sub-operations: Sabre Pursuit, Eagle Pursuit and Bastogne Pursuit.

According to Major General Mark Hertling, the operation is "directed against all the support zones of al-Qaida in Iraq. And our message in conducting that operation is we have secured the key cities of the north. We have seen al-Qaida continue to be pushed into what we call “the support zones” or the areas of the desert. And we will continue to pursue them into those areas, relentlessly pursuing them and showing them there is no sanctuary until they leave this country."

Iraqi operations under Operation Glad Tidings of Benevolence extended across several areas in Diyala, but were centered in Baqubah and smaller urban centers such as Qara Tapa and Jalawla.  While involved in holding areas cleared by U.S. forces, the operation illustrated Maliki’s willingness to use localized control and security issues to weaken and manipulate a competing faction on the national level.