Don’t get me wrong, President Obama’s order_to_close the Guantanamo Bay prison is a good thing. That being said, we should not exaggerate the effect that closing it will have. Of the things that people are pissed off at the US for in the Middle East, Guantanamo Bay is not near the top of the list. And if its not accompagnied by a serious US engagement in the peace process, noone in the region is going to give Obama any special “props” for closing Guantanamo. We also have to remember that most of the remaining prisoners are hard-core security threats and they can’t just be put out on the street. Today Robert Worth reports:
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.
The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabiain 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.
His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant group and was confirmed by an American counterterrorism official
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