As al-Qaeda’s “Twentieth Hijacker” Leaves Guantanamo, It’s Time to Ask Tough Questions about the War on Terror

March 14 2022

Last week Mohammed al-Qahtani was released from the Guantanamo Bay naval base and sent back to his native Saudi Arabia, after prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against him. Qahtani is thought to have planned to join the team of terrorists that hijacked flight 93 on September 11, 2001; he was prevented from entering the U.S. by an astute immigration official. Examining the complexities of the legal case against Qahtani, Andrew C. McCarthy concludes that “the decision that he should not, and probably could not, be charged was not lightly made and was amply supported.” McCarthy then turns to broader questions about America’s war on al-Qaeda:

There are still over three dozen jihadists detained at Gitmo. They are still being held at this point only because there are well-founded concerns that they could return to anti-American terrorist activities if released. Half of them are nationals of countries, such as Yemen and Somalia, that are so unstable that it would be irrational to believe repatriated jihadists would be effectively monitored. At least seven remaining detainees will never be charged, and the way the highly erratic military commissions have gone, who knows how many of those who have been charged will ever actually be prosecuted to conclusion? And what happens to any jihadists who end up being acquitted—do we just let them go?

Qahtani’s repatriation returns tough questions to the fore: is the war over? If it is, what are we going to do about detainees who cannot be tried? And if it isn’t, when are we going to address outdated congressional authorizations of the use of military force so that the government’s power to wage war is tailored to the war as it currently exists? We need answers. It’s been over twenty years, and these questions are not going away.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at National Review

More about: Al Qaeda, American law, POWs, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy