by Ginny Hill
he executive order signed by President Barack Obama on 22 January 2009 commits the United States to shutting the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay within a year. It is a clear victory for civil-rights advocates – but one that throws into sharp relief the persistent dangers posed by weak and failing states, and the inadequacy of United States policy towards them.
In order to close the prison within (now) the next nine months, Obama must repatriate an estimated ninety-nine Yemenis – part of a total of 241 – who remain in the jail. At least eleven of these men were cleared for return to Yemen as long ago as 2005; one of the Yemenis, Ayman Saeed Batarfi (a doctor), was declared eligible for transfer to “an appropriate destination country” on 30 March 2009.