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Number of Iraqis Held by US is Swelling

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Sasquatch, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Number of Iraqis Held by U.S. Is Swelling
    By THOM SHANKER
    Published: August 24, 2007


    WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 — The number of detainees held by the American-led military coalition in Iraq has swelled by 50 percent under the troop increase ordered by President Bush, with the inmate population growing from 16,000 in February to 24,500 today, according to American military officers in Iraq.


    Nearly 85 percent of the detainees in custody are Sunni Arabs, the minority faction in Iraq that ruled the country under the government of Saddam Hussein, with the other detainees being Shiite Muslims, the officers say.
    Of the Sunni detainees, about 1,800 claim allegiance to a group that calls itself Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, military officers said. Another 6,000 identify themselves as takfiris, meaning Muslims who believe some other Muslims are not true believers. Such extremists view Shiite Muslims as heretics.


    Those statistics would seem to indicate that the main inspiration of the hard-core Sunni insurgency is no longer a desire to restore the old order — a movement that drew from former Baath party members and security officials who served under Mr. Hussein — and has become religious and ideological.


    But military officers say a large number Iraqi detainees say money is a significant reason they planted roadside bombs or shot at coalition and Iraqi forces.


    “Interestingly, we’ve found that the vast majority are not inspired by jihad or hate for the coalition or Iraqi government — the vast majority are inspired by money,” said Capt. John Fleming of the Navy, who is spokesman for coalition detainee operations in Iraq.


    “The primary motivator is economic — they’re angry men because they don’t have jobs,” he said. “The detainee population is overwhelmingly illiterate and unemployed. Extremists have been very successful at spreading their ideology to economically strapped Iraqis with little to no formal education.”


    According to statistics supplied by the headquarters of Task Force 134, the American military unit in command of detention operations in Iraq, there are about 280 detainees from countries other than Iraq. Of those, 55 are identified as Egyptian, 53 as Syrian, 37 as Saudi, 28 as Jordanian and 24 as Sudanese.


    Some of the foreign fighters are difficult to identify with certainty, the military officers said, because they tried to conceal identities with forged documents and aliases.


    About 800 juveniles are held in the American internment facilities. The officers said insurgent groups used them to plant roadside bombs and to serve as lookouts, assuming that American, Iraqi and other coalition forces would not see them as suspicious.


    Overall, the average length of detention is about a year. The statistics show that 3,334 detainees have been released thus far in 2007.
    Military officers in Iraq said the growing detainee population had not strained the internment system, nor had it been a hindrance to combat operations.


    In preparation for the troop increase ordered by President Bush in January, plans were made to increase the number of detention officers and to build extra space for detainees. The task force is expanding the current internment facilities at Camp Bucca and Camp Cropper with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers.


    The most notorious of the detention centers, at Abu Ghraib prison, is no longer used by American or allied forces to hold captured insurgents. Images of American jailers abusing their detainees at Abu Ghraib outraged Iraqis and the world community, and stained the reputation of American fighting forces in Iraq.


    Few reliable numbers exist for those detained by the Iraqi government, according to John Sifton, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, an advocacy organization. The American military in Iraq will not provide numbers for detainees held by the government of Iraq.


    “The allegations of abuse are far worse for Iraqi facilities than for those detainees in U.S. custody,” Mr. Sifton said. “It is difficult to know the Iraqi detainee population. There are both official and unofficial Iraqi detention systems.”


    Overall, he said, human rights organizations “have concerns about a 50 percent increase in detainees because it is 50 percent more people at risk of having been arbitrarily detained or, worse, of being handed over to Iraqi officers who might subject them to torture.”

    NYTIMES
  2. Mavs Man

    Mavs Man All outta bubble gum

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    That is interesting.

    Same thing is happening in Afghanistan. "Should I make $2 a day or take $100 to grow opium or plant roadside bombs?"
  3. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    You mean we are catching more bad guys ......

    for shame.
  4. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    At least Iraq is becoming more like the US in one respect, isn't it? :D

    But, honestly, not everything I post is intended negatively. Sometimes, like Bill Moyers's rant against Karl Rove, I like to post completely impartial material with no hidden agenda. ;)
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Someone saying Bill Moyers is impartial?

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