Operation Saratoga in North-Central Iraq

While Coalition forces have been conducting concurrent operations – Iron Fist, River Gate, and Mountaineers in Anbar province, raids in Baghdad, and Restoring Rights in Ninawa province – the soldiers of Task Force Liberty and the 42nd Infantry Division, along side Iraqi Army and police forces, executed Operation Saratoga in the provinces of North-Central Iraq. Operation Saratoga has been ongoing since September; it is a series of security operations in the provinces of Salah Ad Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and As Sulayminayah which are designed “to shape the security environment” for the upcoming elections.

The Iraqi Security Forces have taken serious casualties over the past month, despite their supposed inability to conduct independent operations.

More than 500 Iraqi citizens have been killed or injured by terrorist attacks in Kirkuk, Bayji, Samarra, Ad Duluiyah, Tuz, Baqubah nd Balad. Nearly 80 Iraqi policemen and soldiers have died and another 101 wounded in their fight to protect the Iraqi people since September.

The cities of Bayji, Samarra, Ad Duluiyah, Baqubah nd Balad sit astride the northern ratline on the Tigris River, and have been the focus of attacks by the insurgency, as the attacks density map demonstrates. The insurgency has not quit the fight, and the upcoming elections will force them to escalate the violence in an attempt to derail the process. The Coalition has seized the initiative and is executing broad offensive operations throughout Iraq in an attempt to disrupt and destroy the most dangerous elements of the insurgency, and defeat their plan of sowing chaos during the election process.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • cjr says:

    I did a quick analysis of coalition casulaties(hostile) by province. From 7/15 – 10/4, I can identify the location of 153 out of 158 casulties:
    Anbar: 39%
    Bagdad: 30%
    Salah Ad Din: 17%
    All other provinces: 14%
    Casualites are quite concentrated now. 3 provinces account for 86%. Diyala, Tammim, Babil and Ninawa (areas that where insugent hotspots) are down about almost 2/3 compared to the 3 months before 7/15.
    Data from:

  • cjr says:

    Compared to the 3 months prior:
    Anbar, Bagdad casulties are about the same
    Diyala, Tamim, Babil, Ninawa are down
    Salah Ad Din is up

  • exhelodrvr says:

    What does green indicate on the attack density map? I’m guessing too low to be concerned?

  • Bill Roggio says:

    While it doesn’t state it explicitly, the grean provinces are “safe” the orange are “hot” and the yellow/light orange are somewhere in between.

  • Jamison1 says:

    How freequently is the attacks map updated and what is the time duration covered?

  • Bill Roggio says:

    This map is about 2 weeks old, I received a copy from a MNF briefing. I am not aware of the time frame, but feel it gives a decent representation of the location and intensity of the attacks.

  • TallDave says:

    The bravery of the Iraqi forces always impresses me. I hope the referendum and elections give their spirits a boost; that is, after all, what they’re fighting for.
    Thanks again for the coverage.

  • Matthew says:

    Bill, I appreciate the maps, although I often wish more information on the maps. So I found one great map and another good one:
    Map number one is great because it outlines the provinces and gives the relative population density, while outlining the religious, ethnic groups:
    I like map number two because it is simple:
    If you really like maps, the University of Texas is one place to go for Iraq, be sure you take the date of the map in context though:


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram