Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ex-Gitmo Detainee and Rehab Dropout Killed In Saudi Arabia

A Saudi radical and al Qaeda operative whom we released from Gitmo in 2007 was killed last week in a firefight with Saudi security forces, the Christian Science Monitor reported today:

Two Yemen-based militants dressed as women, one of whom was a former Guantánamo prisoner, were intercepted at a Saudi checkpoint last week.

-- snip --

The two fighters discovered last week, Rayed Abdullahi al-Harbi and Yousef Mohammed al-Shihri, were both on a Saudi government most-wanted list issued in February. Al Shihri is a former Guantanamo detainee, and the brother-in-law of Saeed al-Shihri, the Yemen-based deputy commander of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who also was at Guantánamo, spokesman Turki said.

The Long War Journal provided some background on al Shahri:

One of the names on the Saudi most-wanted list that matches the list of Saudis repatriated from Guantánamo is Yousuf Mohammed Mubarak Al Jubairi Al Shahri. In the U.S. government's files, one of the repatriated detainee's names is given as Yussef Mohammed Mubarak al Shihri. Yussef allegedly traveled from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan using al Qaeda's Mashhad transit hub. Once in Afghanistan, he was allegedly trained at the notorious al Farouq camp and fought against the Northern Alliance. Yussef's brother is a "known al Qaeda operative."

If the Yussef Mohammed Mubarak al Shihri identified in the U.S. government's files is the same man who is now one of Saudi Arabia's most-wanted, it is no surprise that he returned to the fight. The U.S. government identified Yussef as a hardcore ideologue who "hates all Americans because they attack his religion." The U.S. government's unclassified files note: "Since Americans are his enemy, he will continue to fight them until he dies."

Yussef al Shihri was one of the "kids of Guantanamo" - teenage battlefield detainees who were held in a separate facility apart from the rest of the Gitmo Gang - and his case received quite a bit of sympathy from the usual quarters.

According to Saudi news accounts:

Al-Shiri was transferred from Guantánamo to Saudi Arabia in 2007. He was immediately put into the Ministry of Interior’s hugely successful rehabilitation program for arrested extremists.

Two years after entering the program, al Shihri had fled to Yemen where he reconnected with his al Qaeda associates, and last week he was sneaking back into the Kingdom bearing four suicide bomb vests when he was intercepted.

That "hugely successful rehabilitation program" still has some kinks to work out, obviously. Perhaps now the Obama administration will have seconds thought about trying to palm off our Yemeni detainees on the Kingdom.

1 comment:

Bishop Brennan said...

Brilliant post. Perhaps Amnesty would care to comment? Or maybe not...