Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Terrorist Rehabilitation

The U.S. Experience in Iraq, 1st Edition

By Ami Angell, Rohan Gunaratna

CRC Press

454 pages | 131 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138112438
pub: 2017-06-13
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pub: 2011-07-12
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Because terrorists are made, not born, it is critically important to world peace that detainees and inmates influenced by violent ideology are deradicalized and rehabilitated back into society. Exploring the challenges in this formidable endeavor, Terrorist Rehabilitation: The U.S. Experience in Iraq demonstrates through the actual experiences of military personnel, defense contractors, and Iraqi nationals that deradicalization and rehabilitation programs can succeed and have the capability to positively impact thousands of would-be terrorists globally if utilized to their full capacity.

Custodial and community rehabilitation of terrorists and extremists is a new frontier in the fight against terrorism. This forward-thinking volume:

  • Highlights the success of a rehabilitation program curriculum in Iraq
  • Encourages individuals and governments to embrace rehabilitation as the next most logical step in fighting terrorism
  • Examines the recent history of threat groups in Iraq
  • Demonstrates where the U.S. went awry in its war effort, and the steps it took to correct the situation
  • Describes religious, vocational training, education, creative expression, and Tanweer programs introduced to the detainee population
  • Provides insight into future steps based on lessons learned from current rehabilitation programs

It is essential that we shift the focus from solely detainment and imprisonment to addressing the ideological mindset during prolonged incarceration. It is possible to effect an ideological transformation in detainees that qualifies them to be reclassified as no longer posing a security threat. This volume demonstrates that with the proper program and encouragement, a detainee’s misunderstanding or extremist ideology can be replaced with the principles of moderation, toleration, and coexistence.

Table of Contents

A Recent History of Iraq

The Extremist Threat

The Case Against Iraq

The Context

Origins and Development of Threat Groups

The Threat Landscape

Ansar al-Islam fi Kurdistan (Ansar al-Islam)

Tanzim Qaedat fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (Al Qaeda in Iraq)

U.S. Impact on Threat Groups in Iraq

State of Affairs of Detainment and Detainees

The Predicament

U.S. Detainee Operations

Process in Detainee Operations

Impact of the Abu Ghraib Abuse

Reaction to Abu Ghraib

Setting the Stage for Terrorist Rehabilitation

Detainees (re)Act

Inside the Wire

Major Theatre Internment Facilities (TIFs) in Iraq


General David H. Petraeus

Task Force 134

Detainee Rehabilitation Program Is Put Forth for Consideration

Lt. Gen. Gardner Acts

In(To) the Fire

Major General Douglas M. Stone

Origination of the TIFRIC Concept

Initial Challenges

Rehabilitation Pilot Program

MNFRC Boards

Major General David E. Quantock

Part of the Team

OSS Contractors

Pilot Program



Medical and Spiritual Services

Extracurricular Activities

Work Conditions

Employed Local Iraqi Nationals



Medical and Spiritual Services

Extracurricular Activities

Work Conditions

Task Force 134 Military Staff Liaisons

Detainee Care and Custody

Classification Criteria

Housing Placement






Former Baath Party Regime Members Studios

Sunni and Shiite Division

Medical Access

The Motivation Factor

A Method to the Madness

Rehabilitation Unmasked

Iraq’s Rehabilitation Programs

The Program

Counterinsurgency Operations

Information Operations

Intelligence Gathering


The Secret Weapon

Iraqi Ministry of Education (MoE)

Education Placement

Training Program for Local Iraqi Civilian Teachers

Training Program for Detainee Teachers for Intracompound Teaching


Intracompound Schools

Formal Schools

Computer Training


Religious Enlightenment

Growing Pains

Four-Day Program

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Social Worker Component

Day Four

Four-Day Graduation

Teach a Person to Fish

Vocational Skill Training




Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning



Art of War

Creative Expressions Program (CEP)

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Bucca Bears and Cropper Camels

Arts and Crafts

Leaping Forward

Lessons Learned

The Way Forward

Widening the Scope

The Tanweer Concept

Phase I: Initial Tanweer

Phase II: Sustained Tanweer

Phase III: Transition Tanweer

Tanweer Transformed

12-Day Tanweer

10-Day Tanweer

The Future of Extremist Rehabilitation Programs

The Context

The Background

Human Terrain Is Key

The Neglected Battlefield

Modes of Rehabilitation

Religious Rehabilitation

Psychological Rehabilitation

Social and Family Rehabilitation

Education Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation

Creative Arts Rehabilitation

Recreation Rehabilitation

Working Model

First Fundamental Aspect

Second Fundamental Aspect

Third Fundamental Aspect

Fourth Fundamental Aspect

Fifth Fundamental Aspect

Sixth Fundamental Aspect

Seventh Fundamental Aspect

Eighth Fundamental Aspect

Ninth Fundamental Aspect

Guiding Principles

The Future

Toward a Global Regime

Strategy for an Unconquerable Nation


The Wrap Up

American Dream

Leap of Faith



Appendix A

Appendix B


About the Authors

Ami Angell, PhD, LLM, is a research fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She has spent a substantial amount of time working in the Middle East, including 44 months in Iraq (2005–2008) and 24 months in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel. She also has worked and lived in Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Italy, Switzerland, England and, most recently, Singapore.

Rohan Gunaratna, PhD, is a specialist of the global threat environment, with expertise in threat groups in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. He is head of Singapore’s International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), one of the largest specialist counter terrorism research and training centers in the world. He is also a professor of Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism