Monday, December 21, 2009

Two Gitmo detainees released to Somaliland?

The Washington Post reported last week that the Obama administration was planning to release six Gitmo detainees to their home country of Yemen.  It turns out that they actually released twelve prisoners from Guantanamo on Saturday.
The United States freed a dozen men from Guantanamo this week -- including one of the last captives sent there by the Bush administration -- in a mission that dropped detainees off in Yemen, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.

The dozen included six Yemenis, four Afghans and two Somali citizens. Their departure left the prison camp census at 198 on Saturday -- the first time the detention center dropped below 200 captives since February 2002.
Adam Brickley at the Weekly Standard Blog questions the rationale of releasing these prisoners:

That we are sending these people back to largely-lawless Afghanistan and terrorist-hotbed Yemen is bad, bad news. However, it's the third country mentioned that's really bothersome.

Technically speaking, Somaliland does not exist.

Don't get me wrong -- the Republic of Somaliland is a very real entity. It has a government that has been functioning relatively smoothly since declaring independence from Somalia in 1991. The problem, however, is that every nation on Earth (including the U.S.) recognizes the area as a non-independent part of Somalia. There are no diplomatic ties between Somaliland and...well...anyone, and the government is universally viewed as illegitimate.

And we are going to trust these people with two jihadist detainees from Guantanamo Bay?

The only conclusion that one can draw from this story is that President Obama and Attorney General Holder are so desperate to clear out Gitmo that they are willing to do absolutely anything to accomplish their goal -- including the handing dangerous prisoners to a "country" that they themselves will not recognize.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air agrees:
We captured Arale in Somalia three years ago. Since we don’t have any military presence in that country, or at least none we acknowledge, Arale had to have been captured either by covert intelligence forces or a secret military mission. That must have meant that the Pentagon and/or the CIA thought him to be a significant target. We don’t know, because the paperwork released on Arale has been heavily redacted — which also indicates the presumed value of having him in our custody.

Now he’s gone back to an area known to be a haven for terrorists — and under the control of a government with which the US doesn’t do business. How exactly did that happen? Somaliland is a breakaway piece of Somalia that no one recognizes. Does the US usually extradite prisoners to jurisdictions that we do not recognize and in the absence of an extradition treaty?

The only thing more foolish than releasing terrorists is to release them in the middle of failed states.
Perhaps the Obama administration released these two terrorists to Somaliland as a test.  Maybe the State Department held out the carrot of diplomatic relations with the U.S. in return for quietly taking these two potentially high value prisoners.  One might reasonably wonder what other Gitmo prisoner deals are in the works.

No comments:

Post a Comment