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February 01, 2008


Nur al-Cubicle

If indeed the Iraq government is preparing an assault on both Dilaya and Mosul, there will soon be hundreds more Sunnis in the prisons. I was shocked when I learned the the Soviets had kept some German POWs (mostly officers) interned until 1962. The internment of thousands of Sunni/Shia prisoners by the US may last as long, for the Baghdad government, dominated by the Kurds and Shia, doesn't give a damn.

Charles Cameron (hipbone)

Hi Marc:

You sound less than enthused about Gen. Stone's efforts to "re-educate" Islamist radicals:

Despite the occasional brain-beggaring article about the wonders of new American re-education techniques... go figure. Abu Ghuwhat?
I'd be interested in your views on various similar attempts made by Muslims themselves, either in person -- e.g. dialogs initiated by the National Dialogue Committee in Yemen, the Religious Rehabilitation Group in Singapore and the Advisory Committee of the Saudi Ministry of Interior -- or in writing -- e.g. Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif's *Document of Right Guidance for Jihad Activity in Egypt and the World* (which I gather is fairly mild in its critique but comes from a major Al-Qaida ideologue who now "considers 9-11 a sin" as MEMRI puts it), the (UK) Ihsanic Intelligence group's fatwa against suicide martyrdom, *The Hijacked Caravan*, or Muhammad Haniff Hassan's book, *Unlicensed to Kill: Countering Imam Samudra's Justification for the Bali Bombing* and for that matter Nasir Abas, *Unveiling Jemaah Islamiyah*.

Daniel Dennett, in a fascinating talk he gave at TED, suggested that the way to deal with toxic "memes" is to encourage the growth of non-toxic variants, and these would seem to be examples of precisely that approach.


It's a good question - yeah, I'm very, very skeptical of all of the "re-education camp" concepts, whether in Yemen, Saudi or Iraq. Re-education camps just have major totalitarian connotations, and very dubious effectiveness - especially when combined, in Iraq case, with prisoners caught up in street sweeps. Ideological challenge from within Islamist camps, that's very important - the Dr Fadl review of jihad for instance generated a real stir in some of the right places (I wrote about it a few months back). But that's really an entirely different thing than the prison education camps. That said, I haven't blogged much about it because I want to get more info first.


The very odd information related in the WaPo by Walter Pincus suggests that the standards the military is applying in staffing these re-education camps are pretty low. If things run true to course, they'll either get nobody willing to work in them, or end up hiring contractors with too many similarities to Blackwater types.

Very interesting stuff, Marc.


Following the Abu Grhaib scandal the US stopped detaining young Sunni males in significant numbers with the result that the insurgent attacks on Shiite civilians and police sharply escalated during 05 and 06. This in turn culminated in the brutal, targeted retaliation against young Sunni males by the Mahdi army from April 06 onwards. And this in turn led to the flight of hundreds of thousands of Sunni middleclass and professional families to the neighbouring countries.

Since the US and ISF surge, the change in the ROEs, the offensives against the Sunni insurgents and the re-impositon of detention of those caught during the offensives, insurgent attacks against Shiite civilians have decreased dramatically, so has the murder of young Sunni males by the Mahdis, and the Sunni middle class families have begun to return to Baghdad.

It is probably therefore not surprising that the amnesty legislation has got bogged down in the Parliament. Those unusual dinner party guests would surely each have good reasons not to want to return to the pre 2005 status quo at this stage of proceedings - ie until AlqI has been driven out of Iraq?


Quote of the Week:
“This went through committee... People should pay attention to what they are discussing and voting on.” - Ahmad Chalabi

This week's quote is certainly up there with last week's... by none other than Ahmad Chalabi.
"Put this under the category of: Be careful what you wish for."

When will this guy ever go away?!?!?! Hasn't he already done enough damage to the country of Iraq?!?!?



Not on topic, but I remember you posting when Nathan Krissoff, a Marine and one of your students at Williams, was killed in Iraq. I saw this incredible story about his Dad and thought you would be interested.



nur al-cubicle

You all saw this of course, in relation to the oil law.




We've been over this Akhbar al-Khaleej story already over at Josh Landis' blog. Akhbar al-Khaleej is not a reputable source. Period. They make up "stories" all the time, including fictitious writers, interviews, and data. They are as reliable as Kuwait's Al-Siyasah ...

I'm sorry to see that you've fell for them.



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