The area south of Bagdad earned the moniker "Triangle of Death" during the US-Iraq war. It was a treacherous region filled with heavy warfare and violence, especially from 2003 until the fall of 2007. The triangle encompassed Yusufiyah, Mahmoudiyah, Iskandariyah, Latifiyah, and Jurf Al Sakhar, plus hundreds of remote little towns.
Residents of The Triangle
The area has about one million Sunni residents, the primary ethnicity in Iraq, and is surrounded by the Euphrates River along the southwest. The land is filled with smaller estates managed by the landowners and their families.
There is also an important power plant in the area, making it a target for insurgents. In October 2006, about 33% of the plants highest level was being produced.
The U.S. was on-site at Patrol Base Dragon, keeping the reactor safe since there were many fire support assaults and American troops kidnapped in the vicinity. In 2007, the increased security proved effective, and the assault frequency decreased.
In 2008, the base was decommissioned since the Babil Governorate was handing surveillance. Most of the fighting in the region was caused by the sheer concentration of Sunnis, the arms industry, and the ease of money and weapons reaching the area.
The year 2007 held the most casualties for American soldiers. However, the number of fatalities decreased each following year, and military units were pulled from the area.
In August, the Sunni Awakening drove out Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants, and a ceasefire also began that same month. Finally, in November 2008, the U.S.-Iraqi settlement was approved by the Iraqi government, which gave legislative support.
With all the progress, Barack Obama felt the U.S. would be out of Iraq by the end of August 2010, with the final batches of soldiers leaving in 2011. However, as the deadline approached, the final unit left two weeks ahead of schedule on August 18, 2010.
As a transitional force, 50,000 troops stayed behind. Then, in July of 2011, the U.S. and Iraq governments discussed a timeline for the troops to leave. The idea was to have a thousand troops stay, but talks eventually failed.
At the end of 2011, Obama decided that the 39,000 troops would be going home, and it was made official on December 15 during a speech in Bagdad.