Gates: Send Yemenis through the Saudi rehab program
posted at 5:05 pm on May 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Jake Tapper reports that the Obama administration continues to flail on its stated policy of closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Defense Secretary Robert Gates tried offering a solution to the most intractable problem, figuring out what to do with 97 Yemenis who represent the worst of the worst in terrorism. His solution, though, won’t instill much confidence:
This morning in Riyadh, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he spoke to Saudi Assistant Minister of the Interior Muhammed bin Nayaf about sending the roughly 100 Yemeni detainees currently in the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia to the Saudi government’s rehabilitation program for jihadis.
Gates said he spoke to Nayaf last night about “our positive impression of the repatriation program, the rehabilitation, repatriation program in Saudi Arabia. I think they’ve probably done as good if not better job of that than almost anybody and explored the possibility of some of the Yemeni detainees coming through that system. I think the notion would be if it worked at all it would be those with strong Saudi family connections or strong connections to Saudi Arabia.”
Bush tried the Saudi program, too, with actual Saudis rather than Yemenis. It didn’t get very good results. Even the sunny Saudi statistics put the success rate at less than 50% of their 3,000 inmates; only 1400 got released, and most haven’t returned to terrorism, at least as far as the Saudis know. The rest are still in the facility, or are unaccounted for, at least with the numbers ABC quotes from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
It’s like deprogramming, conducted by Wahhabists. What could go wrong? Er, this:
Earlier this year the Saudi government published a list of 85 wanted terrorism suspects. Eleven of them had been prisoners at Guantanamo put through the Saudi rehabilitation program.
Said Ali al-Shihri, transferred to Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo during the Bush administration in 2007, currently deputy leader of al Qaeda’s Yemen branch.
The Bush administration also released Gitmo detainee Ghulam Rasoul into the Saudi rehabilitation program. Now known as Mullah Abdullah Zakir, he’s a leader against U.S. forces in southern Afghanistan, according to military and intelligence officials.
Where will we put them the next time we capture them? And how many Americans will they kill in the meantime?