ISIS efforts to encircle the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad continue apace, with their latest operations focusing on seizing the rural Sunni area south of Baghdad, known colloquially as the “triangle of death.”
The triangle was a nightmare for US occupation forces in the last decade, and ISIS is said to be using an elaborate collection of tunnels built by the Iraqi government during the Saddam-era to infiltrate areas close to Baghdad itself and outflank the Iraqi military.
The Sunni towns south of Baghdad are small, but strategically important, as ISIS already holds the whole western highway into the capital, as well as much of both northern highways.
The loss of these towns is not just a threat to Baghdad but a major blow to Iraq’s Shi’ite majority, as they span the area between Baghdad and the Shi’ite holy city of Karbala. Even if neither city falls, the loss of the surrounding area could be a nightmare for pilgrims going forward.
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