Peace in Iraq’s ‘Triangle of Death’


It’s a dark place, at least it was. The term “Triangle of Death” we’ve referred to is an area within the Mahmoudiya Qadha. From the period of 2004 to 2007, Mahmoudiya Qadha was one of the most violent sectors in the Baghdad province. There was a great deal of sectarian violence: Sunni on Shi’a and Shi’a on Sunni. Very few places had any electrical power or running water. It was kinda, sorta like the Wild Wild West, as one might imagine. I lost 54 soldiers killed in action and another 267 wounded within the 15 months we spent in
South Baghdad. We could clearly see that there are
political needs, economic needs, But we, frankly, don’t have that level of
expertise resident in our organization. In June of 2007, I received a call at our
Baghdad office from officers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, asking for assistance in consolidating recent security gains against Al-Qaeda, armed
groups, and insurgents. There was a lot of mistrust between the tribes It was difficult to get beyond a desire for retribution. The fact that we could get Iraqis to help in these negotiations was something that there was no other U.S. entity that
could give us something like that. We designed the structure of the conference. We helped craft the final agreement with the sheikhs themselves. The tribes of the
Mahmoudiya district laid out what it was they truly wanted to achieve and made it
their reconciliation conference. We were able to leave south Baghdad better than we found it. This is what civilian military cooperation looks like when it’s working in a conflict zone

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