Category Archive 'Yemen'

12 Feb 2015

Marines Destroyed, Did Not Surrender, Weapons

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M16piece

The Marine Corps responded to reports that US Marine guards at the embassy in Yemen had been under orders to surrender their rifles and sidearms to Houthi fighters at the airport before leaving the country.

Marine Corps Times:

Marine embassy security guards smashed personal weapons with sledgehammers and scattered them before departing Yemen as the U.S. Embassy was being evacuated this week, officials with Marine Corps Headquarters said.

The officials offered new details of the Marines’ departure in the wake of differing reports about what had become of personal weapons the troops had to leave behind before departing the country via the airport at Sanaa. A Pentagon spokesman told reporters Wednesday that Marines had handed over the weapons to Yemeni officials before boarding commercial aircraft for departure, while staff with the Sanaa airport told the Associated Press that Houthi rebels had seized U.S. Embassy vehicles, some with weapons inside.

A Marine official with knowledge of the movement told Marine Corps Times Wednesday that all personal and crew-served weapons had been rendered inoperable, but could not address how they had been made so or how they were disposed of before the Marines departed.

“To be clear: No Marine handed a weapon to a Houthi, or had one taken from him,” Marine officials said late Wednesday in a statement.

Crew-served weapons, officials said, were destroyed at the embassy before the Marines departed in accordance with an approved destruction plan.

The Marine embassy detachment then proceeded to the airfield at Sanaa with just their personal weapons.

“Upon arrival at the airfield, all personal weapons were rendered inoperable in accordance with advance planning,” Officials said in the statement. “Specifically, each bolt was removed from its weapons body and rendered inoperable by smashing with sledgehammers. The weapons bodies, minus the bolts, were then separately smashed with sledgehammers. All of these destroyed components were left at the airport — and components were scattered; no usable weapon was taken from any Marine at Sanaa airport.

Read the whole thing.

18 May 2012

Inside Story Worse Than the Rumors

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John O. Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President

Michael A. Walsh, in the New York Post, spills the beans on the damaging leak which has seriously compromised relations between British and American intelligence services.

So that “CIA coup” in Yemen against another al Qaeda underwear bomber turns out to actually have been a joint Saudi-British intelligence operation — which apparently was prematurely terminated thanks to flapping lips on this side of the Atlantic.

So the leak didn’t just blow our chances to nail the notorious bomb designer behind the plot, Ibrahim al-Asiri, and put the life of the double agent in mortal danger for no reason.

It also seriously damaged Langley’s relationship with its foreign counterparts, who now understand that operational security and the lives of their operatives mean nothing to us (not in an election year, anyway).

Which makes it even more important to find out: Who leaked?

The betting starts with former CIA official John Brennan, the White House’s deputy nationalsecurity adviser for counterterrorism. Shortly after details about the operation leaked to the Associated Press via unnamed “officials,” Brennan took to the airwaves to crow publicly about how the wedgie bomber was “no longer a threat to the American people.”

And the AP admitted it cleared its story with the feds in advance.

The uncharitable immediately saw this naked self-aggrandizement as a blatant attempt by the Obama administration to take political credit for something it had almost nothing to do with.

Read the whole thing.

08 Jan 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

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Leon Panetta’s CIA leaps into action to deal with terrorism originating in Yemen (now designated “Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula” (AQAP). The CIA will be increasing the number of analysts focused on Yemen and Africa. The jihadis are doubtless trembling in their sandals at the thought of fresh teams of coffee sippers hunting them down on computer screens from Tyson’s Corners.

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Erik Eriksen marvels that the environmental left has been so quiet after the Copenhagen conference ended whimpering in a blizzard. He concludes that warmist mouths have been frozen shut.

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How can democrats hope to regain a majority in Virginia? Give hundreds of thousands of convicted felons back the right to vote, quickly, before Governor Kaine leaves office.

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Former CIA Officer Reuel Marc Gerecht, in the Wall Street Journal, notes that al Qaeda did to us exactly what we intended to do to them: use a mole for a lethal strike against high-value targets.

07 Jan 2010

Iran Assisting Al Qaeda in Yemen

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The Washington Times points to some of the evidence.

The attempted Christmas Day underwear bombing of Northwest Flight 253 may have Iranian fingerprints, but those are dots the Obama administration doesn’t want to connect.

Iran and al Qaeda have made mutual war on America in Yemen before. In November 2008, Western security officials intercepted a letter signed by bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri thanking Iran for its “vision” in helping al Qaeda establish a foothold in Yemen after being routed from Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The terror leader praised Tehran for its “monetary and infrastructure assistance” related to a September 2008 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital Sana’a. Sixteen people were killed in the attack, which featured machine gun and rocket fire supporting a double suicide car bombing. …

Some intelligence analysts downplay the idea of cooperation between al Qaeda and Iran because the two are ideological foes. But both detest the United States and have mutual interest in collaborative efforts that hurt U.S. interests. Iran has provided a safe haven – Tehran calls it “house arrest” – to scores of al Qaeda operatives since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. One of Osama bin Laden’s wives, six children and 11 grandchildren are reportedly living in Iran. Former Guantanamo detainee No. 372, Said Ali al-Shiri, who like al Awfi joined al Qaeda in Yemen after Saudi deprogramming, had been in Iran shortly before being picked up by Coalition forces in 2001. Al Shiri was reportedly killed in an air strike in Yemen in December 2009 and may have been one of the planners of the attempted Flight 253 underwear bombing.

Iran has durable ties to the Shi’ite Houthi rebels operating in North Yemen, who are linked to al Qaeda according to Ali Mohamed al-Ansi, director of the Yemeni National Security Bureau. Yemen has seized vessels with Iranian crews smuggling arms to the country, and Yemeni officers involved in weapons trafficking have confessed to Iran’s involvement. In November, Houthi rebel leaders met in Yemen with an official from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and leaders of Tehran-backed Hezbollah, which reportedly is active in Yemen.

On Dec. 23, Yemeni House Speaker Shaykh Yahya Ali al-Rai said in an interview with the Saudi press that Iranian support for insurgents in Yemen was “beyond any doubt” and that “Iranian interference aims primarily at transforming Yemen into an arena for settling political scores.” Tehran most likely seeks to make Yemen an arena for the kind of proxy wars already being waged in Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan.

05 Jan 2010

Freed Guantanamo Prisoners Rejoin Jihad

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Said Ali al-Shihri, Ibrahim Suleiman al Rubaish (image ID not confirmed); Abdullah Saleh Ali al Ajmi; and Abdullah Mahsud thought the US was pretty stupid to let them go free to resume the fight

The London Times reports that early releases of detainees believed to be less dangerous resulted in a large number of cases of speedy returns to waging holy war against the West, sometimes in prominent leadership roles.

As the Obama Administration tries fulfilling its commitment to empty the prison facility at Guantanamo, prospective beneficiaries of repatriation will inevitably include precisely those detainees considered too obviously guilty and too certain to return to terrorist activities to be released earlier.

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. …

The country’s mountainous terrain, poverty and lawless tribal society make it, in the opinion of many analysts, a close match for Afghanistan as a new terrorist haven. ..

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. …

The US Government issued figures in May showing that 74 of the 530 detainees in Guantánamo were suspected or known to have returned to terrorist activity since their release. They included the commander of the Taleban in Helmand province, Mullah Zakir, whom the British Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Jock Stirrup, called “a key and seemingly effective tactical leader”. Among others who returned to terrorism was Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti who killed six Iraqis in Mosul in 2008.

The number believed to have “returned to the fight” in the May 2009 estimate was double that of a US estimate from June 2008. US officials acknowledged that more detainees were known to have reoffended since, but the number has been classified.

“There is a historic trend and it continues. I will only say that we have said there is a trend, we are aware of it, there is no denying the trend and we are doing our best to deal with this reality,” Mr Morrell said.

Officials said that a higher proportion of those still being held were likely to return to terrorism because they were considered more of a security threat than those selected in the early stages of the release programme.

04 Jan 2010

Yemen Proves Winning in Afghanistan is Necessary

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Douglas Farrah observes that if you let them build a base, terrorists will come.

The recent and growing attention to the critical situation in Yemen, where al Qaeda’s presence is spreading and the government is weak and does not control much of the physical space, is perhaps the best argument for pursuing a vigorous Afghanistan policy.

It is clear that the jihadist movement, to reuse an overused cliche, will flow like water downhill, taking the paths of least resistance. Yemen, with its declining oil revenues, weak central government, inhospitable geography and population that is at least intellectually in tune with al Qaeda’s fundamentalist theology, is such a place. It has the added benefit and symbolic value for Osama bin Laden and his family of being their ancestral home, from whence bin Laden’s father came to Saudi Arabia.

Radical Islamists need different spaces for different reasons. Criminalized states allow them to move money and generate funds. Failed or failing states with a strongly sympathetic population in which to move undetected afford something even more valuable – the chance to establish a physical space that is part of their vision of the Caliphate, or Allah’s kingdom on earth. …

This is of primary importance to the Islamist community, and one that highlights the reasons for such fierce fighting and penetration in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan. It is not so much the training camps and safe havens that draw the Islamist combatants to these regions. It is the possibility of creating a divinely-mandated earthly government under the rule of Sharia law (as they interpret it).

Afghanistan is another such place, now part of the mythical narrative the movement is creating as it moves forward. If the Taliban can succeed there, not only will it be a sign of divine favor but a place where Allah rules. Once that is established, the global jihadists have a place from which to expand and continue the war against the infidel world.

Yemen has already shown the danger of allowing these groups to settle in and become a focal point for teaching and training of would-be “martyrs” from around the world. If the base exists, they will come. At its center, al Qaeda understood this from the beginning.

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And not only will they come, Barack Obama will send some of the ones currently in Guantanamo to join them.

Byron York:

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said the administration “absolutely” intends to keep sending Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen. The administration has sent seven detainees to the country, Brennan said, with six of those sent in December. “Several of those detainees were put into Yemeni custody right away,” Brennan said. He did not elaborate on how many is “several” or where the other Guantanamo inmates sent to Yemen might be today. But he said the U.S. has faith in Yemen to handle the situation.

29 Dec 2009

They Learned to Make Exploding Underwear in Art Therapy

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Said Ali al-Shihri aka Sa’id Ali Jabir Al Khathim Al Shihri aka Abu Sayyaf al-Shihr aka Saeed al Shehri aka Said Ali Shari

ABC News reveals that two of the principals behind the failed bombing of Flight 253 were former Guanatanamo detainees, released in the later period of the Bush Administration when that Administration began to buckle under intensive criticism of unlimited detention.

The more prominent released prisoner, Said Ali al-Shihri, was a Saudi al Qaeda travel facilitator, captured with wounds in the leg in Pakistan in the aftermath of the US invasion of Afghanistan, believed to have trained at a Libyan camp north of Kabul.

Since his release, he has been involved in the kidnap-murder of Christian missionary aid workers and the bombing of the US embassy in Yemen.

And a hearty hand of applause for all the counsel and amicus filers in Boumediene v. Bush who started the legal processes leading to the release of these unfortunate victims of American injustice.

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. …

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.

28 Dec 2009

Flight 253 Security Failure Will Lead to What?

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Full nudity and body cavity searches for every airline traveler, while Western security agencies continue to refuse to offend political correctness by profiling Muslims and Middle Easterners?

The Telegraph observes that al Qaeda has identified the last unsearched regions of the human anatomy as providing an expoitable opportunity to smuggle small quantities of high explosives on board airliners. They obviously are not going to stop trying.

The fact that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was able to trigger his home-made incendiary device on board a US airliner represents an intelligence and security failure of staggering proportions.

How can a Muslim student, whose name appears on a US law enforcement database, be granted a visa to travel to America, allegedly acquire an explosive device from Yemen, a country awash with al-Qaeda terrorists, and avoid detection from the world’s most sophisticated spy agencies?

Every intelligence agency across the world is fully aware that the targets of choice for al-Qaeda and its numerous affiliates and sympathisers are airliners – preferably those flying to the US. Yet Abdulmutallab seems to have avoided detection in both Nigeria and Holland when he passed through the various security checks at Lagos and Schiphol airports respectively.

Embarrassingly for the Washington, Lagos airport had recently been given the “all clear” by the US’s Transportation Security Administration, an agency established in the wake of the 9/11 attacks which was supposed to improve the security on American airliners. …

The simplicity of the latest plot – another al-Qaeda hallmark – could also lead to changes into the way passengers are body searched in the future.

Reports suggest that Abdulmutallab was able to carry the powdery substance undetected by concealing it on the inside of his upper thigh, close to his groin – an area likely to avoid detection even by the most conscientious of security officials. It would appear that he was allowed to take a syringe containing a liquid on board the aircraft by apparently taking advantage of airlines’ policy of allowing diabetics to inject themselves during flight. Changes of some sort to passenger travel would seem to be a certainty.

British Airways has already announced that hand baggage has been reduced to one item following the attack.

Whether Abdulmutallab was directed by al-Qaeda – as he initially claimed to US investigators but later denied – or whether his connections were more “aspirational” remains to be seen.

But what this incident demonstrates is that despite all the improvements in security since 9/11, determined terrorists can and will continue to mount terrorists attacks against western targets – and one day they will succeed.

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The (British) Sun (a somewhat sensationalist tabloid) is reporting having received an official leak indicating that the attempted bombing of Flight 253 is just the first of a series of planned attacks.

25 British-born Muslims are plotting to bomb Western airliners.

The fanatics, in five groups, are now training at secret terror camps in Yemen.

The British extremists in Yemen are in their early 20s and from Bradford, Luton and Leytonstone, East London.

They are due to return to the UK early in 2010 and will then await internet instructions from al-Qaeda on when to strike.

A Scotland Yard source said: “The great fear is Abdulmutallab is the first of many ready to attack planes and kill tens of thousands.

“We know there are four or five radicalised British Muslim cells in the Yemen.

“They are due back within months when they will be under constant surveillance.”

The 25 suspects, of Pakistani and Somali descent, were radicalised in UK mosques.

Some had been to university and studied engineering or computer sciences.

Others were former street gang members.

Monitored

Special Branch monitored them as they flew to Yemen, in the Middle East, from British airports in the spring and summer.

In almost every case, their tickets were paid for in cash and bought less than a week before travel.

The source added: “Imams would have promised them rewards in heaven for becoming suicide bombers prepared to kill Westerners.

22 Oct 2009

No More Catch and Release For Him

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the late Yousef Mohammed al Shihri

Thomas Joscelyn
reports that another released Guantanamo prisoner who rejoined al Qaeda was this time permanently detained by Saudi security forces.

On Oct. 13, a former Guantanamo detainee named Yousef Mohammed al Shihri was killed in a shootout at a checkpoint along the Saudi-Yemeni border. Al Shihri and his accomplices were stopped by Saudi security forces after their suspicious behavior drew attention.

Two of the travelers, including al Shihri, were reportedly dressed as women. Saudi security personnel decided to search the al Qaeda car and its passengers, but al Shihri and the others opened fire. Al Shihri and one other al Qaeda member were killed in the shootout, while a third was arrested. One Saudi security officer was also killed. …

Yousef Mohammed al Shihri was repatriated to Saudi Arabia in November 2007 along with thirteen other Saudi citizens. At least several of them have returned to al Qaeda’s ranks. One of those who rejoined al Qaeda is Said Ali al Shihri, who has become the deputy chief of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was reportedly involved in the September 2008 attack on the US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. According to memos prepared at Gitmo, Said Ali al Shihri is Yousef Mohammed al Shihri’s brother. However, according to a report by Caryle Murphy in the Christian Science Monitor, Saudi authorities have said the two al Qaeda terrorists were brothers-in-law.

Regardless, Yousef and Said were relatives. And their stories demonstrate the pitfalls of the US government’s transfer and release decisions. Prior to their transfers, US intelligence officials at Guantanamo had determined that Said was “a known al Qaeda operative.” Moreover, when they inquired about Yousef, they found that he was considered one of the more dangerous Saudis held at Guantanamo.

In a memo prepared at Guantanamo, US intelligence officials reported that:

    A foreign government service provided information on detainees held at Guantanamo Bay that they designated as being high priority targets, in order of precedence. [Yousef Mohammed al Shihri] is number four on the list.

The “foreign government service” is likely Saudi intelligence, as that organization would have the most information on Yousef and his fellow Saudi al Qaeda compatriots. Well more than 100 Saudis were detained at Guantanamo, so Yousef must have been considered especially dangerous to be listed as number four on the list.

In addition, US intelligence officials alleged that Yousef Mohammed al Shihri made his allegiances and animosity for America well-known long before being transferred to Saudi Arabia. Regarding Yousef Mohammed al Shihri, memos prepared at Guantanamo alleged:

The detainee stated he considers all Americans his enemy. The detainee decided that he hates all Americans because they attack his religion, Islam. Since Americans are the detainee’s enemy, he will continue to fight them until he dies.

    The detainee pointed to the sky and told the interviewing agents that he will have a meeting with them in the next life. …

    The detainee stated that the FBI, the United States and the interrogators are the enemy.

Despite all of this, Yousef and Said were transferred to Saudi custody. They both graduated from the Saudi jihadist rehabilitation program and then joined nine others in a planned escape from Saudi soil. They fled to Yemen, where they joined al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is currently one of the strongest al Qaeda branches. Said lives on to fight another day, while Yousef now gets to test his theory of the afterlife.

21 Feb 2009

More Catch and Release

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Mohamed Abdullah Al Harbi aka Abul Hareth Mohammed al-Awf

Another US-released Guantanamo detainee, Mohamed Abdullah Al Harbi aka Abul Hareth Mohammed al-Awfi, has been reported captured by the Yemeni government while working as a high level al-Qaeda operative.

The (Yemen) Interior Ministry says it sent back the Saudi national, Ahmed Owaidan al-Harbi, on Thursday, 20 days after his arrest in eastern Yemen. The ministry hasn’t released any details on al-Harbi’s case.

The extradition comes two days after Yemen returned another Saudi national who was once held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo and later became an al-Qaida operative in Yemen. Officials say that suspect, Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, surrendered himself

Evan Kolhmann’s NEFA report on The Eleven: Saudi Guantanamo Veterans Returning to the Fight provides a revealing profile.

However, contrary to his account before the ARB panel, the U.S. military learned from its own sources that al-Harbi had allegedly been “in Chechnya for approximately nine months in 1999… A source reported that the detainee underwent basic training and physical training in Chechnya.” … Aside from his purported tour of duty with the mujahideen in Chechnya, according to the U.S. military, al-Harbi was also recognized by a “senior al Qaida lieutenant” as “possibly being at his site, a guest house in Kabul,
in 1998 or 1999.”

In the late fall of 2001, Mohammed al-Harbi traveled on a religious pilgrimage to the Saudi city of Mecca for the holy month of Ramadan. It was “at this time he decided to travel to Pakistan and provide assistance to the Afghani refugees that were residing at camps on Pakistani soil.”…

Al-Harbi gathered together at least 14,000 Saudi Riyals and US$8,000 (a total of approximately $12,000) and on the eighth day of Ramadan (November 24, 2001), traveled from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Karachi, Pakistan. …

According to intelligence obtained by the U.S. military, Mohammed al-Harbi was a “member” of Al-Wafa al-Ighatha al-Islamiya, a thinly-veiled fraudulent charitable front for Al-Qaida terror financing. As cited previously, Al-Wafa “claimed to be a charitable organization, but it was common knowledge that al Wafa delivered weapons and supplies to Afghanistan fighters in Tora Bora… Al Wafa provided money of all currencies, including United States Dollars, to those fighters who needed it.” The Pentagon further alleged that al-Harbi had been identified as “one of approximately 400 Arabs who claimed to be members of a subset of al Wafa… [who] were actually Mujahedin fighters in Afghanistan.”…

Al-Harbi was … quick to deny the charges that he had “received hand grenade, machine gun, pistol, map reading and explosives training” at Al-Qaida’s Al-Farouq terrorist training camp; that he had served as a “fighter in Kandahar, Afghanistan”; and, that he had participated in the battle of Tora Bora in late November 2001, and had been seen fighting there. …[He] continued to stubbornly maintain his innocence. …

On November 9, 2007, al-Harbi was released from U.S. military detention in Guantanamo Bay and transferred to the custody of local security forces in Saudi Arabia.

Less than six months after returning to Saudi Arabia, Mohammed al-Harbi fled with a group of other Saudi Al-Qaida members to sanctuary in neighboring Yemen. It is not known when, how, or why al-Harbi was able to escape the custody of the Saudi government. On January 23, 2009, the Al-Fajr Media Center published new video footage of joint sermons delivered by a group of Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaida leaders in a recording titled, “From Here We Will Begin and in Al-Aqsa We Shall Meet.” One of the men featured in the video was former Gitmo detainee Mohammed al-Harbi, carrying the official title of “Field Commander of the Al-Qaida Organization in the Arabian Peninsula.” During his speech, al-Harbi threatened:

    “I say to America’s collaborators… the Saudis… the grenade of our brother Ali al-Mabadi, may Allah have mercy upon him, is in our hands, and by Allah, we shall fulfill his oath or die trying—unless you seek forgiveness from Allah for the war that you are waging against Islam and the Muslims. And we warn our imprisoned brothers to avoid the ‘attention and advice program’ which is administered by the ignorant oppressor Mohammed Bin Nayef and his criminal helpers like Dai Turki al-Atayan—who headed the delegation of psychological investigators sent to Cuba, and helped the Americans to conduct psychological examinations and to extract confessions from us using psychiatric methods employed in the prisons of Saudi Arabia against the mujahideen. [These methods are used] in order to persuade us to stray from Islam and our path using every tool and method through the plan of advice… Finally, we say to the Christian countries which are preparing for war in Saudi Arabia and which are supporting the Christian war against the Muslims: by Allah, we are surely coming for you! By Allah, we are surely coming for you! We are walking the path of our former brothers, like Shaykh Yousef al-Ayyiri, Shaykh Esa al-Awshin, Khaled al-Haj, Turki al-Dandani, Ali al-Mabadi, and other lions of Allah who have been slain in Saudi Arabia. And we say to the police and [internal] investigations [system] of the Saudis, and to those who guard the Jews and the Christians: repent to Allah for the deception and treachery that you are culpable for when you guard the entrances to their embassies, their secret temples, their population centers, and their military and intelligence bases. The one who gives fair warning cannot [afterwards] be blameworthy, O’ servants of the Dirham and the Dinar.”

It was the Bush Administration that released this particular lamb. Just imagine the caliber of the people the Obama Administration is going to be releasing.

23 Jan 2009

Even Bush Played Catch-and-Release

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New York Times notes that another satisfied client of Shearman & Sterling has returned to his normal life.

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 Arabia in 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.

“They’re one and the same guy,” said the official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing an intelligence analysis. …

Mr. Shihri, 35, trained in urban warfare tactics at a camp north of Kabul, Afghanistan, according to documents released by the Pentagon as part of his Guantánamo dossier. Two weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he traveled to Afghanistan via Bahrain and Pakistan, and he later told American investigators that his intention was to do relief work, the documents say. He was wounded in an airstrike and spent a month and a half recovering in a hospital in Pakistan.

The documents state that Mr. Shihri met with a group of “extremists” in Iran and helped them get into Afghanistan. They also say he was accused of trying to arrange the assassination of a writer, in accordance with a fatwa, or religious order, issued by an extremist cleric.

However, under a heading describing reasons for Mr. Shihri’s possible release from Guantánamo, the documents say he claimed that he traveled to Iran “to purchase carpets for his store” in Saudi Arabia. They also say that he denied knowledge of any terrorists or terrorist activities, and that he “related that if released, he would like to return to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, wherein he would reunite with his family.”

“The detainee stated he would attempt to work at his family’s furniture store if it is still in business,” the documents say.

This terrorist, let’s recall, was released by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, along with dozens of others who have rejoined the jihad. Obama has 245 he can release.

27 Oct 2007

Yemen Frees USS Cole Bomber

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Jamal al-Badawi, angry Muslim

BBC

In 2004, Yemen appeased the United States by sentencing the most senior conspirator in USS Cole bombing Jamal al-Badawi to death. His family appealed the sentence, which was promptly reduced to 15 years. In 2006, Badawi escaped from prison. He has now successfully negotiated a new deal. He turned himself in, and swore allegiance to Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, the current president, and received a further commutation of his sentence to house arrest.

The US has been offering a $5 million reward for Badawi’s capture.

It is shameful that Third World fly speck countries like Yemen feel free to harbor terrorists and murderers of Americans. In a more sensible era, a president like Theodore Roosevelt would have responded to an insult of this kind by sending a US battleship to bombard Yemen’s ports, or by landing a regiment of Marines. George W. Bush ought, at the very least, to bomb the safe house where the murderer is enjoying his retirement into oblivion.


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