Egyptian, Sudanese Jihadi Volunteers Suspected by Iraq
This wire service compilation done by the Daily Star adds more information on foreign detainees in Iraq. As I read it, in addition to the over 160 suspected foreign fighters held by the US, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior is holding another 560 such foreigners. They had arrested 4 times that number in recent months but appear to have cleared the others. Although they briefly detained some 461 Iranians, they let all of them go. Presumably these were pilgrims to the Shiite shrines who for one reason or another fell under suspicion. The LA Times reported yesterday that nearly half of the detainees in US military custody are Saudis. Not so for the suspected jihadis held by the Iraqis. They have only 9 Saudis. About half of their detainees are Egyptian, and a fifth are Sudanese. The Iraqi security services clearly think their biggest problem is jihadi volunteers from the Nile Valley. But the picture emerging from the two sets of detainees is that the publics of the two main US allies in the Middle East, Saudia and Egypt, are the most likely to fall under suspicion of supporting the insurgency. While suspicion falls on some Iranians, they appear to be cleared quickly and released. The Daily Star writes:
“He reports that among those still being questioned, “11 were Jordanians; 64 Syrians; nine Saudis; two Algerians; six Moroccans; six Yemenis; two Libyans; 57 Palestinians; 284 Egyptians; 113 Sudanese, two Emiratis; three Lebanese and one Somali.”
All these statistics that are coming out completely undermine the discourse in Washington, DC, about the war. The Iranian and Syrian governments are not the problem. Osama Bin Laden is not the problem. Sunni Arabs, mainly Iraqis, objecting to American and Shiite and Kurdish dominance is the problem. The foreign detainees are a miniscule group compared to the 19,000 detainees in Multinational Force prisons.
McClatchy reports political violence on Sunday. At least 22 dead bodies were found in the capital, victims of sectarian death squad killings (mostly Sunnis killed by Mahdi Army elements, probably).
The Daily Star reported, “10 people were killed by a car bomb in central Baghdad, Iraqi police said. Twenty-five people were wounded by the blast which ripped through shops and restaurants near Hussein Square in Baghdad’s mainly Shiite Jadriyya district. Two women were among the dead. In other violence, seven Kurdish guards were killed near the Iranian border in normally calm northern Iraq, in an attack police and a local official blamed on Al-Qaeda-linked militants.”
PS. for an important new development in Pakistan, see IC Global Affairs.
Traveling through Thursday without much internet access; postings may be limited or timed oddly. Check back from time to time.