Sunni Triangle

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Map of the Sunni Triangle
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Map of the Sunni Triangle

The Sunni Triangle refers to a roughly triangular area of Iraq to the northwest of Baghdad. It is inhabited mainly by Sunni Muslims of the same ethnicity as former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and most of his Ba'ath Party. Saddam himself was born just outside the town of Tikrit, in the Sunni Triangle. The triangle's three corners are usually said to lie in or around Baghdad (on the east side of the triangle), Ramadi (on the west side) and Tikrit (on the north side); the area also contains the cities of Samarra and Fallujah.

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the area has become the apex of armed Sunni opposition to Coalition rule. It was widely predicted that Saddam would seek shelter from Sunni supporters and on December 13, 2003, he was captured in a raid on the village of ad-Dawr some 15km south of Tikrit.

The term "Sunni triangle" is of obscure origins. It appears to have been used by foreign experts on Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion, with the first mention being in a San Francisco Chronicle article of September 14, 2002 in which the former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter says: "We may be able to generate support for an invasion among some of the Shiites and some of the Kurds, but to get to Baghdad you must penetrate the Sunni Triangle." However, it did not achieve widespread use until a New York Times article of June 10, 2003 popularised the term in a report on "a new U.S. effort to quell nascent armed resistance in Sunni Muslim-dominated areas north and west of Baghdad [in an] area known as the 'Sunni triangle'." It has since become virtually ubiquitous in reports on the US-led coalition's struggle to maintain effective control of the region.

The "Sunni Triangle" should not be confused with the so-called "Triangle of Death," an area south of Baghdad inhabited by both Sunni and Shia Muslims which was the focus of major combat activity in November and December 2004.

See also

de:Sunnitisches Dreieck es:Tringulo sun id:Segitiga Sunni nl:soennitische driehoek ja:スンニー・トライアングル

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