Baghdad Belts

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The Baghdad Belts are the residential, agricultural and industrial areas, as well as communications and transportation infrastructure that encircle the Iraqi capital and connect it to other areas in Iraq.[1] In the Iraq War, they were used by insurgents as staging points for operations in the capital.

Location[edit]

The belts can be described as the provinces adjacent to the Iraqi capital and can be divided into four quadrants: Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest. Beginning in the north, the belts include the province of Salah ad Din, clockwise to Baghdad province, Diyala in the North-east, Babil and Wasit in the south east and around to Al Anbar in the west.

Iraq War 2003-[edit]

Strategic value[edit]

Between 2004 and June 2007, Al Qaida in Iraq and Shi'ite militias used locations in the Baghdad Belts to supply their combat operations in the capital. According to General Odierno, a top US commander in Iraq, "“Attacks occurring in Baghdad often originate in these outerlying regions."[1] In 2006, US forces captured a map hand-drawn by then-al Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi which showed Al Qaida placed a high priority on controlling the belts as a means of transporting weapons and fighters as well as providing bases in which to construct bomb-making factories.

Operation Phantom Thunder[edit]

Beginning in early 2007, the top US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, committed three of the five "Surge" brigades to the belts. In June 2007, as part of a country-wide offensive to secure the country, a number of operations were launched throughout the belts:

References[edit]