The Iraqi Prison Break ~ a Viewpoint

As I learned in the last few years working as a Business Analyst and Enterprise Architect views and viewpoints are everything. Depending on the stakeholder the issue is approached on a whole different level; and your stakeholders do it all. But then again, other stakeholders, known or unknown, play along and they might have their view on the affair. Some understand these views and present us with the viewpoints we need …

Without making any judgement whatsoever, I hereby reblog (no alterations) the last blogpost of abu_analyst

Original source:

Previous night, huge events took place in Iraq when Islamic State of Iraq and Sham(ISIS) fighters attacked Abughraib, Taji and according to some reports Badoush prisons simultaneously.
Along with the analysis of the event, I will also write about history of these prisons, the abuses in them and the Islamic view on these types of trials. Those who are only interested in the events can skip to “What really happened”.
Taji and Abughraib
Taji is located 30 km in the north of city of Baghdad in Sunni area. During American invasion, it hosted a major US army base. It was also the site of frequent clashes between Sunni insurgents and US army. After US army left Iraq, Maliki’s gov kept this prison where some 6000-7000 Sunni prisoners were kept.
AbuGhraib is an Iraqi city, West of Baghdad . A prison facility built in the area has been used as a major prison facility since decades. AbuGhraib came into the limelight during the US occupation of Iraq. Thousands of Iraqi insurgents, ordinary Sunni Muslims were being kept in the prison where they were brutally tortured and abused. Pictures of the torture were leaked, some of them were regularly featured in Jihadi videos. Alqaeda in the land of two rivers(Islamic State now) carried out many assaults on Abughraib. One major assault was named after Abu Anas al Shami.
After US left, Maliki’s government kept the prison and renamed it “Baghdad Central Prison”. There were reportedly 3,500 prisoners in AbuGhraib in 2009. Maliki’s gov planned to increase the capacity of the prison to 13,000 in 2009. So its likely that the number of inmates in it increased after 2009. Jihadi sources claim that the number of inmates in AbuGhraib was close to 6000 at the time of the attack.
Significance of Freeing Prisoners in Islam
Prophet(saws) made it obligatory upon Muslims to free their prisoners .
It has been narrated by Saeed through his chain from Hibban bin Jabalah, that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said:Indeed it is obligatory upon the Muslims to free their captives or to pay their ransoms.”
There are other ahadith and many opinions from Islamic Jurists, all of whom unaniomously agree on the obligation of freeing the prisoners.
For more on this [1]
Entire expeditions in the history of Islam were carried out for the sole purpose of freeing the prisoners. From the expedition of Muhammad Bin Qasim to Sindh to the wars waged by Mu’tasim.
In current times, operations to free prisoners have been frequently carried out by Jihadi groups. The reports of Abughraib and Taji prison break, if true, will be the biggest Islamic prison break in recent history.
Afghan taliban freed hundreds of prisoners from Qandahar via a tunnel in 2011 . TTP stormed the prison in Bannu and freed hundreds along with Adnan Rasheed who was on death row for assassination attemt on Pervez Musharraf. Islamic State of Iraq also carried out many prison breaks, most recently in Tikrit. In Yemen, major leaders of Alqaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were freed from 2006 Sana Tunnel escape.
Abuse and Torture in AbuGhraib and Taji
Abughraib and Taji prison were notorious for torture and harrowing conditions that the inmates faced. AbuGhraib prison has seen the worst abuse at the hands of US forces .
The important thing is that this abuse was not stopped after US left rather it was carried by Maliki’s government with more zeal driven by sectarian hatred. The tweets of ex-inmate of Abughraib @alzobaie shed some light on the abuse in AbuGhraib prison. Some of the torture and abuse, he describes include
  • Forceful plucking of nails of hands and feet.
  • Being forced to kiss or prostrate to pictures of Khomeini, Sadr and Baqir al Hakim.
  • Being forced to swear at Companions of Prophet(saws) and his wive.(ra).
  • Being forced to drink boiling water in summer.
  • Additional punishments for those who have Sunni names like AbuBakr, Umar e.t.c
  • Being beaten with rods, sticks to the point of breaking of bones.
  • Even being forced to drink the urine of guards.
  • Women and men were being sexually assaulted repeatedly.
His account is fairly consistent with earlier reports of abuse and torture that have appeared consistently from AbuGhraib and Taji. An earlier letter from Taji prison describes how the prisoners were stripped naked in cold weather.
We are a group of prisoners, more than 7000 prisoners in Al-Taji Prison
We are in a great need of your help before it’s too late, we are your brothers in Al-Taji Prison, facing a terrible sectarian extermination campaign against the prisoners. We are facing torture, humiliation for us and our religious sacred symbols. After the prison guards insulted the religious symbols, they also started to throw our holy books in the dumpsters.
They beat us every day after taking all our clothes off in this cold weather, and assault us many times, insult us, our families, and our heads of tribes, saying ( where’s your demonstrators to save
you now?).
See full letter [2]
Islamic view on tests and tribulations
Though its a separate topic but Islam addresses the issue of tests in faith in a way that it gives strength and patience to Muslims. Without going into details, I will briefly mention the key points.
  • Allah(swt) always tests the believers as mentioned in the Quran.
  • These tests separates good from the evil and patient and the non-patient.
  • After these tests, the believers are given victory in the world and their ranks are raised in the Paradise.
  • Prophets are tested the most, followed by people who are loved by Allah.
  • Those who put believers into the tests, there kufr, evil and misguidance becomes exposed and they are promised hellfire for eternity.
This is the Islamic concept of justice regarding the oppressed believers and the disbelieving oppressors.
Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allah said to Jibril:
“Why is it that I never see Mika’il smiling?”
Jibril replied: “Mika’il has not smiled since Hell was Created.”
[Narrated by Ahmad, and it is in ‘Sahih at-Targhib wat-Tarhib’](3664)]
2 – Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
“If there were 100,000 or more people in this mosque – one of them being one of the inhabitants of Hell who took a breath – this breath of his would cause the entire mosque to burn up along with everyone in it.”
[Reported by al-Bazzar and Abu Ya’la, and it is in ‘Sahih at-Targhib wat-Tarhib (3668) and ‘as-Silsilah as-Sahihah’ (2509)]
What Really happened on Sunday night ?
Now coming to the event itself. First news of the attack on Taji and AbuGhraib prisons appeared on twitter. The events as reported by the jihadist sources happened as follows.
Assault teams of ISIS with suicide bombers, VBIEDs, RPGs, Mortars attacked both prisons. The checkpoints of the prisons were demolished by suicide bombers and assault teams. 9 checkpoints were reportedly destroyed in just 30 minutes. Mortars were then lobbed into the Taji prison. As soon as the assault began, Riots in the prison broke out. Inmates started attacking the gaurds with knives. The brigades guarding the prisons fled as the fighters got in. ISIS fighters got in chanting “AllahuAkbar”.
The reinforcements of Iraq’s Safavid army were blocked by ambushes and IEDs. Then helicopters appeared on the scene. According to jihadist sources, one or more of them was shot down. After a well planned assault, inmates were being freed and moved to safe location in groups. Among the first group were important Alqaeda in Iraq’s commanders. Some injured during the assault were the last ones to be removed. Few hours after the assault had begun, Taji and Abughraib prisons were completely overrun by the fighters of ISIL. More than 50 fighters and inmates were reportedly killed and close to 100 Iraqi army, prison guards were dead.
Then jihadist sources reported Badoun prison break in Mosul after Taji and Abughraib. This prison was also attacked by Alqaeda militants in 2007 when close to 200 of their men were freed.
Assessing the claims
Mainstream media did not report the events. Iraq’s interior minstry claimed that the attack was “foiled”. The only source of information were Jihadi sources. Thousands of tweets with the hashtag
appeared on twitter.
I would deem jihadists as more trustworthy than Iraqi gov sources. Since, jihadis have no reason to celebrate and go in a frenzy on a “failed attack” and its quite unsual for them to do so the way they did on Sunday night. The jihadi supporters would expect ISIS to come up with evidence to support the claims. Meanwhile, Iraqi government has every reason to deny or downplay the extent of its failure.
However, an interior minstry source from Iraq did tell Al-Arabiya that between 500-1000 prisoners escaped from AbuGhraib.
So now the question is NOT whether the attack was successful or not, the question is that whether the number of prisoners who escaped is 1000 or 5000-10,000 as claimed by some jihadis.
This question can be answered by knowing one simple thing.
Were AbuGhraib and Taji prisons completely overrun by ISIS?
If yes, then there is no doubt that the number of escaped prisoners is in the thousands. Because Taji alone had 6,000-7,000 prisoners[2]. Abughraib too had more than 4,000 prisoners.
Ofcourse, it remains to be seen that how much of them can be recaptured by Iraq’s forces. But if pictures of Abughraib and Taji prisons are released to the media then it can be correctly assessed that how much were freed. If the prisons were indeed completely overrun then surely the number is in 1000s.
This is what was claimed by the jihadis that they took over all of Taji prison and AbuGhraib prison. Now jihadi sources are reporting the figure of 7,000, though some twitter users like @reyadiraq have asked the followers to refrain from giving any figure until an official statement by Islamic State’s ministry of information.
How would this victory boost ISIS ?
This attack will without a doubt strenghten ISIS in an unprecedented manner.
  • ISIS will be seen as “saviours” by Iraq’s Sunnis. These Sunnis have been protesting for months for the release of the prisoners. Iraq’s Sunni politicians and tribal leaders also took up the issue. But after this operation, ISIS has scored a major victory against Iraq’s Sunnipoliticians and Tribal leaders. It will immensely boost their popularity among Iraqi Sunnis.
  • ISIS will gain more respect in jihadi community. Specially when there were doubts about them after split with JN. Online Jihadi analysts like @asadaljehad2 and @strategyaffairs accused ISIS of being infiltrated. This time the supporters of ISIS were gleefully taunting them, telling them to repent and take back the accusations on ISIS. One guy tweeted
    “ISIS has not been infiltrated rather it has infiltrated the prisons of Safavids”
  • ISIS is going to get a major boost of fighters. Most of these freed prisoners are going to continue the jihad in the region. After the torture they received at the hands of Safavids, they ‘ll be coming back with vengeance. Many among them are experienced fighters captured by US and the sahwa since 2003, 2006 and 2007 and some are major leaders/amirs of the organization. ISIS will not experience any leadership shortage for a long time to come.
  • It will increase the respect for AbuBakr al Baghdadi. As he resurrected ISIS, sent Jawlani to Syria and expanded there and then fulfilled his promise of breaking the walls of prisons which he made exactly one year ago. This operation will also increase the appeal of ISIS in Syria, Lebannon and among other Sunnis. Already messages congratulating them have been coming from Saudi Arab, Egypt and elsewhere.
  • Lastly, its a major symbolic and propaganda victory. Freeing prisoners is not something ordinary in the eyes of Muslims It is something for which the Muslims revere Muhamad Bin Qasim and Mutasim. When Salil us Sawarim 5 will be rolled out by ISIS, describing the suffering of the prisoners, preparation, attack and then the joy of the prisoners, their interviews, it will attract thousands of Muslims.
What will Iraqi government do ?
It is now knwon that major Alqaeda leaders and fighters are now being moved to safe locations by ISIS. But Iraqi government will try to racapture those they can and move them back to prison to hide their defeat.
How eipc is this ?
A prison break of this magnitude has not been seen in recent Islamic history. Even while taking into account older Islamic history, freeing 1000s of women,men being tortured for years in one night is something EPIC. Therefore, expect this operation to be cited for years by jihadis and Islamists.
An interesting dream !
To make things more interesting. A jihadi supporter on twitter @saryat_aljabal tweeted about a dream in April which predicted that the prisoners would be freed without negotiations or deal. Here is the link
Its similar to the dream seen by Adnan Rasheed in Bannu Jail, who claimed that he had seen Uzbek fighters freeing him in a dream days before the actual operation. However, Adnan’s claims can’t be verified whereas @saryat_aljabal’s dream can be verified from his older tweets.
Even more interesting is the fact that @saryat_aljabal saw another dream about strife in SaudiArab which will ultimately lead to the victory of Muslims. This matches with the ahadith in which it is
prophecised that after a civilwar in SaudiArab, Mahdi would emerge from Mecca and he will be given allegiance by Mujahideen from Iraq and Shaam.



The Most High said:
“…And We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good…”
And Glory be to Him, said:
“Alif-Laam-Meem. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We have faith’, and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known, those who are true, and will certainly make known those who are liars.” (al-‘Ankaboot 29:1-3)
And Glory be to Him, said:
“…And We tried them with good and evil in order that they might turn (to Allah’s obedience).” (al-A’raaf 7:168)
al-‘Allaama Ibnul-Qayyim – may Allah have mercy upon him – said: It is a must that a man is afflicted with that which harms him, so no one at all is free from that which harms him. This is why Allah the Most High has mentioned at various places in His Book that it is a must that He afflicts people. And the trial happens with goodness and with badness, and it is a must that a man is afflicted with which makes him happy and that which hurts him. So he is required to be patient and thankful (to Allah).
The Opinion of ash-Shaafi’ee in regards to Afflictions
A man asked ash-Shaafi’ee and said: O Abu ‘Abdullah! Which is better for a person, to gain power or to be afflicted? So ash-Shaafi’ee said: One will not gain power until he is afflicted. For indeed Allah afflicted Nooh, Ibraaheem, Moosa, ‘Eesa and Muhammad, may the Salawaat of Allah and Salaam be upon them all. So when they were patient, they gained power, so let not anyone think at all that he is free from pain. (Madaarij as-Saalikeen by Ibnul-Qayyim 2/283).
Afflictions in the Noble Qur`aan
1 – Allah the Most High said:
“Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed” (al-Mulk 67:2)
Allah created the death, and created the life and whatever is in it from the afflictions and problems, to test us which one of us is better in deed than others.
2 – And the Most High said:
“Verily We have created man in toil” (al-Balad 90:4) (i.e. in tiredness, hardships, afflictions and difficulties)
3 – And the Most High said:
“Alif-Laam-Meem. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We have faith’, and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known, those who are true, and will certainly make known those who are liars.” (al-‘Ankaboot 29:1-3)
Therefore, the Fitnah (trial) is Allah’s test for the faithful ones, so that Allah will know the truthful ones and He will know the liars in hardships.
4 – And the Most High said:
“Or you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who had faith with him said, ‘When will the Help of Allah come?’. Yes! Indeed Allah’s help is close!” (al-Baqarah 2:214)
Do not think that the entrance to Jannah is easy without Jihaad, for those before you were afflicted with wars and diseases… and were shaken that, even the Messenger and those with him said when the help to them was delayed: “When will the help of Allah come?… Yes! Indeed Allah’s help is close!”
5 – The Messenger of Allah [salallahu alayhi wa sallam] said:
“The world is the prison of the Mu`min, and a Paradise for the Kaafir” (Saheeh Muslim, Kitaabuz-Zuhdi war-Raqaa`iq [18/93] Sharh an-Nawawi)
So the truthful Mu`min has patience upon what afflicts him in the world so that it becomes for him the everlasting delights, and the Kaafir is delighted in the world as if it is his paradise, and it becomes his everlasting punishment on the day of reward.
The types of Afflictions and the Patience upon them
1 – The fear, hunger and murder: Allah the Most High said:
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to as-Saabiroon (the patient ones)” (al-Baqarah 2:155)
2 – The war and Jihaad: The Most High said:
“And surely, We shall try you till We know the Mujaahideen (those who fight in the way of Allah) from amongst you and as-Saabireen (the patient ones)” (Muhammad 47:31)
So the affliction with war is so that Allah will know the Mujaahideen and the patient ones.
3 – Disease: Sometimes, the affliction is caused by diseases so that Allah may test the patience of a person and listen to his supplication. Allah the Most High said:
“And (remember) Ayyoob (Job), when he cried to his Lord: ‘Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.’” (al-Anbiyaa` 21:83)
4 – Imprisonment: A type of test so that Allah may know (and single-out) the patient one from others, as it happened to Yoosuf – peace be upon him – when he remained in prison for eight years, for an accusation which touched his dignity. Then he came out free (of what he had been accused of), dignified and became a minister.
5 – The trial of wealth and son: Allah the Most High said:
“Indeed, your wealth and children are a trial” (at-Taghaabun 64:15)
The wealth and the children are a test from Allah to His slave, so that He may know his ability of (correct) upbringing of his children, and the payment of the Zakaah on his wealth. The Messenger of Allah [salallahu alayhi wa sallam] said:
“The best of wealth is the righteous for a righteous person”
And he [salallahu alayhi wa sallam] said:
“When a person dies, his action discontinues except for three: a continuing charity, or knowledge which proves to be of benefit, or a righteous son who supplicates for him” ([Narrated by Muslim] Sharh an-Nawawi [11/85])
6 – The harm from people: The Messenger of Allah [salallahu alayhi wa sallam] said:
“The Mu`min who mixes with people and remains patient on their harms, is better than the Mu`min who does not mix with people nor does he remain patient on their harms” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah and at-Tirmidhi and it is Saheeh)
Therefore, all of the Prophets, their people harmed them and disputed with them, disbelieved in them, tried to kill them, and exiled them from their countries. But they remained patient and so the victory was their ally. Allah the Most High said:
“(They were reprieved) until, when the Messengers gave up hope and thought that they were denied (by their people), then came to them Our Help, and whomsoever We willed were rescued” (Yoosuf 12:110)
And He said concerning the wise Luqmaan as he ordered his son:
“O my son! Establish as-Salaah , command the good and forbid the evil, and have patience on whatever befalls you. Verily, these are some of the important commandments (ordered by Allah with no exemption).” (Luqmaan 31:17)
The Afflictions in the Purified Sunnah
The way the Noble Qur`aan speaks about afflictions; the purified Sunnah also speaks about it. So he [salallahu alayhi wa sallam] said, when asked which people are afflicted with the toughest of tribulations, he said:
“The Prophets, and then their like, and then their like. A person is afflicted according to his Deen. So if his Deen is firm, his afflictions become severe. And if in his Deen there was mildness, then the affliction is in accordance with his Deen. So the affliction does not leave the slave until it leaves him walking on the earth, and there is no sin on him.” (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi and he said this Hadeeth is Hasan Saheh)
And on the authority of Abu Hurairah – may Allah be pleased with him – who said: The Messenger of Allah [salallahu alayhi wa sallam] said: “The afflictions do not seize to exist on a male or female person of faith, in his self and his wealth, until he meets Allah while there is no sin on him.”
And on the authority of ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf – may Allah be pleased with him – who said: “We were afflicted with the Prophet SAW during the bad days so we remained patient. Then we were afflicted during the good days after him, but we did not have patience.” (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi who said Hadeeth is Hasan)
The Messenger of Allah [salallahu alayhi wa sallam] sought refuge (in Allah) from trials, so he said: “O Allah! By Your knowledge of the unseen, and Your Power over the creation, keep me alive for as long as You know that life is better for me. And give me death when You have known that death is better for me. O Allah! And I ask You for Your fear in the unseen and the seen, and I ask You for the word of truth in pleasure and anger. And I ask You for resolution in poverty and in affluence. And I ask You for delights that do not end. And I ask You for the consolation for the eye which does not seize to continue. And I ask You for the pleasure after the decree. And I ask You for the coolness of the life after death, and I ask You for the pleasure of the look at Your Face, and the love for the meeting with You, without any damaging adversity, nor any trial with the possibility of going astray. O Allah! Beautify us with the beauty of Imaan and make us the guided leaders” (Saheeh Sunan an-Nisaa`i 1237) (al-Anbiyaa` 21:35) (Narrated by Ahmad and it is Saheeh)

(Extracted by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi and he said that Hadeeth his Hasan Saheeh)

3 comments on “The Iraqi Prison Break ~ a Viewpoint

  1. The Iraqi Prison Break ~ a Viewpoint « pietervanostaeyen cheap christian louboutin

  2. A S says:

    Jazallahu khair for the all the ahadith and verses from the Qur’an, much appreciated! Nice article too.

  3. Android MDT says:

    Thank you for this article. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this blog into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases.Thanks!

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