August 8, 2013
The recent security threat emanating from Yemen has complicated President Obama’s latest push to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reviving doubts among conservative lawmakers about whether it is safe to return Yemeni detainees to their turbulent home country.
More than half of the 166 prisoners being held in Guantanamo are from Yemen, and the transfer of many of them is essential to Obama’s long-promised goal of closing the detention center.
But the recent threat involving al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the terrorist group’s Yemen-based branch is known, underlines the national security and political obstacles ahead. The United States and other countries this week shut down their embassies in Yemen, citing concerns about security.
“Since it’s now well-known that Yemen-based al-Qaeda is actively plotting against us, I don’t see how the president can honestly say any detainee should be transferred to Yemen,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement. “Sending them to countries where al-Qaeda and its affiliates operate and continue to attack our interests is not a solution.”
This article was posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 10:37 am