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    05 April 2005

    Non-Abu Ghraib prison problems in Iraq

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    The weekend showed an instance of poor control of detention centers in Iraq.  Today it is reported that over the weekend there were clashes in this camp, Camp Bucca.  This is the largest of said centers in Iraq, containing 2/3 of all Iraqi detainees.  The camp that contained a 600 ft. escape tunnel last month.  The big points are that

    •  One, the jails are bloated to say the least.  They are an excellent target.

    •  Two, this was the work of Shia', remnants of the Sadrist uprisings which isn't alarming but could cause friction in the future.

    Which is a concern if you've read Juan Cole, or read the excellent post by Armando.  I think, despite the death toll stats last month, that we are bogged down, taking a lot of prisoners and skimping a lot of resources in either protecting the jail or protecting caring for the detainees.  

    I appear to have overlooked this:
    A suicide bomber driving a tractor blew himself up Monday near the gates of Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, wounding five Iraqi civilians in the second attack on the prison in 48 hours, officials said.

    The attack came as military officials announced that a small riot broke out Friday at Camp Bucca, the other major American detainee camp in Iraq, south of Baghdad.

    Any mishandling of prisoners looks bad in world opinion.  Any mishandling of prisoners looks bad to the regional Shia' comunity.  All this in a region full of skeptics and ripe with newfound Shia' power.

    I think this may be a new development...

    [Links and Text]

    From Juan Cole:

    I asked Gen. Clark how the US attains a "soft landing" in Iraq. I pointed out that the conventional wisdom is that if we just stay the course we will eventually be able to put down the guerrilla insurgency and stand up an Iraqi force that can keep them down.

    But the problem is that if we over-stay our welcome, and if we do in fact weaken the Sunni guerrillas sufficiently, there is a danger that at that point the Shiites (no longer afraid of the Sunnis and by then very tired of our military presence) will just toss us out unceremoniously.

    And this:

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Prisoners at Iraq's largest detention facility protested the transfer of several detainees deemed "unruly" by authorities, throwing rocks and setting tents on fire in a disturbance that injured four guards and 12 detainees, the military said Monday.

    Friday's protest at Camp Bucca _ which holds about 6,000 prisoners, nearly two-thirds of all those in Iraq _ caused only minor injuries before being brought under control, authorities said. It was the third major incident at an Iraqi prison in three days.

    Murtadha al-Hajaj, an official at radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's office in the southern city of Umm Qasr, near Camp Bucca, said several al-Sadr supporters were wounded during the confrontation. He said they were protesting a lack of access to medical treatment and claimed U.S. guards opened fire, although he did not know if they wounded prisoners.

    U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill said he did not know if the guards opened fire, but he denied that any detainee was deprived of medical treatment.

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