Iraq prison breakout symptomatic of post-2003 military insufficiency
Hundreds of convicts escaped from an Iraqi prison on Monday,
among which were numerous senior Al-Qaeda terrorists. A
military-style raid to free the militants had been conducted on
the facility, located on the outskirts of Baghdad, during which
suicide bombers rammed explosive-laden cars into its gates. Ten
policemen and four militants were killed and between 500-1000
Al-Qassab believes that this security problem was not a standalone incident, and in post-2003 Iraq their frequency is down to a lack of proper institutions endowed with the structure and ability to detect and quash militant activity.
RT: Blasts and security violations are increasing these days in Iraq; do you think the Iraqi government is responsible for these security violations?
Najim Al-Qassab: Definitely; such security violations as those which took place in Abu-Ghraib and Taji prisons are not the first of their kind nor will be the last. Similar incidents took place in Basrah, Salahuddin, and Baghdad during which thousands of prisoners managed to escape. I believe all parties are responsible; the government, the parliament and even citizens. There was no realistic vision on how to better achieve security and stability for citizens and for providing protection for people. The legal and legitimate duty of the government is to protect all citizens of Iraq. Many reasons stand behind these violations, on top comes the financial corruption in the military institution represented by importing military equipment of low technical specifications such as [aircraft], sonars, and some of them do not work at all.
Another reason is the political rivalry and disputes among the main political blocs which weakened the armed forces whose number exceeds one million two hundred elements, and this in turn has encouraged the terrorists groups to carry out their attacks.
RT: Despite all these violations, no action is taken to hold the security leaders responsible for failing to prevent such attacks?
NQ: Sure, no step like this will be taken simply because the political system adopted in Iraq after 2003 is a quota system which allows the political parties and blocs to share positions. Hence, Sunnis, Shiite, Kurds, all take part in leading the military institution; but everybody denies responsibility. Iraqis are upset and resentment is everywhere; the state’s prestige has come to an end. Billions of dollars are allocated for the military institution, yet, it seems futile. Where is the intelligence capacity? They should penetrate these terrorist groups and prevent them from carry out their attacks before they occur. Let’s remember that after 2003 no real reconstruction took place; the American occupation did not try to build a real military institution, rather it was penetrated by militias.
RT:An Interior Ministry spokesman stated yesterday that the attacks on Abu-Ghraib and Taji prisons were too powerful to be addressed in any way. Speaking about security violations, many blasts daily, attacks, etc., are the security leaders and government to blame for these violations, or the so-called terrorist groups which have become too powerful to be faced?
NQ: The problem is the absence of trust between the citizens and members of the armed forces. People trust neither the police elements nor their explosive detection equipment. These sonars are out of order in fact; they are incapable of detecting explosives. The police are cheating the Iraqis with these sonars. Second, the soldier mistrusts his commander and this is because many of them bribe these officers to get employment. This is true for all the military institutions. People pay to get jobs. So a soldier or a policeman joined military institutions to get a salary only and not to protect Iraq and the citizens of Iraq. Moreover, almost all commanders in the military institutions are from the former regime of Saddam Hussein and Baathists. These Baathists managed to penetrate almost all institutions of the state; they even succeeded in penetrating the Islamic parties themselves.