Iraqi forces patrolling after four members of Al Qaeda in Iraq escaped from Karkh Prison (BBC)
Four members of Al Qaeda in Iraq escaped from Karkh Prison, formerly Camp Cropper, in Baghdad recently. On July 15, 2010 the Americans turned over control of the facility to the Iraqis. The U.S. still maintains part of the prison however, holding around 200 Al Qaeda, Baathist and Shiite militants. On September 8 Iraqi guards caught two prisoners trying to run away. That set off an inspection of the prison, which turned up four missing Al Qaeda members. The U.S. military did not divulge any more details.
This is the second time since the U.S. handover that detainees have escaped from Karkh. A few days after the Iraqis took control four members of Al Qaeda’s umbrella organization, the Islamic State of Iraq, that included its Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, and a judge, were allegedly driven out of the prison by the warden.
These were both major embarrassments for the United States. The Americans appointed and groomed the Karkh Prison warden before he ran off with the Islamic State leaders. Two months later, Al Qaeda members escaped from the U.S. run part of the facility, which is supposed to be the most secure part of the prison. The first event could be blamed upon the Iraqis, but the second was on the Americans. Security at Karkh obviously needs to be reviewed and tightened before anyone else gets away, and the Islamists win another propaganda victory.
Associated Press, “Four escape from US custody in maximum-security Baghdad prison,” The National, 9/9/10
Chulov, Martin, "Iraqi officials investigate warden's involvement in al-Qaida jailbreak," Guardian, 7/25/10
Parker, Ned and Salman, Raheem, “Four Al Qaeda in Iraq militants escape from U.S. custody,” Los Angeles Times, 9/10/10