The PJ Tatler

Guantanamo Liquidation: Six Yemeni al-Qaeda Shipped to Oman

The Defense Department announced just after midnight that a six-pack of Guantanamo detainees was transferred to Oman.

Idris Ahmad ‘Abd Al Qadir Idris , a Yemeni, used to be a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and an al-Qaeda recruiter. A 2008 review found him to be a high risk to the United States.

Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Mas’ud, also from Yemen, was captured fleeing Tora Bora. His 2008 review warned that without successful rehabilitation and reintegration “it is assessed detainee would seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities.” While in Gitmo he “preached Islamic extremism expressing a willingness to return to the fight,” and recited terrorist poetry to other inmates as well as leading “mass disturbances among the other detainees.”

Yemeni Jalal Salam Awad Awad was another bin Laden bodyguard who “expressed a threat to US forces at JTF-GTMO,” his 2008 review said.

Saa’d Nasser Moqbil Al Azani of Yemen trained at al-Qaeda’s Islamic Institute and was close to bin Laden’s religious adviser. He was captured in Pakistan with other al-Qaeda fighters and was deemed a high risk to the U.S. in his 2008 review.

Emad Abdallah Hassan of Yemen was also assessed to “likely reengage in extremist activities” without the means to integrate him into society as a law-abiding citizen. “Since transfer to JTF-GTMO, detainee has threatened to kill the guard staff,” the 2008 assessment said of the al-Qaeda recruiter who was picked to be one of bin Laden’s bodyguards.

Yemeni Muhammad Ali Salem Al Zarnuki served on bin Laden’s front lines in Kabul, recruited through the al-Qaeda network that moved fighters from Yemen to Afghanistan. He was also deemed a high risk in his assessment.

The Pentagon said “these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force” after review as directed in a 2009 executive order from President Obama. “In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States’ intent to transfer these individuals and of his determination that this transfer meets the statutory standard.”

“The United States is grateful to the Government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Oman to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.”

That leaves 116 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay. It’s the first transfer in several months, and in that time period the administration has come under renewed fire from Congress for potentially breaking the law with the transfer of a six-pack of detainees to Uruguay in December.