Ex-Guantanamo detainee now an al Qaeda leader in Yemen

15-12-08 Ibrahim Qosi

Ibrahim al Qosi, an ex-Guantanamo detainee, now serves as a leader and spokesman for al Qaeda in Yemen.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a new video featuring a former Guantanamo detainee, Ibrahim Qosi, who is also known as Sheikh Khubayb al Sudani.

In July 2010, Qosi plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and material support for terrorism before a military commission. His plea was part of a deal in which he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors during his remaining time in US custody. Qosi was transferred to his home country of Sudan two years later, in July 2012.

Qosi joined AQAP in 2014 and became one of its leaders. Qosi and other AQAP commanders discussed their time waging jihad at length in the video, entitled “Guardians of Sharia.”

Islamic scholars ensure the “correctness” of the “jihadist project,” according to Qosi. And the war against America continues through “individual jihad,” which al Qaeda encourages from abroad. Here, Qosi referred to al Qaeda’s policy of encouraging attacks by individual adherents and smaller terror cells. Indeed, AQAP’s video celebrates jihadists who have acted in accordance with this call, such as the Kouachi brothers, who struck Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris earlier this year. The Kouachi brothers’ operation was sponsored by AQAP.

The al Qaeda veterans shown in the video emphasized the importance of following the advice of recognized jihadist ideologues. Although AQAP’s men do not mention the Islamic State by name, they clearly have Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s group in mind. Al Qaeda has criticized the Islamic State for failing to follow the teachings of widely respected jihadist authorities, most of whom reject the legitimacy of Baghdadi’s self-declared “caliphate.”

Qosi’s appearance marks the first time he has starred in jihadist propaganda since he left Guantanamo. His personal relationship with Osama bin Laden and time in American detention make him an especially high-profile spokesman.

A leaked Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) threat assessment and other declassified files documented Qosi’s extensive al Qaeda dossier. In the threat assessment, dated Nov. 15, 2007, US intelligence analysts described Qosi as a “high” risk to the US and its allies.

“Detainee is an admitted veteran jihadist with combat experience beginning in 1990 and it is assessed he would engage in hostilities against US forces, if released,” JTF-GTMO found.

In 1990, Qosi met two al Qaeda members who recruited him for jihad in Afghanistan.

Qosi was then trained at al Qaeda’s al Farouq camp, which was the terror group’s primary training facility in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. In 1991, Osama bin Laden relocated to Sudan and Qosi followed. He worked as an accountant and treasurer for bin Laden’s front companies, a role he would continue to fill after al Qaeda moved back to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the mid-1990s.

JTF-GTMO found that after an attempt on bin Laden’s life in 1994, Qosi was chosen to be a member of the al Qaeda founder’s elite security detail. He was also picked to perform sensitive missions around that time.

For example, Qosi served as a courier and may have delivered funds to the terrorist cell responsible for the June 25, 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Qosi relocated to Chechnya that same year, before returning to bin Laden’s side in Afghanistan some time in 1996 or 1997.

“From 1998 to 2001,” JTF-GTMO’s analysts wrote, Qosi “traveled back and forth between the front lines near Kabul and Kandahar to help with the fight against the Northern Alliance.”

In Dec. 2001, the Pakistanis captured Qosi as he fled the Battle of Tora Bora. He was detained as part of a group dubbed the “Dirty 30” by US intelligence officials. The “Dirty 30” included other members of bin Laden’s bodyguard unit, as well as Mohammed al Qahtani, the would-be 20th hijacker. Qahtani, who was slated to take part in the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackings, had been denied entry into the US just months before.

While detained at Guantanamo in 2003, Qosi was asked why he stayed true to bin Laden for so many years. According to JTF-GTMO, Qosi explained it was his “religious duty to defend Islam and fulfill the obligation of jihad and that the war between America and al Qaeda is a war between Islam and aggression of the infidels.”

Qosi made it clear in AQAP’s new production that he hasn’t changed his opinion in the twelve years since.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • MCW says:

    Thank you president obama.

  • johnny says:

    Who knew?

  • Steve says:

    Hey Congress, did you read this article? Hello?

  • Ava says:

    You could afford to do this/just fax their offices or something
    Those that are borderline rational might be able to become rational if they had access to information I do not believe that they make the time to follow your journal and other reputable sources I believe that simple people out there like myself are more informed
    Its an idea/but we need to do new things immediately/use all new ideas/
    I have suggested that BREITBART put out a circular newsletter like AM and METRO in ny so that people on the street have the opportunity to pick it up out of a bin, or have it handed to them. Most people do not have access to real news and will NOT get on the internet and FIND the best sources as yours truly has done
    Please talk up this idea to BREITBART people. We need to DO SOMETHING different. listening to J. Batchelor now/great show but…i ask ….how many people even know he exists (I mean substantial numbers of the hoi poloi) answer: maybe 2 percent
    Please pass my ideas around and use them. The new media has to team up with people like you to GET THE MESSAGE OUT/barring helicopter drops of pamphlets, my ideas are quite do-able…………………………………

  • DocMac99 says:

    In a few months he’ll be on the refugee application list. All he has to do is change his name a bit and give a fake address; they don’t seem to notice little things like that.

  • mikey says:

    Thanks Barry.

  • Goaway Obamadewsh says:

    Wasn’t that the plan all along, repatriate the leadership with the soldiers?

  • Steve says:

    Very logical to assume Qosi probably helped facilitate the Hamburg 9/11 cell training when they came to Afghanistan in the fall of 1999?

  • caj says:

    Maybe we chipped him so a drone strike might be in order.

  • BarackMugabe says:

    Gee, whoda thunk it?

  • Ray Helberg says:

    The president knew they would go back to fight.

  • jack says:

    I believe that the president is neive!

  • Herbie Crossley says:

    And this surprises who?

  • Mark says:

    I’m confident he got his dental and medical squared away thanks to the American tax payer before going back to war.

  • William Hillery says:

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even
 the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. 
An enemy at the gates is less formidable,
 for he is known and carries 
his banner openly.”

- – Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106-43 BC

  • Shootit says:

    Really? Can’t believe it.

  • Tommhan says:

    Enemies of the state should never be released while a war is still being waged.

  • Man in PA says:

    Thanks, Obama!

  • Dave In Arizona says:

    Gee, who would have ever guested that would happen?

  • GunnyG says:

    Thank you Obama for freeing this maggot.

  • ripsi says:

    well i’ll be…..who would’ve thought!!?

  • Steve Hogan says:

    It’s nice to see that someone can make a success of themselves after being in prison (sarcasm STRONGLY intended).

  • Warren andrulat says:

    Is it possible for someone to share this information – specifically- released detainees position/ influence in jihad activity to the common news stations ? ;))

  • Jody Wheeler says:

    Thats one of the guys we turned loose isnt it? Thats crazy, see how someone in our own government can contribute to terrorism? I don’t understand it at all!

  • biggig says:

    its obvious that our government is supplying these terrorists.

  • Chris Mireya says:

    Thanks Obama! Thanks for yet another failed policy decision!

  • I appreciate what you are doing to inform people about the threats posed by Islamist Jihadists like Qosi to Western Civilization.

  • AZWarrior says:

    The innocent blood this Islamic terrorist draws is on President Obama’s hands. He should be held accountable for every drop.

  • NoMasIlegales says:

    Thanks Barack. I feel much safer knowing your policies are working.

  • Zeno2654 says:

    You are seeing a fact of life, these folks are dedicated and will not change their goal just like Stalin. Death can only end it.

  • texas58 says:

    Obama told us that elections have consequences. Indeed, if you elect a far left and incompetent candidate like Obama president your country will suffer the consequences of such a foolish decision.

  • Walt Kisner says:

    I wonder if he has sent our President a Thank You note.

  • Ricardoh says:

    No prisoner of war should be freed until the war is over. Rule #1 in common sense. Something our present world leader lacks.

  • Capt Phil says:

    The Us should have terminated the lot because their country of origin won’t take them back nor will any other country. These are the hard core of the hard core without any hope of changing their twisted ideology. Put ’em down like rabid dogs, .i say

  • Denver says:

    “Ex-Guantanamo detainee now an al Qaeda leader in Yemen”


  • TimberLake15 says:

    Another Obama fail.

  • djw663 says:

    But Obama made him promise he wouldn’t return to terrorism.

  • Voice Of Reason says:

    This is why Guantanamo Bay should never close and all of the detainees should be held for life. It is self defense to kill these people before they kill us. Since we in the west have no desire for killing we release them back so they can kill us again.

  • Stephen says:

    Whoomp! (There it is). Another swell bit of containment, courtesy of the Choom Gang. Give it away, give it away, give it away now.

  • Don Ziggy says:

    I guess the painting classes were not enough to turn this creep from the dark side!

  • John says:

    Well said
    Mark Twain noted that.one could not underestimate the intelligence of the American public.

  • Charles Kimberl says:

    Can you say drone?

  • Arik says:

    George Bush was too easy on these mongrels. He should have created a US prison on foreign soil to detain these animals. If only he had set up an international terrorist, intelligence apparatus to detect and detain these people.

  • WTF says:

    The worst of the worst is at Guantanamo!!! Did anyone honestly expect this guy to just go home and start selling ice cream.. Wake up people!!! Listen,,,, I’m not saying water boarding is the best way… But if it works it works!!!! These people at Guantanamo are nothing more than wild animals in human form!!! They were put there because they were caught doing something really bad…. Let them rot till they die as farm as I’m concerned… Because releasing them will only cause more harm on society!!!

  • Nick says:

    Never saw that one coming. Who in DC can spell recidivism?

  • Barry bin Inhalin says:

    Gee, who could have seen this coming?

  • MkS says:

    Hey, listen. This guy went through America’s effective penal rehab process. We aren’t responsible for what he does after he is let go. (Are we?)

  • I am a 9 year vetran, 87-96 I did not have boots on ground(remf I guess…) I served in support of in country. I was not trained to allow such a thing to happen. He should have never been released, they would never release us, it’s a sign of weakness in their culture. War is war, it’s sad however war has no rules it is survival, animalistic instinctual battle. It’s sad this is happening at all. But it is. So it must be delta with harshly and swiftly.

  • David Hedricks says:

    What? So releasing a known terrorist was a bad idea?!

  • pompey says:

    This was Obama’s plan all along…….

  • Lori says:

    I’m shocked!!!

  • VillageViking says:

    Thanks obama and hillary…

  • Dave-0 says:

    Just another Obama administration “victory” in the fight against workplace violence.

  • Edwin Buck says:

    Well duh? That was as predictable as night follows day. When I was in the field, a very smart colonel once told me; “THE ENEMY YOU RELEASE SWILL BE THE ENEMY THAT WILL KILL YOU”. Never forgot that saying. That’s why, in a war, YOU KILL YOUR ENEMIES.

  • JustGreat says:

    “Mr. Obama described the (Muslim) call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” — NYT, 2007

  • Gary Lockhart says:

    Another shining example of Barry Soetoro’s plan to fundamentally change America, aka a failure.

  • Frank Frantz says:

    Come on Trump!!

  • Ruckweiler says:

    Of course, there’s nothing to concern ourselves, right?

  • BH says:

    I’m sure Obama will chalk this up as another win.

  • Ben Jones says:

    Is anyone surprised? The Obama Regime is to blame for these thugs being released. Obama is ruining this country and nobody is saying anything for fear of being called racist or a bigot.
    The kids in the White House must be removed in the next election. VOTE THIS TIME!

  • RNGH says:

    It was treason to release group they released. It will cost more USA lives.

  • ata777 says:

    You know the only thing worse than having to deal with these Islamist scumbags once? Having to deal with them twice–because of political correctness.

  • Blue Msn says:

    President Obama has betrayed us.

  • RNGH says:

    It was treason to release this group. More US troops and other innocent people will pay the price.

  • bill1942 says:

    How on Earth could he have gotten from Gitmo to Yemen, since Gitmo is supposed to be our “maximum security” prison for enemies of America?
    Could it possibly be that he was released on the orders of someone VERY high up in our government that we don’t trust as far as we can throw Chris Christie? Hmmmmm!

  • gungadin says:

    Since Qosi was and still is a Ben Laden supporter and I have to assume he was a combatant on some level against our armed forces and his efforts probably lead to American deaths, why has Obama not been prosecuted for TREASON for violating his oath of office? Isn’t part of his oath to “Protect and Defend” the Constitution of the United States and as an extention of that, providing for the safety of its citizens?

  • PETER913 says:

    Nice going Obama!

  • Jimmie says:

    That’s one of The Obamas boys…killing all the Americans he can find

  • Jimmie says:

    watch yourselves…you might be arrested for reporting this

  • Duh huh says:

    Never saw this coming! (sarcasm for you progs)

  • Senor C O Jones says:

    هانكو لدينا

    Thank you, Baraca

  • The Libertine says:

    Bet Obama’s clutching his pearls in shock at this development.

  • johnny99 says:

    Nice job Obama! You should be charged as an accessory to every murder this jihadist commits.

  • MidWestMike says:

    Another “successful” strategy by the Benghazi Liar.

  • Jack in Ga says:

    How can this be? Obama told us Al Qaida was defeated. I guess he didn’t know about the Arabian Peninsula? He didn’t know about the San Bernadino terrorists just hours after saying ISIS was contained.

    Hmmm. There seems to be a lot that Obama doesn’t know or care about.

  • Lee says:

    obama built that.

  • Zohar Khan says:

    The Americans – their government, anyway – are idiots to have released this viper. He should be with his mentor, sleeping with the fishes.

  • One supposes Qosi didn’t Gitmo’s three square meals Cozy enough.

  • G,0,Boyd says:

    Just another major screw up by Obama

  • Rick Richards says:

    “Change You Can Believe In”

  • Momsie says:

    …but we were nice to him.

  • jake says:

    Isn’t it obvious by now who’s side is our “fearless leader” on?

  • Paul says:

    Excellent report. Truth is rare indeed.

    0bama has worked diligently and steadfastly for victory. At every decision he has chosen what is correct for his ultimate success.

    Unfortunately for us, he desires triumph for the caliphate.

  • Compte de Vallone says:

    Yet they still released him! The Americans have idiots running their country!

  • Huskerbob says:

    Thanks a lot Obama!

  • Man Sandwich says:

    Another “job well done” by this resident, excuse me i have to get this throw up out my mouth.

  • Sharia Hackman says:

    Didn’t see that coming…

  • Rob Finn says:

    Obama should be impeached or even arrested for aiding and abetting a foreign Islamic terrorist sworn to murder innocent Americans.

  • gregd says:

    Good job Obama.

  • Frank Tauss says:

    Great job Mr President,

  • Dan Sheehy says:

    Thanks Obama!

  • Jeanne says:

    Another horrendous decision made by President Obama. We just kept the released prisoners alive and healthy until they could go back to fight, advise, train others, etc.
    God Help America !

  • Jose Castilla III says:

    The big difference between a jihadi in GTMO and one who’s rejoined the fight after release is a drone strike.

  • Zombee says:

    This is the fault of Barack Hussein Obama . Barack is responsible for the ISIS terrorists gaining power and control. Barack’s withdrawal left a giant vacuum that Saddam’s former Republican Guard and ISIS has filled . Christian Genocide is being committed in Iraq and their blood is on Barack’s hands. He hasn’t lifted a hand to help evacuate them, he has left them to the Islamic jackals to persecute. I am ashamed of my president.

  • Diabolicus Rex says:

    Amusing, the number of secular (or otherwise religious) observers weighing in on what’s ‘true’ Islam, and what’s “sick and twisted”.

    The most sensible thing the next president could do would be to disengage from the Middle East, as we should have done after U.S.S.R. evaporated, taking with it the threat of hegemony which justified our meddling over there in the first place. Better late than never, and better on our own terms than something a bit more ignominious.

  • ProSanity says:

    Can anyone honestly say “I’m surprised.”

  • nedarc says:

    One again… Thank you Mr. pRESIDENT.

  • danny rose says:

    What a surprise! All good people, really.

  • Samaha says:

    who is surprised at this?

  • Richard Wad says:

    Allah give praise to President Barack Hussein.

  • DENISE says:

    their is a plumbing problem…….dig a ditch…….fill in the ditch……………imates r missing……don’t ask about the ditch…………….

  • Mike says:

    Article should have stated WHY he was released from Guantanamo…

  • Dana blasi says:

    Thank you president Obama.

  • Robert Blum says:

    Obama’s path of fundamental transformation is weakening the security of the United States while strengthening the enemies of the state.

  • david says:


  • Bob Carson says:

    Our imperial president knows exactly what he is doing. How dare you imply there was anything improper in allowing terrorists to return to the fight!

  • Jason Blotsky says:

    Why are we releasing these people? Everyone knows they are killers and always will be, except the Administration it seems.

  • Tom says:

    Thank you President Obama. Another of your wonderful ways of protecting Americans.

  • Jasonn says:

    Another real fine job, Barack.

  • Political Hostage says:

    Barry built that.

  • SerfCityHereWeCome says:

    See? See? Dear Leader has all the terrorists on the run…back to the front lines.

  • Buzz Barton says:

    Good going, Mr. President.

  • Murphy says:

    What a surprise!!!

  • Bruce Metcalf says:

    Thank you, Obama!

  • Dancquill says:

    Releasing this Alqueda leader was worth it. Obama, if he keeps it up, will keep his promise to close Gitmo. Of course a number of us may have to give up our lives. That’s politics.

  • James says:

    Ben Jones – Thank you for a clear and well thought out post. It’s just so refreshing to hear a voice of reason these days. VOTE THIS TIME IS SOMETHING THAT HAS TO HAPPEN THIS TIME because if 5 million Republicans sit at home this country is DOOMED.

  • skee says:

    WTH???? this guy promised obama bin landen he’d be a good boy and not return to terrorism. I am shocked, I bet obama can’t believe it either!

  • Bob Carson says:

    A screw up? You are kidding! Obama is doing exactly what he means to do, and it is working for him. He will leave office a very rich man. Greatly revered wherever he goes. Lots of unread books sold. Rich! Very rich!

  • degoSRX says:

    Oh.. You didnt see it coming… It cant be. Idiots of all kind. Insha allah doesnt just mean it is gods will to a muslim, it means that they do whatever they want and excuse themselves through that belief. Americans are just the next to fall for morality. Yes keep thinking you high morals will make you the better man while these savages slit your throat. Wake up america.. Please

  • boatguy says:

    Maybe banning guns will make him not hate us….

  • Scott Jones says:

    How does someone who “cooperated with prosecutors” end up in a leadership position in AQ?

    Anyways, just add this guy to our “Catch, release, kill by drone” program.

  • Stephen Schmengle says:

    Put them all to sleep!

  • Stephen Schmengle says:

    Dah? Do you think?

  • Gary says:

    Most Guantanamo detainees were released under the previous administration. This is nothing new and not peculiar to President Obama. I expect he will be taken out in due course.

  • Agus Nizami says:

    Maybe Guantanamo Camp is not a prison. But a university for terrorist leaders. They will have knowledge, networks, and American arms

  • Confused says:

    Question, any reason why these murderers are not executed?

  • Ed Smith says:

    Obama can’t be bothered while Americans are slaughtered.

  • Aussiepolitician says:

    aahahahaha well this is hilarious

  • Saiful Rimkeit says:

    On target.

  • Saiful Rimkeit says:

    Divide and conquer equation is at play here.

  • Saiful Rimkeit says:

    After all, his slogan was “Hopeless Change”.

  • Saiful Rimkeit says:


  • Saiful Rimkeit says:

    Just saw one of the intentions at the round table discussing this topic. .. “We’ll capture them, waterboard them, get them angry as hornets and the let them go. Watch what happens”. So it was done.

  • Saarland says:

    Just like another president and his group of cronies who decided to invade Iraq.

  • Andrew Swallow says:

    When we catch him tell the soldiers to bring evidence so we can charge him with war crimes. Then administer the death sentence.

    Under the Geneva Conventions the USA can apply its Uniform Code of Justice to BOTH sides.

  • Alex says:

    that is exactly correct. Today’s leaders are often too soft on terrisom. It needs to be struck at the roots!

  • Nicholas Smart says:

    Golly! Surprise, surprise, surprise!

  • Nick says:

    This story sure got a lot of comments! the subject of Guantanamo is a tricky one: it houses mostly dangerous terrorists who wish us harm while also some individuals dubbed either low security risk or even none at all. The biggest hurdle Gitmo faces is the legality in which it keeps the “combatants”. Without the legal obstacles in the way for the President to move detainees to secure prisons on the mainland, the President would be able to most definitely try and convict specific individuals, such as the above mentioned terrorist. If there are specific persons in Gitmo who can be convicted in a court of law without the risk of national security evidence being hampered with then we and our representatives should allow it to happen. Otherwise it won’t matter if it’s this president or the next, the legalities will continue to challenge Gitmo. The upswing to this character being released and reintegrated with his friends is that he can now be permanently removed from the battlefield without costing tax payers housing fees. I’m looking forward to the LWJ’s next drone strike update in Yemen!

  • Wolfgang says:

    Thanks Gary for the very needed reminder and reality check. All commenters failed the Gitmo history test – as the vast majority of them were released under the previous Admin. Comments section looks more like just another sounding board to bash Obama. Feel better boys and girls?

  • Rock says:

    I suspect the truth one day will come out, but we will all be long gone. I can’t believe if what I suspect is correct that the plan completely originated on Obama’s watch. Sometimes I wonder just how much power the President really has or his strings being pulled for him by some unseen force.

    Either we are really stupid in our policy decisions or we are seeing the unfolding of some long term plan.

    If there is a long term plan in play what is the ultimate goal of it all? One world government? World War III to get rid of the riffraff? Deception at every turn. How to see through it? Can’t rely on the mainstream media. They are bought and paid for.

    Several games seem like they are being played in the Middle East. The one with the most long term implications is the one involving Iran. Iran is going to get the bomb. If they have territorial ambitions they will act on them after they have obtained the bomb. Iran’s obvious, and I might add stated goal, is to wipe Israel off the map. Why shouldn’t we take what they say at face value? Israel will not go down without a fight. I think some world capitals will be going bye bye with them if it should come to that. No one gets to set on the side lines of World War III.

    How does Isis situation play out. The US attack on them seems somewhat of a sham. It certainly reminds me of Vietnam will all the stupid rules of engagement designed to do everything except win the war. I recall how the US government claimed Mosul would be taken by March or April of this year. Of course that didn’t happen and nothing has been said about it since. Again the mainstream media doesn’t even bother to comment on it. The US government makes a bold prediction and it fails to even get off the drawing board, and the media doesn’t say a word about it. It is that sort of dereliction of duty by the media that makes a person not trust the media.

    I could go on and on, but I’m tired.

  • ZowPow says:

    Me too… I’m beyond feeling ashamed I’m angry and afraid.

  • Benjamin says:

    Both sides of the isle (red and blue) want this. Just for different reasons. Can’t kill him because i’m sure (though he’s a terrorist) his defense will fall under the Geneva Convention as being a war criminal and not a terrorist.

  • Benjamin says:

    Too forward thinking for the U.S.

  • Andrew Swallow says:

    Convention (IV) Article 33 bans the use of terrorism against civilians. Also murder is a ‘Grave Breach’ of the Geneva Convention.


  • Andrew Swallow says:

    Court Marshals can handle classified information. The jury would consist of serving US (or British) military personnel.

    The Geneva Convention allows the court marshalling and execution of captured enemies for ‘Grave Breaches’ of the Geneva Convention such as murder.
    Convention (III) Article 130 plus other articles


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram