"More than 5,000 American, British and Iraqi troops swept through a lawless region south of Baghdad on Tuesday in a new move to crush insurgent unrest before national elections in January," the region known as the "triangle of death." This region has received much less media coverage than Fallujah, but there is some good information on it. In late October, the LAT reported that "military officials said a lack of troops has made it impossible to secure" the area. The Boston Globe reported that the triangle of death "illustrates the destabilizing results of a hands-off approach to Iraqi trouble spots." This is the problem presented by improvidently reducing troop levels in Iraq.
James Glanz and Edward Wong in the NYT emphasize the threat posed by secular "crime families," while Anthony Shadid in the Washington Post highlights the region's violence and instability, directed particularly toward Iraqi security forces, as well as the influence of Wahhabism.
Shadid also ominously notes that "Shiite militiamen and armed tribesmen have threatened to avenge the deaths on their own terms," which may explain the recent assassinations of Sunni clerics.