Friday, January 23, 2009

You Don't Say: Released Gitmo Detainee Becomes Al Qaeda Head In Yemen

A terrorist released from Guantanamo Bay has not only rejoined al Qaeda, but now leads its branch in Yemen.
The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant group and was confirmed by an American counterterrorism official.

“They’re one and the same guy,” said the official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing an intelligence analysis. “He returned to Saudi Arabia in 2007, but his movements to Yemen remain unclear.”

The development came as Republican legislators criticized the plan to close the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp in the absence of any measures for dealing with current detainees. But it also helps explain why the new administration wants to move cautiously, taking time to work out a plan to cope with the complications.

Almost half the camp’s remaining detainees are Yemenis, and efforts to repatriate them depend in part on the creation of a Yemeni rehabilitation program — partly financed by the United States — similar to the Saudi one. Saudi Arabia has claimed that no graduate of its program has returned to terrorism.

“The lesson here is, whoever receives former Guantánamo detainees needs to keep a close eye on them,” the American official said.

Although the Pentagon has said that dozens of released Guantánamo detainees have “returned to the fight,” its claim is difficult to document, and has been met with skepticism. In any case, few of the former detainees, if any, are thought to have become leaders of a major terrorist organization like Al Qaeda in Yemen, a mostly homegrown group that experts say has been reinforced by foreign fighters.
You don't say. The terrorist involved in this bombing was previously held in Guantanamo Bay. Adding to the irony is that the New York Times realized that this belonged on the front page of today's paper. Opponents of closing the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay have been saying this for years - that those released for "lack of evidence" or out of goodwill would end up back in the jihad.

We already know that dozens of other terrorists released from Gitmo have gone back to jihad, despite the Times' skepticism over the matter. This just goes to show that any attempt to close Gitmo without resolving where to hold these terrorists indefinitely is going to lead to more terrorism.

It's further folly to believe the Saudis when they claim that none of those who passed through their rehabilitation program have gone on to carry out terrorism; Said Ali al-Shihri has. Expect others to have done so as well. Yemen's program is a farce, especially considering that Yemen routinely plays revolving door justice for the terrorists. They'll capture them one day, and allow them to escape or release them the next.

Human rights groups worry about indefinite detentions, but provide no alternative to terrorists who seek nothing less than war against the West out of a religious obligation. They'd rather protect the jihadis and hamstring the US rather than protecting the US and the rest of the world from these violent jihadis.

Also, the Times claims that few, if any, of the released terrorists have gone on to be leaders within al Qaeda. All it takes is one of these detainees to be a terror leader. A new terror cell can then carry out mass casualty attacks and other violence; why allow any of these terrorists the opportunity to cause still more mayhem and destruction around the world?

Ed Morrissey points out that Said was released because the Bush Administration was being pressured reduce the number of prisoners at Gitmo and Said told a sob story that the Gitmo tribunals bought:
How did Shirhi get released? He told the Gitmo tribunals that he only traveled to Iran and Afghanistan to get carpets for his family’s store. The Pentagon’s dossier on Abu Sayyaf showed that he trained at a terrorist camp outside of Kabul, went to Iran to bring extremists into Afghanistan, and wanted to assassinate a writer on which a mullah had placed a fatwa for his writings. Shihri was fortunate that his review came at a time when the Bush administration was getting enormous pressure to reduce the number of inmates at Gitmo, and Shihri went into the Saudi rehab program. A year later, Shihri disappeared — and now he’s running the AQ network in Yemen.
Despite the ongoing war against terrorists who seek to carry out attacks against those who do not submit to their interpretation of Islam, President Obama signed yet more executive orders that essentially roll back the clock to 9/10/2001 on a wide range of war on terror issues. Thanks.

President Obama is turning his back on the very tools that President Bush left at his disposal and which had kept the nation safe for the past seven years why? Because some whining leftists think that this will improve our stature in the world? Who exactly is swayed by that claptrap? The Islamists aren't going to be satisfied unless and until we submit to their Islamist vision. They'll complain that Obama hasn't gone far enough.

Meanwhile, the international jihad continues. Abu Sayyaf continues its terror campaign in the Philippines.

Oh, and curiously, President Obama didn't have a problem killing terrorists in Pakistan with UAV airstrikes today. Apparently there are some tools that Obama hopes to retain. We'll see how long that lasts.

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