The province of Babil, south of Baghdad, was handed over to Iraqi government control on October 23, becoming the twelfth of Iraq’s 18 provinces to be returned to Iraqi government control.
This provides further evidence that increased professionalism within the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and intensive US targeting efforts have helped to eliminate extremists on either side of the line that divides the province between Shia and Sunni.
A small section in the north of Babil gained notoriety as the “Triangle of Death” as factions battled each other—al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and other Sunni extremists, as well as Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) and other Shia militants.
American teams are working with the Iraqi Police in the urban Shia-dominated areas, encouraging them to take a community-based role to thwart criminal activity and curb weapons trafficking. Now those communities are less likely to tolerate checkpoints operated by extremist and their associated problems such as extortion.
The American military seems to be working smarter to get life in Iraq normalized and hasten the day when they will be able to leave that country.