« nuclear showers there's nothing spookier you now about to witness the power | Main | Kahl and Brimley: Conditional Engagement »

March 26, 2008


Nur al-Cubicle

Thank you, AA, for addressing the prisoners/amnesty issue once again. BTW, do we know what sort of re-education the largely Sunni prisoners in US camps receive? Is it different from re-education for Shi'a?

Nothing can be discussed having to do with Iraq without addressing it within the context of ethnicity and religion (same as Lebanon). Of course the Shi'a will be sprung (because the Shi'a + the Kurds control official executions, the government itself, the Parliament, the army, the police, the oilfields...) and the Sunni will languish, unless the US starts building prisons run by al-Sahwa. After all, there are potentially 80,000 available Sunni prison guards already on the payroll ($300 a month).


AA - could you give us a translation of the names of the provinces and the number released from each?


This could potentially be a problematic way of analyzing the implementation of the general amnesty law. Overall, there seem to be too many confounding variables which would make this way of looking at it problematic. It's hard to say how many Sunnis are arrested and sent to Shi'a dominated neighborhoods/provinces... I think this might happen quite a bit. Why lock them up in a Sunni-majority area where their friends will come in and let them out, when you can just lock them up in another neighborhood or province dominated by Shi'a?

I think it's much simpler to just look at the overall number of released detainees. As you mentioned, 13,860 is a huge number, especially since there's between 20,000 and 40,000 total detainees. I've often seen the figure that about 80% of the detainees are Sunni. Even if there are a lot of Shi'a being released, with 13,860 being released, there's definitely a significant number of Sunnis in that number of released. Take this for what it's worth.... but if there are only 20,000 detainees, and 20% of them are Shi'a, this means all 4,000 Shi'a can be released and there's still a huge number of Sunnis being released. This doesn't mean that the amnesty law is being implemented successfully and in the spirit of reconciliation, but it's just to say that the number of released is significant, and that the number of Sunnis released is also significant, just based on the fact that the number released is more than 13,000. I'm actually surprised that the number is so high.

Once this law got beyond the likes of Maliki and the Presidency Council, it seems that Birqadar has been doing all that he can to get things moving. He's helped get courts set up, general amnesty application forms for relatives of detainees filled out, and a couple weeks ago he gave instructions to demand that courts look into files of those included in the law even if no requests were made to the courts by the families of the detainees. While it's too bad that Maliki seems to refuse to use this law as a gesture of reconciliation, things do seem to be slightly moving along, even if it is below the radar. I wouldn't underestimate the number released thus far.


Thanks for the link (re Basra) and I look forward to your thoughts - when you have time.


Do we know the rough proportion of Shiites to Sunni Arabs in Iraqi and US custody, respectively?

On the fighting in southern Iraq, the more I read about it the more I think the beginning of wisdom may be Reidar Visser's comment that "...there are probably few spots on this planet where the search for mono-causality is more futile than Basra."


yeah, Reidar is good.
thomas - those are great comments, and very thought-provoking (esp on Belqadar who seems to be doing the best he can in a tough situation). Thing is, when you arrange the chart according to "most prisoners released", there's no way to avoid the stunning fact that every single one of the Sunni-majority provinces is at the bottom and that Sunni-majority provinces are the only ones where the ratio between amnesty and rejection is relatively even. We'll soon see if Sunni politicians start complaining - thus far, they've mainly been attacking the Kurds for not going along with the amnesty over federalism issues, and Basra has of course been dominating the agenda the last few days.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Blog powered by Typepad