Iraq Detainees Swell by 50%

Most are Sunni, and many say they're motivated by lack of jobs, not jihadism
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2007 7:00 AM CDT
A detainee captured during an operation in search of possible al-Qaida suspects stands in front of the U.S. army's armored vehicle in the Amariyah neighborhood of west Baghdad, Iraq on Thursday, Aug....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Since the January troop surge the number of detainees held by the American military in Iraq has increased by 50%, reports the New York Times. The overwhelming majority of those in custody, nearly 85%, are Sunni. And while Jihadism drives some Iraqi insurgents to plant roadside bombs, for many there is a far less ideological motivation: money.

With work increasingly hard to come by, illiterate cash-strapped young Sunnis have turned to jihadism without religious motivation. "The primary motivator is economic," says one Naval officer. "They're angry men because they don't have jobs." The military claims that the rise in detainees comes from American operations in places where they could not reach before the surge, plus greater Iraqi cooperation.