Friday, February 6, 2009

Said Ali al-Shihri: Gitmo Grad Makes Good, or Bad

Depending on where you read the name, it's Susan El-Baneh or Susan Elbaneh. Either way, she's dead, and has been since September of last year.

She'd lived in New York, but went to Yemen to be married. She and her husband were going through the paperwork necessary for the two of them to go back to America. She planned to finish high school, and become a nurse.

She was at the U.S. Embassy in Sana, Yemen, when terrorists bombed the place. As I said, she's dead. So is her husband, and 14 other people.

And, yes: "Susan Elbaneh was related to Yemeni-American Jaber A. Elbaneh, who is on the FBI's 'Most Wanted Terrorists' list for allegedly being the seventh member of the Lackawanna Six, a group of men convicted for providing material support to Al Qaeda...." Her brother, Ahmed Elbaneh, had a few words about the connection. " 'That has nothing to do with my sister,' he said. 'I haven't seen my cousin in 15 years.' " Until there's evidence of a link other than sharing ancestors, I'm inclined to believe him.

The punch line to Susan El-Baneh's death is that Said Ali al-Shihri seems to be involved. "Said Ali al-Shihri" may not be a very familiar name, but American Counterterrorism officials confirmed that Said Ali al-Shihri is the deputy leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen. And, he's a suspect in the September, 2008, attack.

He was released from Guantanamo in 2007. Now, he's back at work, helping Al Qaeda kill people.

In retrospect, releasing him may not have been a very good idea.

On the other hand, somebody who's written a book says that Said Ali al-Shihri hadn't been in Yemen early enough to have been involved in the bombing. He could be right.

Either way, America is in the process of closing Gitmo, and sending the prisoners elsewhere. Some of them will probably want to go home. Under the circumstances, that might not be a good idea.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.