This was just the latest escape or attempt from one of Iraq’s prisons. Twelve days before, Al Qaeda in Iraq members staged a revolt at the Interior Ministry building in the capital to try to get away. In January, several senior Al Qaeda leaders were able to slip out of a prison at the Basra Presidential Palace. What all three events had in common, was that the detainees had inside help. That ranged from the guards all the way up to officials in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office in the case of the January escape. It’s obvious that the government has been penetrated at all levels by militants, be they Shiite or Sunni. Sympathizers, money or threats may all be at play, but whatever was the case, insurgents and militias were able to gain important intelligence and assistance from within the bureaucracy, and have been able to break out a number of their senior members as a result.
Alsumaria, “5 Mehdi Army chiefs escape from Taji prison,” 5/20/11
- “Iraq Justice Ministry: Prisoners escape is an organized scheme,” 5/21/11
Al-Shammari, Yazan, “Minister: There was no prison break,” AK News, 5/21/11