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Obama sends 6 Detainees to Yemen Christmas Week





jwellsy
While the country was focused on the healthcare railroad, Obama shuffled six detainees to Yemen.

Quote:
6 Detainees Are Returned to Yemen

By CHARLIE SAVAGE
Published: December 19, 2009

WASHINGTON — The government of Yemen on Saturday took custody of six detainees formerly held for years without trial at the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to a senior Obama administration official and others involved in the process.

The transfers, which followed the repatriation of another Yemeni detainee in September, represent a test run for a policy that the administration hopes could eventually make possible a sharp reduction in the population at the prison, which President Obama is trying to close.

About 91 Yemenis remain at the facility, making up the largest bloc of the population of about 200 detainees. Though 14 Yemenis were repatriated from Guantánamo during the Bush administration, concerns about the Yemeni government’s ability and commitment in fighting Al Qaeda, which has long found a haven in that nation, has made officials reluctant to repatriate Yemenis in large numbers.

Matthew Waxman, a Columbia University law professor who was deputy secretary of defense for detainee affairs in the Bush administration, said that the move offered some risk for the Obama administration because “in the past Yemen has failed to keep even high-profile terrorist suspects in prison for long, and because it has a weak government that at times has wavered in its anti-Al Qaeda agenda. There is reason to be cautious.”

While Mr. Waxman nevertheless praised the Obama administration’s trial-run policy, it could provide new fodder for Republicans who oppose the administration’s effort to close Guantánamo, including by bringing some detainees into the United States for prosecution or continued detention.

But the senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing sensitive security matters, said the government was gaining confidence in Yemen’s willingness to handle returning detainees after months of “intense” talks under the Obama administration, as well as counterterrorism assistance from the United States that dates back to the Bush years.

“Over the past year and even longer, we have invested in the Yemeni security and intelligence services, in terms of training and equipment and in terms of continuing to work with them on a variety of counterterrorism programs and making sure they are firm in their commitment against Al Qaeda,” the official said. “That has given us greater confidence that the Yemeni government and president would deal with this issue very seriously and was not going to ignore the potential security risks associated with returning detainees.”

The official also said that a task force of national security and Justice Department officials, charged with reviewing each detainee’s files, found that the six men posed the lowest risk of any Yemenis remaining at Guantánamo Bay.

“This was a determination about these six, that they presented low risk, there was limited information about their involvement in past activities, so they were deemed ready to go back,” he said. None of the six, he added, “come from those areas where Al Qaeda has a significant presence or high levels of activity.” One of the six detainees had recently been ordered freed by a federal judge, he said.

The official declined to detail the security arrangements to which Yemen agreed, but said that in general such deals have included criminal prosecution, travel restrictions, rehabilitative services and government surveillance.

The official also said that the United States was pleased by how Yemen had handled the detainee who was repatriated several months ago, including both security arrangements and public relations: the government, he said, did not hail the man as a returning hero.

Last week, with American assistance, Yemen carried out a series of raids on suspected hide-outs of Al Qaeda within its borders, and said its security forces had killed at least 34 militants.

Robert F. Worth contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon.
A version of this article appeared in print on December 20, 2009, on page A22 of the New York edition.


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/20/world/americas/20gitmo.html

How's that transparency thing working out for you?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJNOHnFZnWQ&NR=1&feature=fvwp
deanhills
jwellsy wrote:
Matthew Waxman, a Columbia University law professor who was deputy secretary of defense for detainee affairs in the Bush administration, said that the move offered some risk for the Obama administration because “in the past Yemen has failed to keep even high-profile terrorist suspects in prison for long, and because it has a weak government that at times has wavered in its anti-Al Qaeda agenda. There is reason to be cautious.”
I totally agree with this guy. They probably will turn into heroes and very soon revert back to terrorism. Wow! Did it ever take long though for these guys to get processed. From January up to now, almost a year. Talk about dragging of feet! As well as being naive and totally underestimating the Yemenis. Money may talk in Afghanistan, but the Yemenis are made of completely different more educated and devout substance.
deanhills
Laughing Laughing Laughing I know this must be completely unrelated and more of a coincidence, but during Xmas 6 of the GITMO detainees were returned to Yemen, and days later the US Embassy in Yemen closes! My spontaneous sense of humour said: Wow! Those detainees are surely fast operators!!! Reason that is given for the closure of the Embassy in Yemen is the failed bombing attack in Detroit which has been linked with El Qaeda in Yemen. There are definitely wheels within wheels here and the spokes must all be knotting up with one another:
Quote:
The U.S. closed its embassy in Yemen on Sunday, citing ongoing threats by the al-Qaida branch that has been linked to the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt of a U.S. airliner headed to Detroit.

The confrontation with the terrorist group's branch in Yemen has gained new urgency since the 23-year-old Nigerian accused in the attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, told U.S. investigators he received training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen. President Barack Obama said Saturday that al-Qaida's branch in Yemen was behind the attempt.

"The U.S. Embassy in San'a is closed today, January 3, 2010, in response to ongoing threats by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ... to attack American interests in Yemen," the embassy said in a message posted on its Web site.

An embassy spokesman reached on the phone would not comment if there was a specific threat. On Thursday, the embassy sent a warden notice to American citizens in Yemen urging them to be vigilant and practice security awareness.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100103/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen_al_qaida
jwellsy
This explains a lot.
Quote:
Yemen’s population is predominantly young. According to U.S. government and United Nations estimates, in 2007 about 46 percent of the population was under age 15;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Yemen
deanhills
jwellsy wrote:
This explains a lot.
Quote:
Yemen’s population is predominantly young. According to U.S. government and United Nations estimates, in 2007 about 46 percent of the population was under age 15;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Yemen
Not only Yemen, but throughout the Middle East, population is much younger in average than in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Yemenis are firebrands in general. They are huge on principles and not easy to corrupt. I would never underestimate a Yemeni and treat them with huge respect. Especially when they have an axe to grind with me. I thought it was a very good move for the Embassies to close in Sanaa. I believe the British have followed suit and the French are also thinking about closing their Embassy. Hopefully people aren't thinking of travelling there either. Although I believe the Yemenis who kidnap foreigners do treat them very well.
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