Thomas Joscelyn reports that former Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim Suleiman al Rubaish has emerged as a leading ideologue and theologian for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – one of the strongest al Qaeda affiliates in the world. Rubaish was capture on the front lines at Tora Bora. We held him at Gitmo from late 2001 until December 2006. Then, the government transferred him to Saudi Arabia where he was placed in the Saudi “rehabilitation program” for jihadists. However, Rubaish escaped from Saudi Arabia and fled to Yemen.
Rubaish is now said to be the deputy of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which was formed when the al Qaeda branches in Yemen and Saudi Arabia merged. He has also risen to the rank of Mufti. According to Joscelyn, the Mufti fills a crucial role for al Qaeda because he provides the theological justifications for the organization’s terrorism against the Saudi government which has co-opted some of its leading religious critics and launched a strong theological challenge against al Qaeda.
Rubaish’s work has used been to justify assassination attempts against senior Saudi officials. He argues, correctly I’m afraid, that assassinations have been a commonly accepted tool of Islamic warfare since the days of the Prophet Mohammed.
Ironically, Rubaish apparently was released from Gitmo in part because he gave the following response to the question of whether he intended to wage war against the U.S. in the future:
Before I mentioned that the United States is a partner with Saudi Arabia, so how could I consider it an enemy of Islam if it’s a friend of Saudi Arabia?
Somehow, the question seems to have stumped us. It turns out that if your captors are stupid enough, you can talk them into letting you go without even lying.
UPDATE: To make matters even more surreal, Josecelyn notes that Rubaish was singled out for the quality of his poetry by Marc Falkoff, a lawyer for some of the Guantanamo detainees who published a book called Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak. Falkoff told NRP that Rabaish’s poem “Ode to the Sea,” a dialogue between the terrorist and the sea surrounding Gitmo, was the detainee scribbling that is “most moving to me and that I find most literary.”
Thanks to the U.S., Rabaish is now putting his literary skills to use in ideological battles with Muslims who do not advocate violent jihad.
Given their experiences with their idiot captors, if al Qaeda isn’t able to inflict serious damage on the United States, Rabaish and his fellow detainees may begin to wonder how great Allah actually is.