I must applaud the Obama administration for coming to its senses over the release of the five senior Taliban leaders currently in Qatar. I can just imagine the frantic gesticulations over not allowing these barbaric terrorists to return to Afghanistan. It would have been one heck of an optic that couldn’t be explained away, even by the most loyal liberal progressive pundit on MSNBC.
Then again, I must ask a very pointed question: if they pose no threat — which is why we were told they were unilaterally released from GITMO — then why did President Obama and his administration scramble to extend their “travel ban?”
However, stay tuned folks, because that’s not even the real nagging question.
As reported by Fox News, “Qatar has agreed to temporarily extend travel bans on five senior Taliban leaders released last year from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl [ a deserter], a State Department official confirmed to Fox News Sunday. The official said the ban would remain in place until diplomatic talks for a longer-term solution are completed.”
“The restrictions had been due to expire on Monday under a May 2014 exchange for Bergdahl. U.S. officials said Friday the Obama administration was closing in on an agreement with Qatar to extend the restrictions for six months that could be announced this weekend. It was not immediately clear why that agreement had not been finalized. The U.S. remains in “close contact” with Qatari authorities “to make sure these individuals do not pose a threat to the United States.”
“As a result of the talks to date, Qatar “has agreed to maintain the current restrictive conditions on these individuals as we continue these discussions,” the official said. The official said the former detainees are all currently in Qatar and remain subject to the travel ban and extensive monitoring. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly speak to the matter.”
The best “long-term solution” for these five Taliban leaders is for them to return to GITMO and for this charade to end. There’s only one way to ensure they do not pose a threat to the United States and that’s send them back to GITMO. We have a military base right there in Qatar at Al Uideid AB. Why not have U.S. Special Operations Forces go in at night, in coordination with the Qataris, secure these five and whisk them off on a nice C-17 ride back to the beautiful island paradise of Cuba.
What sense does it make that some of these cheeky fellas have been in contact with their jihadist cohorts in Afghanistan – shouldn’t that be considered a “violation of their parole” agreement? And although President Obama stated last week at the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery that we’re not engaged in ground combat — tell that to our men and women still in Afghanistan, which is where these rascals seek to return. So six months, one year, it matters little, we are still releasing the enemy’s senior leadership back while the enemy still occupies the battlefield.
And again, these are not EPOWs (Enemy Prisoners of War), they are unlawful enemy combatants who are not deserving of POW status because they are non-state, non-uniform belligerents. GITMO has nothing to do with being a recruiting tool for this enemy. If that were the case, then I suppose GITMO was the reason for the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing or the heinous murder of Leon Klinghoffer.
Now, ask yourself, what price do you think the Qataris exacted from the Obama administration for this travel ban to be extended? Let us not forget that the leader of Hamas calls Doha, Qatar his home. Something tells me it had nothing to do with frequent flyer miles exchange between Qatar Airways and Air Force One. Those of us who’ve served in the Middle East know full well that nothing comes without a high price — these guys are all about the bartering. So what did Obama promise Qatar?
May I share some worst-case scenarios?
Could it be the Qataris don’t want Obama to intervene or engage in thwarting the advance of ISIS? Can it be that Obama will take a harder stance against Iran in order to placate Qatar? Is it possible Qatar secured Obama’s word in not supporting Israel, if Hamas once again begins its antics?
I’m amazed watching all the coverage on this story that no one asked the question: what did the Qataris get out of this? Because they know full well that they pulled President Obama’s proverbial arse out of the frying pan. The story of those Taliban leaders flying out of Qatar and into Afghanistan would have dominated the news cycle this week.
The story actually still should, because it’s not over — but this administration is shrewd enough to know they just bought themselves time. Six months from now is Christmas — does anyone think the American people will be attentive to the secret release that will come at that time? Remember, we awoke to find out they’d been released from GITMO in the first place.
This is why the travel ban should not be delayed but these men should be returned back to GITMO. As Fox News writes, “A government official familiar with the trade told Fox News earlier this year that at least three of the five Taliban leaders have tried to make contact with their old terror networks. One or more of the detainees met with some members of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani militant group in Qatar earlier in the year, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Four of the five former detainees remain on the United Nations’ blacklist, which freezes their assets and has them under a separate travel ban. But the U.N. itself has acknowledged that its travel ban has been violated — just like Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of our Constitution has been violated.”
There is nothing to be celebrated about a “delay” in this travel ban. These men pose a danger and I don’t give a doggone about world opinion — President Obama seems to believe we are held in higher regard now. That is so far from the truth, it is sadly delusional. We have no regard, no respect, and we are entering into deals with devils — and THAT folks ain’t good.