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Cracker Squire

THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

After Guantanamo, Freed Detainees Returned to Violence in Syria Battlefields - Release of Five Senior Taliban Figures from the U.S. Detention Center Renews Debate

From The Wall Street Journal (this story was the day before the previous post about the recent five releases):

A decade ago, the U.S. released three hardened Moroccan militants from Guantanamo and turned them over to the Moroccan government on the assumption they wouldn't return to the battlefield.

They wound up leading one of the most violent Islamist groups fighting in Syria's civil war.
 
Their story serves as a cautionary tale days after President Barack Obama released five high-level Taliban figures from the same detention center in a swap for an American soldier held in Afghanistan for nearly five years.
 
By January 2014, about 29% of 614 detainees released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba had returned to violence, according to the Director of National Intelligence.
 
Like the three Moroccans, the five Afghans went free with a friendly government's consent to monitor them. As part of the deal that released U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Qatari government agreed to keep the five ex-detainees in the Gulf emirate for at least a year to prevent them from returning to violence.
 
The Moroccans, who once trained at the same Afghan camp where the Sept. 11 hijackers trained, set up their radical militant group in Syria in August 2013. Like other al Qaeda sympathizers, they saw their battle as a jihad, or holy war, to replace the Syrian state with an Islamic emirate ruled by their strict interpretation of religious law.
 
Their group, Harakat Sham al Islam, was at the forefront of the first significant massacre of religious minorities in August 2013 in Latakia province, which Human Rights Watch deemed a "crime against humanity."
 
Along with other al Qaeda-linked groups, Harakat Sham helped turn what began in 2011 as a largely secular and peaceful uprising against autocratic President Bashar al-Assad into a sectarian war.

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