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  1. Wealth
May 11, 2009

The problem with Yemen

By Spear's

Why should anyone care about the fly-blown failing state of Yemen, or what happens in its wretched capital, Sana’a?

Why should anyone care about the fly-blown failing state of Yemen, or what happens in its wretched capital, Sana’a? Curiously, President Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo Bay is largely dependent on this little corner of Arabia because 40% of the 241 remaining detainees are Yemenis, and their fate is largely in the hands of the authorities in Sana’a.

The Americans are keen to return the men to the Yemen, but there is considerable doubt about whether the government there has the ability or the will to handle them properly. Will they be kept in secure accommodation, and what efforts will be made to rehabilitate them?

Sana’a’s record on managing to keep their convicts in prison is lamentable, the last breach of security being a tunnel into the grounds of a local mosque. Nor have they achieved any success in developing a programme to de-radicalise the most dangerous zealots.

In these circumstances the Americans are reluctant to send the Yemenis home, and without a practical alternative site in which t accommodate them it may be that Guantanamo may have a longer future than President Obama anticipates.

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