How effective has the Yemeni rehab program for Gitmo detainees been? The Times of London reports that it has done almost no good at all. At least a dozen repatriated Yemenis have rejoined al-Qaeda while the Obama administration plans to release almost a hundred more in the country:
At least a dozen former Guantánamo Bay inmates have rejoined al-Qaeda to fight in Yemen, The Times has learnt, amid growing concern over the ability of the country’s Government to accept almost 100 more former inmates from the detention centre.
The Obama Administration promised to close the Guantánamo facility by January 22, a deadline that it will be unable to meet. The 91 Yemeni prisoners in Guantánamo make up the largest national contingent among the 198 being held.
Six prisoners were returned to Yemen last month. After the Christmas Day bomb plot in Detroit, US officials are increasingly concerned that the country is becoming a hot-bed of terrorism. Eleven of the former inmates known to have rejoined al-Qaeda in Yemen were born in Saudi Arabia. The organisation merged its Saudi and Yemeni offshoots last year. …
A Yemeni, Hani Abdo Shaalan, who was released from Guantánamo in 2007, was killed in an airstrike on December 17, the Yemeni Government reported last week. The deputy head of al-Qaeda in the country is Said Ali al-Shihri, 36, who was released in 2007. Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, who was released in 2006, is a prominent ideologue featured on Yemeni al-Qaeda websites.
Keep in mind that these numbers reflect those released early from Gitmo. Those detainees were considered to be a lower risk than those remaining in the center. If the recidivism among the lower-risk detainees has been this bad, it means that either the ones we release now will be so hard-core that we can expect most or all of them to return to AQ or our screening process for release in the Bush administration was decidedly poor — or both.
Actually, it’s difficult to blame the Yemeni rehab program — because Yemen abandoned it four years ago. So what happens to Gitmo detainees we release to Yemen now? It’s unclear, but it appears to be nothing at all. They are apparently released with little or no supervision, which explains why so many of them wind up in al-Qaeda camps.
Any Yemenis we send back today will be fighting us tomorrow. They will be building suicide underwear for rich dilettantes and training smarter recruits how to navigate their way out of American custody if they are fortunate enough to get captured instead of killed. We are handing our enemies both resources and intelligence with which to kill Americans and avoid consequences for their actions.