24 January 2015

The Guardian: “Isis: the inside story”

The other prisoners did not take long to warm to him, Abu Ahmed recalled. They had also been terrified of Bucca, but quickly realised that far from their worst fears, the US-run prison provided an extraordinary opportunity. We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else, he told me. It would have been impossibly dangerous. Here, we were not only safe, but we were only a few hundred metres away from the entire al-Qaida leadership.

He was respected very much by the US army, Abu Ahmed said. If he wanted to visit people in another camp he could, but we couldn’t. And all the while, a new strategy, which he was leading, was rising under their noses, and that was to build the Islamic State. If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no IS now. Bucca was a factory. It made us all. It built our ideology.

Martin Chulov

American prison camps were the perfect breeding ground for more terrorism. Yet another reason why the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea gone horribly wrong. Whoever thought that keeping dangerous prisoners together and allowing them so much freedom inside the prison walls must be one of the most incompetent members of the US Army.

Detainees in Camp Bucca Iraq
Detainees in Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq. Photograph: David Furst/AFP/Getty Images

Related: same thing is happening with Islamist prisoners in French prisons.

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