WASHINGTON — A few weeks ago, Yemen gave their approval for President Obama’s proposal to close Guantanamo Bay, which has been used as a detention facility for Islamist militants arrested during operations across the globe. Reuters said that the Yemeni government gave a “qualified welcome” to the news.
Obama’s old campaign promise was renewed two weeks ago, but he has not taken much action at all on the issue since arriving in the Oval Office in 2008. Some ask whether this is politically viable, given the amount of scandals that is embroiling the Obama White House and whether he has enough political capital to do so.
Yemen’s foreign minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said that his government is building a “rehabilitation center” to house Yemenis that have been detained for about ten years and eventually let them leave after being rehabilitated from extremist Islamist beliefs.
Obama’s promises have rung hollow in the past, but the question is whether he will live up to these promises in his second term. Obama has not been criticized about his role in authorizing drone strikes on Yemeni al-Qaeda-linked militants by the American liberal media, yet it is a sticky issue with the Yemenis.
A telling statistics is that out of the 86 detainees cleared for transfer or release from Guantanamo, 56 are from Yemen.