The Meedan Blog Archive

'He shut down Guantanamo and no one paid attention' - Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed translated into English

Read the Arabic original in Asharq Alawsat here.  Translated by Asma.

Barack Obama probably thought that after he signed the decision of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, he will be welcomed with demonstrations praising his brave initiative, and commending his message to the world, and Arabs in particular. As closing a prison whose prisoners are all Muslim, seems to be a message that Obama’s rule starts with a positive step toward Muslims, as he made the closure of the prison one of the first decisions of his first day in duty as a President of the United States. His initiative was received with much coldness and indifference in the Arab world.

Guantanamo has become history, but upcoming cases are the future of the world, and are also more serious than just a bunch of prisoners in a remote island. The United States is amid a conflict that will not stop only because a President is gone and replaced by another. The Middle East is a strategic region that the United States can not withdraw from, no matter what promises Obama makes to his citizens. Barack Obama started this week to savour the details of the Iraqi rule, in which Americans contribute from behind the scenes. And there goes the Iraqi security adviser announcing publicly a security system in collaboration with Iran, amid the surprise of all. A security agreement at the expense of whom? And how? “Al Qaeda” is based in Iran, and is still present in Iraq. So how can the Iraqi regime get rid of the Iranian opposition that had frozen its activities for five years without promising to Tehran to get rid of the active “Al Qaeda” and Shiite extremist groups that target Iraqi people. Won’t Obama react on handing over Iraq to Iranians like this without any consideration for the interests of Iraq itself, nor the security of the region?

The White House party will not last long before Obama will have to deal with the more serious dispute on Iran’s activities regarding the enrichment of uranium and building its nuclear weapons. Will he accept that? It is a very unlikely thing to happen! So if he doesn’t agree, how will he stop it? Peacefully or by war?

The closure of a prison took an hour of Obama’s time, and can not be compared to facing the biggest problem between Israel and Arabs. At least Obama assured the region that it is his priority, despite the seriousness of the American financial crisis, and he hurried to assign a Presidential envoy to the region. However, the upcoming diplomatic attention will not resolve the political conflict that is taking place in Gaza.

What about Darfur trials? Is the new American President ready to go all the way to sue the Sudanese President accused of war crimes, even if that costs the burning of the capital Khartoum? It is not surprising that President Omar Al-Beshir will use civilians as human shields, and threaten to burn Khartoum to not hand himself. Just like Hamas, Hezbollah and Saddam scarified unarmed civilians before.

The decision to close the Guantanamo prison was a good step by the new President, because the prison was originally a circumvention of rules, and one of the most abusing things for the reputation of the United States in recent history, as the Guantanamo prison was a complement to the Abu Ghraib prison. But Guantanamo is an easy issue, although it has a significant political and historical symbolism.

After closing the prison and starting to deport prisoners, how will Obama deal with serious cases, while there are wild free forces in the region awaiting his first steps to pounce on him?

Tarek Ismail, «United States of America», 27/01/2009

Yes, Guantanamo was a circumvention of rules! But why? Because the system was not designed to deal with events such as September 11! For example, what would Obama do if U.S. forces arrest Bin Laden or Al-Zawahiri in Pakistan or Afghanistan? The mistake of the Bush administration was not the use of Guantanamo, but it was its inability to amend the rules to deal with this problem and get rid of the Guantanamo Bay prison after a few years. Perhaps Obama’s administration will succeed in that!

Baqer Ibrahim, «Norway», 27/01/2009

Yes, he shut down Guantanamo, and no positive reaction was emitted, as that was considered a political decision based on a former political opposition. The most surprising thing is that some of the released terrorists from Guantanamo returned to their old religion, and there they go creating new bases in some Arab countries. That’s what we have seen clearly with the emergence of one of them as a leader of an organization in Yemen, in the new video tape broadcasted by most channels. The serious question is: Do those released terrorists from Guantanamo return home passing smoothly through Arab security services?  Just like that… without any scrutiny, trailing or questioning, as if they were just in a school trip; while everyone knows that Arab security services do not miss any single detail, especially regarding such issues!

Dr. Emad Al-Mansouri, Pediatrics adviser, «Canada», 27/01/2009

When the Zionists killed Egyptian war prisoners, and occupied Sinai, there was no Hamas and no Hezbollah.

Zahid Al-Omary,, «France», 27/01/2009

Hamas resisted and won, just like Hezbollah before it did, as the Israelis themselves admit… Saddam was a unique man, and time has been proven that, as he had warned people from the Persians and their menace for Iraq… Saddam had said that Iraq will triumph, and it did. He had said that occupation soldiers would commit suicide on the walls of Baghdad, and there they go committing suicide over five years on the walls of Baghdad. The decision of withdrawal from Iraq is not a coincidence, but it’s because of the resistance created by Saddam, and the occupiers will leave Iraq sordid and humiliated…

Khaled Al-Ghamdi, « Kingdom of Saudi Arabia», 27/01/2009

Does the U.S.A have the right to jail anyone just because they disagree with its policies? Does the U.S.A apply the same scale it is using in Darfur in other areas such as Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo? Don’t all these acts require investigation and trial?