6,774. 8/17/2006

“A classified Marine intelligence assessment dated August 17, 2006, found that AQI [al Qaeda in Iraq] had become the de facto government of the western Iraqi province of Anbar, which…makes up about a third of the landmass of Iraq. The Marine report’s downbeat conclusion: AQI had become ‘an integral part of the social structure in western Iraq’ and was so deeply entrenched in Anbar that it could not be defeated there with a ‘decapitating strike that would cripple the organization.’ In addition, AQI controlled a good chunk of the exurban belts around Baghdad, the ‘Triangle of Death’ to the south of the capital, and many of the towns north of it, up the Tigris River to the Syrian border.”

 – Peter Bergen, The Longest War, Page 171

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