Great news: Former Taliban leader released from Gitmo now recruiting for ISIS; Update: Yemen gov’t resigns

posted at 12:41 pm on January 22, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

On Tuesday, Barack Obama adamantly defended his policy of emptying the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, demanding that Congress get on board with it as well. As Jim Hoft noted at the time, the military leadership present at the State of the Union address didn’t appear too enthusiastic about it:

Perhaps the New York Times has an explanation for that stone-faced reaction. At the same time that Obama bragged about “turning the page” on war and the end of combat operations in Afghanistan, one of the men transferred from Gitmo worked to establish a new ISIS cell in Afghanistan after several years of post-Gitmo life as a Taliban commander:

After the Taliban’s years of war against the American-led military coalition and the new Afghan security forces, the movement’s cohesiveness has increasingly come into question. In particular, the long absence of the Taliban’s reclusive leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, is said to be driving discontent within the Afghan Taliban ranks.

In that environment, the Islamic State’s rush of success on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq has created a new banner for disgruntled Taliban to adopt.

The militant commander at the center of the concerns in Helmand Province is a prominent former Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim. He was detained at the Guantánamo Bay military prison for several years, then returned to the Taliban ranks after his release, serving as a provincial-level military commander. He has since fallen out with his fellow insurgents, and he is said by some to be calling for recruits to support him in his new role as the local leader of the Islamic State. …

Another tribal elder, Hajji Sharin, said Mullah Khadim was pressing his old Taliban comrades to join. “He has asked them to renege from the Taliban, and he is working to bring Islamic State to Kajaki,” Mr. Sharin said.

In interviews, a man who called himself Hajji Mirwais said he had joined the Islamic State as a deputy under Mullah Khadim and claimed that their cell numbered 300 fighters. He said Mullah Khadim had been alienated by Mullah Omar’s long silence and had doubts about the Taliban’s exiled leadership.

Thomas Joscelyn profiled Khadim in the summer of 2010, when the Gitmo alum publicly threatened to assassinate anyone cooperating with the NATO coalition in Afghanistan. That was just three years after Khadim’s release into Afghan custody, which lasted less than two years before his escape. A fellow Gitmo alum, Abdullah Zakir, was released at the same time and had already become a Taliban commander. Both reportedly joined the Taliban’s Quetta Shura Council, among the highest-ranking fighters in the Taliban.

That release took place under George W. Bush, of course, but came from considerable pressure from Democrats in control of Congress at the time to start releasing supposedly benign detainees. It’s that same pressure that’s driving Obama’s determination to empty Gitmo now, whether the detainees present a threat or not. As the odyssey of Khadim demonstrates, sending terrorists back to Afghanistan doesn’t end the threat at all — it simply metastasizes it.

Speaking of which, it was just four months ago that the White House made this claim about Yemen:

MR. EARNEST:  Jim, I can say definitively that the President has ruled out sending American boots on the ground to be engaged in a combat role in Iraq and in Syria.  The strategy that the President has put forward to deal with the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria is substantially different from the strategy that was put in place in advance of the last conflict in Iraq.

What we’re considering here is more akin to the kinds of counterterrorism operations that have been successfully implemented in some other regions of the world.  And those other countries, using some of our military capability, using our support for local fighters on the ground who could take the fight in their own country to the extremist organizations that are operating there, and building up the local government structures of some of these other nations — that that has been a successful strategy for mitigating the threat, and even degrading the threat that is posed by –

Q    Where has that strategy been successful?

MR. EARNEST:  Well, they’re places like –

Q    Not Somalia or Yemen.

MR. EARNEST:  Well, those are actually two of the countries that I was just going to cite.  There is no doubt that in these two places the United States has deployed –

Q    Somalia –

MR. EARNEST:  Let me finish.  That when the United States has deployed a strategy, that strategy has been specifically to work with local governments to build up the capacity of those central governments, to work with local fighters to make sure that we’re increasing their capacity so that they can take the fight on the ground to these extremist organizations, and, where necessary, American military might can be deployed in support of those fighters on the ground to degrade the capacity of those individual organizations.

And just a couple of weeks ago, we saw an effort in Somalia, led by Somalian fighters, to take out the leader of al-Shabaab in that country.  That will have the effect of degrading and ultimately defeating al-Shabaab.  Is that mission completed?  Of course not.  They continue to serve as a threat.  But there is no doubt that this strategy has been successful.

Q    You’re holding up those countries as success stories, though.

MR. EARNEST:  What I’m holding them up as — as a place –

Q    You’ve had some successes here and there, but you wouldn’t hold them up as success stories.

MR. EARNEST:  They are a place where the American counterterrorism strategy that has been put in place by President Obama has succeeded in degrading the threat that those organizations pay to the United States.  And we intend to implement an analogous strategy against ISIL.

Last week, the Obama administration released five Yemenis from Gitmo, four of whom went to Oman, which borders on Yemen’s east. Today, with Shi’ite rebels holding the Yemeni president hostage and AQAP reveling in the chaos, the Obama administration has had to back down from a pledge to send detainees directly to Yemen:

In another challenge to President Barack Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, a ban on transferring detainees to Yemen has been effectively pushed back into place because of security concerns in the volatile Middle Eastern nation, administration officials say.

While Obama approved sending detainees back to Yemen nearly two years ago, his administration has yet to use that authority. And officials say deep concerns about the threat posed by a Yemeni-based al-Qaida offshoot have removed that option for the foreseeable future, although that could change if conditions improve. The officials described the stance on condition of anonymity without authority to speak on the record.

Obama insisted in his State of the Union address Tuesday that he will not relent in his determination to close Guantanamo before he leaves office, and the administration is working on agreements with third countries willing to take Yemenis who are clear to leave the U.S. prison in Cuba. Nearly two-thirds of the remaining 122 detainees are from Yemen, including 47 of the 54 who have been approved for transfer. …

Meanwhile, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which Washington considers to be the group’s most dangerous branch, has been thriving in Yemen amid the chaos. The group has claimed responsibility for the recent attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and failed assaults on the U.S. homeland. While U.S. officials have questioned how much control the group had of the Paris operation, the United States has long been waging drone strikes in Yemen to target the terrorist threat.

Republican senators introduced legislation last week, citing the Paris and other terrorist attacks, as a reason to legally reinstate a ban on Yemeni transfers among other restrictions on Guantanamo transfers during Obama’s remaining two years in office.

It’s baffling, to say the least, as to why the US would choose to release Yemeni terrorists at the precise moment when their likeliest employer post-release is taking credit for the massacre of 16 people in the Charlie Hebdo massacre and related attacks. It’s also curious as to why this impulse is so important that it must be discussed in every State of the Union speech when it’s clear that a bipartisan coalition in Congress is clearly not buying the argument that (a) Gitmo is too expensive, and (b) that it and not radical Islam is the proximate cause and chief recruiting issue for radical Islamist terror.

Keep Gitmo open. Given the alternatives we’re seeing so far from releases like Khadim’s and others, it’s relatively cheap.

Update: Yet another success story for smart power:

Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, his prime minister and Cabinet have all resigned, multiple news organizations are reporting, compounding a political crisis that began earlier this week when Shiite Houthi rebels took control of much of the capital, Sanaa, and surrounded the president’s residence.

Yemeni Information Minister Nadia Sakkaf also tweeted about the resignations.

Today’s developments come despite reports Wednesday of a deal under which the Houthis apparently agreed to withdraw from parts of Sanaa, including from Hadi’s house, and to free his chief of staff, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, who was abducted over the weekend. In exchange, Hadi was reported to have agreed to concessions. In the past, the Houthis have demanded that the constitution be amended, and their representation in parliament and state institutions expanded.

But as we noted earlier today, heavily armed rebels were stationed today outside Hadi’s home, west of Sanaa. There also appeared to be no sign that the rebels had freed Mubarak.

The only upside to this is that AQAP and the Houthis will likely end up fighting each other, but otherwise, it’s yet another failed state across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. Look for an uptick in piracy if the meltdown continues.


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Comments

Maybe Bergdahl joined them too…

Holder must be reviewing the report as we speak.

How come obama didn’t mention it in the SOTU?

How come NO one cares? It’s part of the state of the union.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2015 at 12:45 PM

Obama is an active enemy of the United States – a clear and present danger to the safety and security of its citizens. We are powerless to stop him too. Have a nice day.

FNH57 on January 22, 2015 at 12:46 PM

According to noon news reports, the Yemeni government just resigned.

Wethal on January 22, 2015 at 12:47 PM

Aiding and abetting the enemy. That’s what comes to mind when I think of what this administration is doing. Traitors.

HomeoftheBrave on January 22, 2015 at 12:49 PM

Yemen government offers resignation: source close to PM

It seems like another page has turned since the SOTU.

Drained Brain on January 22, 2015 at 12:52 PM

Obama is a terrorist enabler. Every single foreign policy move he has made regarding the mideast has actually ENABLED the growth of Islamic terrorism, not retarded it. It’s almost as if Obama is a secret Muslim plant in the White House, secretly aiding Islamic terrorists in their goals while outwardly proclaiming to be fighting against them.

otlset on January 22, 2015 at 12:52 PM

Homeland schomeland

It’s all about the O

cmsinaz on January 22, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Great news: Former Taliban leader released from Gitmo now recruiting for ISIS

One more job “created or saved”. Barky is the best!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 22, 2015 at 12:56 PM

But, the Punk in Chief punked the Rs and the reporters and assorted azzes rejoiced, while the land and the world go to Hell, exponentially.

Events will soon wake obama and his azzlickers, from both side, up.

They will be terrorist and economic, not all related, in nature.

Europe is printing money today like crazy.

The Swiss Franc sent them and the world into an unexpected snit, with lots of consequences.

Fools rejoiced about a puerile punk with a podium.

I wish you all total destruction.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2015 at 12:57 PM

Brian Williams went to Cuba and expressed concern that the thawing relations with them, and incoming American money, will destroy their on-going and successful communist revolution.

Terrorism and communism are sustained by the leftist thugs, always.

Quit calling them liberal or progressive already.

They are always tyrannical thugs. Period.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM

This doesn’t matter!!
We all know the most pressing issue facing our Nation is
…CLIMATE CHANGE!!

Come on people, wake up!!

ToddPA on January 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM

The re-uniter in chief.

antipc on January 22, 2015 at 1:04 PM

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM

I neglected to Thank You for your support the other day.
Hat Tip..!!

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 22, 2015 at 1:05 PM

The Obama-backed President of Yemen has submitted his resignation.

#ObamaSuccessStories

Resist We Much on January 22, 2015 at 1:06 PM

If this is happening today, what kinds of miscreants will this moron pardon in two years?

Strap him in a straight jacket already, and find better meds…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 22, 2015 at 1:07 PM

So… unless Obama personally sells a crate RPGs or pallets of 7.62 ammo directly to ISIS, none of his reckless capitulation to these barbarians is impeachable. Got it.

locomotivebreath1901 on January 22, 2015 at 1:08 PM

One more job “created or saved”. Barky is the best!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 22, 2015 at 12:56 PM

…this is the reason I come to this site…LOL…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 22, 2015 at 1:09 PM

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 22, 2015 at 1:05 PM

Easy, one of may favs, very clever and witty. Makes the times more endurable.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2015 at 1:09 PM

Nostrodomus predicted 3….. The first was Napoleon. The second was Hitler…. and the 3rd would be the worst and fool the world through Peace (prizes)and the people will blindly follow…… I see a lot of people dying and the world is backwards, and our once great nation is impotent.

Innercat on January 22, 2015 at 1:11 PM

Obama doesn’t care about American lives.

Oil Can on January 22, 2015 at 1:14 PM

Yemen government offers resignation: source close to PM

It seems like another page has turned since the SOTU.

Drained Brain on January 22, 2015 at 12:52 PM

Yemen’s entire government has resigned.

Time to get our people out of there.

WhirledPeas on January 22, 2015 at 1:14 PM

So… unless Obama personally sells a crate RPGs or pallets of 7.62 ammo directly to ISIS, none of his reckless capitulation to these barbarians is impeachable. Got it.
locomotivebreath1901 on January 22, 2015 at 1:08 PM

The next time I am at a sporting evet or whatever and everyone stands up and places their hand over their heart I will not get up. I am thoroughly beyond sick and fed up with congress and half of the citizens in this f-cked up country.

MrsVoorhees on January 22, 2015 at 1:15 PM

The head of _SIS/_SIL was in Gitmo too.

I have an idea. Instead of incarcerating them just kill them on the battlefield.

ConstantineXI on January 22, 2015 at 1:18 PM

You know, perhaps we SHOULD release them from Gitmo. From 30,000 ft.

RblDiver on January 22, 2015 at 1:18 PM

The fundamental problem is this: While refusing to declare war on the proper entities, we have taken prisoners which we refuse to classify as POWs or Illegal Combatants. If we would take ourselves out of that legal limbo, we could deal with these folks. POWs are sent home only when the war is over. And Illegal Combatants get tried and sentenced by a military tribunal and their sentence carried out immediately. GITMO would already be empty if we had done these things.

But those things require actually committing to something, and that is absolutely verboten in our post-modern politics. Yes, we dropped a bunch of bombs and smashed up some countries and terrorist networks, but our foreign policy – for at least two administrations – never really had any balls to it.

GWB on January 22, 2015 at 1:22 PM

CNN: 0’Stupid has just released a statement that he will REFUSE to meet with Netanyahu during his visit to Congress.

Who’s surprised?

WhirledPeas on January 22, 2015 at 1:26 PM

The head of _SIS/_SIL was in Gitmo too.

ConstantineXI on January 22, 2015 at 1:18 PM

Al-Baghdadi was never in Gitmo. He was released from Camp Bucca in Iraq. :-)

Resist We Much on January 22, 2015 at 1:27 PM

I think I’m going to start calling Obama our Traitor-in-chief. Everything he does damages our nation.

sadatoni on January 22, 2015 at 1:30 PM

Another success for Obama.

Joseph OHenry on January 22, 2015 at 1:34 PM

The only upside to this is that AQAP and the Houthis will likely end up fighting each other, but otherwise, it’s yet another failed state across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. Look for an uptick in piracy if the meltdown continues.

Yeah,

Ed is admitting that the houthis and AQ are not BFF. we have made progress.

coolrepublica on January 22, 2015 at 1:37 PM

My son is about to join the Marines while his future “Commander in Chief” is making all theaters more deadly.

Ricard on January 22, 2015 at 1:39 PM

SOTU – Foreign Policy: Great Success

forest on January 22, 2015 at 1:40 PM

Well, that escalated quickly.

LoganSix on January 22, 2015 at 1:42 PM

Yeah,

Ed is admitting that the houthis and AQ are not BFF. we have made progress.

coolrepublica on January 22, 2015 at 1:37 PM

That’s your primary take-away from this, is it?

Midas on January 22, 2015 at 2:06 PM

foolrepublica on January 22, 2015 at 1:37 PM

Who is this ‘we’ of which you speak?

WhirledPeas on January 22, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Somehow this is white racists America’s fault.

Oil Can on January 22, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Who is this ‘we’ of which you speak?

WhirledPeas on January 22, 2015 at 2:11 PM

Queen’s English, like obama’s. They’re all queens.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2015 at 2:14 PM

Another #OperationUnclenchedFist success story.

Star Bird on January 22, 2015 at 2:14 PM

Another white flag.

docflash on January 22, 2015 at 2:20 PM

May be no one but scum wants to meet you Obama.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 22, 2015 at 2:20 PM

The One’s ultimate goal is to return all of the detainees to the battlefield and return GITMO to Kuba.

vnvet on January 22, 2015 at 2:21 PM

Obama is a terrorist enabler. Every single foreign policy move he has made regarding the mideast has actually ENABLED the growth of Islamic terrorism, not retarded it. It’s almost as if Obama is a secret Muslim plant in the White House, secretly aiding Islamic terrorists in their goals while outwardly proclaiming to be fighting against them.

otlset on January 22, 2015 at 12:52 PM

No one making a politico-thriller movie with that plot would let their mole be so blatant.

AesopFan on January 22, 2015 at 2:44 PM

It’s baffling, to say the least, as to why the US would choose to release Yemeni terrorists…..

Not baffling at all. 0bama and his chief controller, Valery Jarrett, are both Muslim Brotherhood operatives.

LegendHasIt on January 22, 2015 at 2:54 PM

Queen’s English, like obama’s. They’re all queens.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2015 at 2:14 PM

Ah, thanks, Schade. She’s also a hit-and-run poster…obviously.

CNN reported a bit ago that the Commander of Gitmo has been ‘relieved of duties’.

Hmmmmmm.

WhirledPeas on January 22, 2015 at 3:13 PM

NEW YORK – The Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “changed sides in the war on terror” in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded in its interim report.

[…]

“After Gadhafi is deposed and Stevens was appointed U.S. ambassador to Libya, the flow of weapons reverses,” Lopez noted. “Now Stevens has the job of overseeing the shipment of arms from Libya to Syria to arm the rebels fighting Assad, some of whom ultimately become al-Nusra in Syria and some become ISIS.”

http://www.wnd.com/2015/01/generals-conclude-obama-backed-al-qaida/

FloatingRock on January 22, 2015 at 3:15 PM

Yeah,

Ed is admitting that the houthis and AQ are not BFF. we have made progress.

coolrepublica on January 22, 2015 at 1:37 PM

That’s your primary take-away from this, is it?

Midas on January 22, 2015 at 2:06 PM

Yep!

Ed went from saying they were collaborators to now realizing that he was wrong. I am happy.

coolrepublica on January 22, 2015 at 3:15 PM

Obama is a traitor for releasing terrorists during wartime.

Where is the impeachment movement?

profitsbeard on January 22, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Obama is a traitor for releasing terrorists during wartime.

Where is the impeachment movement?

profitsbeard on January 22, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Unfortunately the treason in DC is bipartisan, DC has been captured by our enemies and there will be no impeachment, in fact the treason will only escalate as it becomes increasingly evident that the American people are powerless to stop them.

FloatingRock on January 22, 2015 at 3:24 PM

WhirledPeas on January 22, 2015 at 3:13 PM

I don’t think he had anything to do with gitmo. He was Commander of the base there.

Barred on January 22, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Thanks, Barred. CNN was murky on the details…blah blah, scandal, blah blah.

I looked it up, and you are correct. He wasn’t in charge of the prison.

WhirledPeas on January 22, 2015 at 3:33 PM

Smart Power!

Note to future field commanders: DON’T take prisoners!

GarandFan on January 22, 2015 at 4:01 PM

All according to plan.

Decoski on January 22, 2015 at 4:16 PM

Former Taliban leader released from Gitmo now recruiting for ISIS;

Let’s get this straight right now–what we call ‘Muslim terrorism’ is neither Muslim nor terrorism. Instead we should think of offshore equanimity disturbances as INTERNATIONAL WORKPLACE VIOLENCE for which all groups–Buddhists, Christians, Jews and yes, perhaps a stray Muslim or two, are equally responsible.

But let’s forget about unimportant matters such as workplace violence and concentrate on the core issues of great import such as Ferguson, Amnesty Higher taxes, solar energy and whether the Indiana Colts lost 45-7 because of unloaded footballs.

MaiDee on January 22, 2015 at 4:28 PM

Cool…you’re a happy idiot. Holy shit.

CW on January 22, 2015 at 6:07 PM

Where is the impeachment movement?

profitsbeard on January 22, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Unfortunately the treason in DC is bipartisan, DC has been captured by our enemies and there will be no impeachment, in fact the treason will only escalate as it becomes increasingly evident that the American people are powerless to stop them.

FloatingRock on January 22, 2015 at 3:24 PM

Tragically true.

But there must be millions of retired service personnel who have the time and the money to join in a day of rage in D.C. to indict this traitor for the world media, if nothing else.

Why don’t people who oppose this and have the free time and ability to take one day from their shuffleboard or bingo to get to the Capital and stand against what is clearly treason most foul.

I wish I were retired and didn’t have to work 6 days a week to make ends meet in this glorious economy so I could get there for such a gathering.

Or even as a lone voice with one sign saying:

IS IT NOT TREASON TO FREE TERROPISTS DURING WARTIME?

profitsbeard on January 22, 2015 at 6:45 PM

Why don’t people who oppose this and have the free time and ability to take one day from their shuffleboard or bingo to get to the Capital and stand against what is clearly treason most foul.

Maybe because people have lost hope and know it won’t make a difference. It is increasingly obvious that Washington DC serves their globalist cronies and special interests, not the American people. The more obvious it becomes, the more blatant Washington DC seems to get because people are powerless to stop them. If the people try they will be destroyed by Washington DC, their cronies, special interests, and the corporatist/socialist MSM propaganda machine, not to mention useful idiots in a mob engaging in two minutes hate. Any political entity that truly looks after the interests of the people will suffer the same fate as the tea party. Eventually people who temporarily “woke up” after ’08 went back to sleep when they realized that it’s hopeless. You can’t fight city hall, and it’s even harder to fight Washington DC and all of their cronies, which collectively control most of the wealth, media and everything else in this country.

Perhaps at some point some event will happen that will shake people out of their complacency and compel them to act. It’s too bad we don’t have better candidates to motivate and organize the pro-American, anti-globalist majority of the country, but unfortunately most of the potentials have sold out to the amnesty lobby to one extent or another, and/or support other crony laws and trade deals that make their duplicity all too obvious to those looking for it.

FloatingRock on January 23, 2015 at 12:29 AM

IS IT NOT TREASON TO FREE TERROPISTS DURING WARTIME?

profitsbeard on January 22, 2015 at 6:45 PM

The US government did more than that, they armed them, (indirectly at least), trained their fellow jihadis, even ran bombing campaigns to further their cause in Libya, and they started to do the same in Syria until overwhelming public opposition, 90% I think one poll said, stopped them.

FloatingRock on January 23, 2015 at 12:35 AM

Now that we’re allied with Al Qaeda again, (or recently were), you’d think that the “War on Terror” that they use to steal our freedom and liberty would end, but of course the War On Terror is a fiction they use to maintain a state of constant emergency so they can gain, consolidate and secure their power over the rest of us. If the War on Terror were real our borders would be secure and we wouldn’t allow illegals to stay in our country. It’s just an excuse. I support a real war on terror, but the one the US government has been fighting the past dozen years plus is a war on our freedom, liberty and prosperity. While the US government continued to fight their war on all of us in the name of the War on Terror, they were arming, training and flying bombing missions for Al Qaeda in Libya and leaving our borders wide open for all of these years, incentivizing millions to illegally invade our country.

FloatingRock on January 23, 2015 at 12:42 AM