In a new AEI report, ISW President Kimberly Kagan, Frederick W. Kagan, and Danielle Pletka present empirical evidence of Iranian activities in its immediate environs.
PowerPoint Presentation by Kimberly Kagan as part of the report, Iranian Influence in the Levant, Iraq, and Afghanistan at the American Enterprise Institute.
The surge of operations that American and Iraqi forces began on June 15 has dramatically improved security in Baghdad and throughout Iraq.
A division-level operation that targeted Shi'a extremists east of Baghdad during Operation Phantom Strike.
The northeastern belt runs from the Tarmiyah area in the Tigris River Valley, east through Khalis and Baqubah and south to Nahrawan east of Baghdad. It controls the road networks that link Baghdad with the eastern shore of the Tigris River Valley, as well the Diyala River Valley and a key border crossing with Iran. Consequently, both al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), Jaysh al-Mahdi, and associated Iranian-backed Special Groups have competed to control the area.
The Baghdad belts are residential, agricultural, and industrial areas that encircle the city, and networks of roadways, rivers, and other lines of communication that lie within a twenty or thirty mile radius of Baghdad and connect the capital to the rest of Iraq. Beginning in the north, the belts include the cities of Taji, clockwise to Tarmiyah, Baqubah, Buhriz, Besmayah and Nahrwan, Salman Pak, Mahmudiyah, Sadr al-Yusufiyah, Fallujah, and Karmah.
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.