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 <s>protecting</s> caring for the detainees.
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:
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.
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.
Also posted at DailyKos
Update [2005-4-5 8:31:12 by hfiend]:
“We are asking the US army to investigate the cause of the riot which happened at the detention centre” Camp Bucca, Rana Sidani, spokeswoman for the ICRC, told AFP.
The US military announced early Tuesday that 12 Iraqi prisoners and four US prison guards were wounded when inmates rioted at Camp Bucca Friday, torching tents and hurling rocks in Iraq’s largest US-run detention centre.
The riot at the desert camp in southern Iraq, where more than 6,000 prisoners are held, was first reported by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr’s movement and confirmed by the ICRC.
The US military had said initially it was unaware of the violence and only came forward with details after the ICRC revelations.