Almost exactly two years ago, on December 7, 2014, the Defense Department announced that it had transferred six Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay, after then-president José Mujica agreed to take them for humanitarian reasons.
Thomas Joscelyn described the group:
The four Syrians transferred — Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Husein Shaaban, Abd al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj, and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab — were all allegedly members of the so-called “Syrian Group.” The JTF-GTMO files describe the “Syrian Group” as “comprised of dismantled terrorist cells that escaped Syrian authorities and fled to Afghanistan (AF) in 2000.”
For the past two years I’ve been following the story of the Gitmo alumni in Uruguay. They have refused to learn the language or to take job offers, and have been reported to the authorities for domestic violence after being reunited with their families.
Yes, Uruguay also brought in some 42-45 members of five families of the detainees.
The family of Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab , however, refuses to travel to Uruguay and insists on staying in Turkey. Turkey doesn’t want to take Jihad.
Joscelyn describes Jihad’s background,
as a “document forger who provided services to the network operated by” Abu Zubaydah, “supporting European, North African, and Levant extremists” by “facilitating their international travels.”as a “document forger who provided services to the network operated by” Abu Zubaydah, “supporting European, North African, and Levant extremists” by “facilitating their international travels.”
And travel he has.
Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, a.k.a. Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a.k.a. Jihad Ahmad Diyab, a.k.a. Abu Wael Dihab, a.k.a. Jihad Diyab, after being relocated to Uruguay visited Argentina last February, and declared himself “ready to fight“, just the thing to say when you want to make yourself welcome to a foreign country and your first name is Jihad.
After that, Diyab tried to enter Brazil three times but was turned away at the border. Authorities lost track of him, much to the alarm of the Brazilian authorities, who were preparing for the Summer Olympics. After a manhunt in six countries, he turned up in Venezuela, 4,600 miles away from Montevideo (a little under the distance from New York to Moscow), where he tried to petition the Uruguayan consulate – which he could do in Montevideo – to “ask for assistance to fly to Turkey or some other country to be reunited with his family.”
As the Wall Street Journal pointed out (emphasis added),
Mr. Dhiab’s travel plans may raise additional concern, given Turkey’s porous border with Syria and its use as an entry point for volunteers looking to join Islamic State.
The Venezuelans put him on a plane and he was returned to Uruguay where he went on hunger strike.
Last week the Uruguayans tried to send him to South Africa. South Africa turned him away at the airport. He’s back in Uruguay.
The Obama administration announced two days ago that it Intends to Transfer 17 or 18 Guantánamo Detainees to Italy, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Good luck with that.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.