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New Theater Internment Facility opens in northern Iraq


AL-SULAMANIYA, Iraq -- Fort Suse, the newest Theater Internment Facility capable of housing more than 1,700 security detainees, recently began operations with the arrival of Task Force 33 Oct. 17 and the first 50 detainees Oct. 24.

“The opening of Fort Suse is a big step in the transition of detention operations to the Iraqis,” said Maj. Gen. William Brandenburg, commanding general of Detainee Operations. “It will be the first facility to be completely turned over to Iraqi control. This complete transition of operations will take place after extensive training of Iraqi guards and only after they are completely confident in their ability to run this facility.”

Construction began Aug. 3 at Fort Suse, an old Russian-built military training facility.

“Contractors began construction with very short notice,” said Maj. Frank McCormick, 20th Engineer Brigade. “We had about 300 workers working two shifts. These workers have been actively involved in making this a good facility and are a big part of why we were able to complete the construction here so quickly.”

An Iraqi construction company, using Iraqi employees, was selected for the renovation of Fort Suse. During the renovation, the construction company employed 250 laborers and managed another 150 men subcontracted to plaster and paint. "We paid them well and provided three meals a day," said Sardar Faiq, lead engineer for ECC International subcontractor.

Multi-National Force-Iraq spent approximately $8 million to renovate the facility, greatly improving the security and living conditions for security detainees.

Approximately 150 Iraqi guards are now working side-by-side with troops from TF33 at Fort Suse. They will be joined by an additional 350 Iraqi guards and staff as the Coalition transitions operations to Iraq. A complete transition of operations at Fort Suse will take place when the Iraqi guards are confident in their ability to maintain the same high-quality level of care and control currently maintained by Coalition Forces.

“We’re not putting a drop-dead timeline on this,” Maj. Gen. Brandenburg said. “We will transition detention operations at Fort Suse to the Iraqis when they are completely confident and ready. The Iraqis are committed to doing this right and we will not set an arbitrary deadline.”

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