Monday, May 14, 2007

ISI/AlQaeda making inroads north and south of Baghdad

Iraqi authorities including Maliki and Americans including Gen Caldwell acknowledged the AlQaeda/ISI forces have made inroads in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, and said more US and Iraqi troops would be sent there. The Al-Hayat reporter explains that the ISI forces appear to have made Diyala province their new headquarters, and members of the provincial council have appealed for greater military force in combatting them. The reporter adds the ISI carried out one of their parades recently in the border (with Iran) town of Mandali. And Maliki earned a sarcastic headline in Azzaman by attributing their inroads in Diyala to the prevalence of orchards and agricultural lands in that province.

But Diyala to the northeast of Baghdad isn't the only area subject to growing ISI control, according to Al-Hayat. Following up on the kidnapping of three US soldiers in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, the Al-Hayat reporter quotes the mayor of that city:
Muid al-Amari, the mayor of Mahmoudiya told Al-Hayat that the American forces have encircled the town and closed off the external road, in addition to [closing off] the region of "the triangle" (my quotation marks) which includes the towns of Yusufiya, Latifiya and Mudain, including broad searches and checkpoints in the orchards of Latifiya. And he stressed that these regions have reverted to the control of AlQaeda.
The reference is to the famous designation "triangle of death" for this area located in Babil province south of Baghdad. The paper introduces this combined account of troubles both north and south of Baghdad in the following way:
The deterioration of the security situation is casting its shadow over Iraqi authorities, who have admitted the control of the organization AlQaeda over the province of Diyala, and [have also admitted] the return of its activists to the towns of the "triangle of death"...


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