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article imageOp-Ed: Yemen demands action on release of Yemenis in Guantanamo

By Ken Hanly     Jun 3, 2013 in Politics
Sanaa - Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi claimed that his government was building a center to house Yemenis released back to Yemen from Guantanamo Bay.
In a speech last month, Obama said he was ending the ban on the transfer of Yemenis held at Guantanamo back to Yemen. Quirbi said that Obama's lifting of the ban "brings hopes to families of detainees in Guantanamo and to the detainees themselves who for 12 years have been in prison and have lost hope of getting out of Guantanamo". Quirbi added: "Obama now has to really put his words into actions. We will take (up) with the authorities in Washington how we can start the process based, of course, on the conditions that may be set by the Americans."
56 of the detainees already cleared for transfer or release are from Yemen. Obama halted repatriation of any detainees to Yemen in 2010 after a Nigerian trained by Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula in Yemen tried to blow up a plane through a bomb in his underwear on Xmas day 2009. Qirbi supported continuing drone strikes with the restrictions Obama promised even though he also said that the strikes were unpopular because of civilian casualties: "But they are at times a necessity… I think the conditions he has set will make sure these drone attacks are used in a proper manner."
Yemen has been demanding $20 million from the U.S. to help build the rehabilitation center for released Guantanamo inmates. Yemen wants the U.S. and Gulf States to fund the center. Although the government has approved the facility it is still seeking funding. President Hadi shared his views in a meeting with U.S. Senator John McCain.
While in Yemen, McCain suggested that the U.S. wants Yemen to send jihadists to Syria according to several newspaper reports. Now there is an idea. Perhaps, the Yemenis cleared for transfer in Guantanamo could be just given weapons and sent off to Syria.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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