The Behinder We Get

From Holden:

The rapidly-growing insurgency is threatening to burst U.S. prisons in Iraq at the seams.

Major U.S.-run detention facilities in Iraq are nearing capacity, with the number of suspected insurgents in custody on Thursday at the highest level since March, according to detention officials.

The U.S. military has about 7,900 so-called security detainees — people suspected of participating in the insurgency or otherwise threatening Iraq’s security — at its three primary holding facilities in Iraq, officials said. In addition, releases have been suspended until after Jan. 30, when Iraqis are to elect a National Assembly.

Military officials said the surge in detainees reflected the expansion of the insurgency campaign aimed at disrupting Iraq’s first democratic elections in nearly half a century.

“It’s been steadily growing since September,” said Maj. Gen. William H. Brandenburg, commander of U.S. detention operations in Iraq. He said that an average of 50 people were being arrested every day and that U.S. and Iraqi security forces had recently been capturing as many as 70 in a day.

The number of detainees includes about 650 arrested during fighting in Fallujah, which U.S. and Iraqi security forces recaptured from insurgents in November. Though U.S. and Iraqi officials have repeatedly said that foreign fighters are heavily involved in the insurgency, the detainee population includes just 334 foreigners.