Abu Ghraib prison has officially closed, according to Iraq’s Ministry of Justice. The ministry said that it had moved the remaining captives from the city, which sits 12 miles north of Baghdad, to other areas in Iraq.The New York Times has reported that there is still speculation as to whether the closing is temporary or permanent.
The jail sits on the foundation of the Abu Ghraib Infant Formula Plant, which has regularly been claimed to be a bio-weapons production facility. Interestingly enough, the plant is reported to have been painted in a camouflaged pattern during the Iran-Iraq War in 1980. The Abu Ghraib District was created in 1944; the plant was built in 1980.
On July 22, 2013, 500 prisoners from Abu Ghraib were set free by the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant. The Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant, holds affiliation, and intimate ties with some of the following: The Mujahideen Shura Council, Al-Qaeda, Jeish al-Fatiheen,Jund al-Sahaba, Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah, Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura. A central aim of the ISIL is the creation of a Sunni caliphate throughout Iraq.
An unknown number of the freed prisoners are now principal figures of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The ISIL has had a persistent, and violent role in the Syrian Civil War, and seems to be a direct player in the battle for Syrian sovereignty. There have been hundreds of escapees that have fought in Syria and Iraq preceding the Abu Ghraib break out in 2012. Iraqi officials have stated that the current shutdown was planned ahead of time, under the cover of night, and was executed by the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF).
The closing of Abu Ghraib is a symbolic gesture by the government of Iraq. Iraq’s decision shows leadership, and signals that they are in tune with the demands of the Iraqi street. The facility was a brutal reminder of the U.S. war in Iraq.