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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yemenis Going to Saudi Arabia

Yesterday, I remarked that President Obama made a shrewd move in agreeing with the tiny Pacific island of Palau to have the Uighers be moved there. I also said that the Uighers were going to be the relatively easy decisions as far as the set of prisoners in GITMO. Well, it appears that as the decisions become more difficult, the plan is more dicey. Last night, it was first reported, that Yemen has agreed to have a significant portion of their ex pats sent to Saudi Arabia.

The United States has discussed sending some Guantanamo Bay detainees of Yemeni citizenship to Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation, according to a diplomatic source with knowledge of the discussions.

The program for Gitmo's Yemeni detainees is in harmony with U.S. plans to close the detainee camp within a year.

The source asked for anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the discussions.The idea has been broached with both Saudi and Yemeni officials, the source said.

The State Department would not comment on the plan.

"We have been in discussion with a number of our friends, allies and partners around the world on the detainee issue," State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said Friday.

Unlike his decision to send the Uighers to Palau, this one is simply not going to work. They're going to Saudi Arabia for "rehabilitation". No one is exactly sure what this means, but Saudi Arabia is not exactly known for human rights.

The decision to close GITMO was rooted largely in the idea that these folks were mistreated, held without charge, not handled with the rule of law. If they are moved to Saudi Arabia, we can be very certain none of those things will happen.

If human rights observers were concerned about interrogation techniques at GITMO, then their worst nightmares will be some of the things that will happen to these detainees in Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, moving these folks to Saudi Arabia puts our own national security in jeopardy. The Saudi royal family is duplicitous. Some are working with us in the GWOT on terror. Other elements are actively supporting the terrorists. So, depending on who will be in charge of "rehabilitation" the terrorists might wind up in the custody of those sympathetic to us or to the terrorists themselves. As such, moving them to Saudi Arabia runs the real risk that they wind up on the battlefield again to fight against us.

In fact, one of the main reasons that we aren't moving them to Yemen is because our government doesn't trust that Yemen will properly incarcerate them. They have a history of prison escapes and light sentences for terrorists in that country. Saudi Arabia only has a good record on these matters only in comparison to Yemen. Moving them to Saudi Arabia brings a real national security threat to our nation from these folks.

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