WHEN the news first filtered faintly through my ears, my first response was to dismiss it.
Ghana mentioned in the same breath as Guantanamo Bay Prison?
But then, a second news broadcast confirmed what I had at first thought I had misheard: Yes, Ghana was accepting two ex-Guantanamo detainees released by the United States!
My reaction now was sheer, unadulterated FEAR! And HORROR!
“Are they mad?” I asked of our Government.
For if you have been following world affairs seriously, then you must pray never to have anything to do with jihadists. By whatever name they choose to be called – Al Qaeda, AQUIM, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Isis, IS, Ansar-al- Din, Ansar-al-Sharia – you just steer clear of them.
For these are not just simple political movements as we know them. They are organisations whose politics is firmly rooted in faith – and you can never negotiate someone else’s faith away.
If a person believes strongly that his faith demands x or y action, and that if, whilst accomplishing that action, he or she is killed or “martyred”, he/she will be rewarded by the Almighty in a pre-determined manner, then that person is, of course, literally, “out of this world”.
A fanatic of any sort is, of course, dangerous to everyone else. But a fanatic who thinks that his or her thoughts and actions are inspired, nay, dictated, by Almighty God, is altogether feral.
For you cannot REASON or argue with such a person.
Jihadists don’t mind if they commit atrocities that end in the deaths of fellow Muslims of a different sect, or who are adherents of a more “moderate” set of beliefs. They will tell you that it was “unfortunate” that fellow Muslims had to be slaughtered or maimed during any action they took in the course of their ”holy war”. But it was the will of God, who controls everything!
It is because of their unbending attitude towards the beliefs of fellow humans that jihadists are held in such fear. For if they happen to miscast your position with regard to any action you take that they consider to be against their interests, they might retaliate by inflicting serious harm on you and your people.
Let us now look at the implications of what the Ghana Government has done. The Government seems to believe that the two men sent to Ghana by the Americans – Saudi-born Yemenis Khalid al-Dhuby, 34, and Mahmoud Omar Bin Atef, 36, – are currently “harmless” (because the Americans have determined that they are!) and so need not be feared if they are allowed to live in Ghana. (See the falsity of Ghana’s claims exposed
But the condition of mind of the detainees is the easy and superficial part of the equation. A more important aspect is this: what do the organisations they were allegedly working for when they were captured, now think of them?
If Al Qaeda thinks that someone who claimed to be working for it has been turned by the Americans during interrogation (and the Americans do use torture, especially ”water-boarding”, to wrench sensitive information from their ”terrorist” captives) it is not likely that Al Qaeda would ever regard such a person as a hero. Would Al Qaeda come for such a person in his new abode if it regarded him as someone who had eventually turned ”traitor” (to deter others from doing the same thing in future?)
If it did, its vengeance against him could be fearsome. And that vengeance could take place anywhere on earth, because Al Qaeda is in possession of a long and well-oiled killing machine, that knows no boundaries.
Events in Kenya bear eloquent testimony to this Al Qaeda mindset.
But that’s not all – a second scenario, equally unwelcome to Ghana, beckons. Suppose Al Qaeda regards our two guests as heroes and wants to deprive us of the honour of hosting them? Would we be able to resist an attempt to free them without shedding the blood of many innocent Ghanaians, who would have been catapulted into a theatre of war without even being aware that they had been endangered in such a manner?
A third scenario exists which is even more ghastly to contemplate, namely: Suppose Al Qaeda does not care about the two men at all, but is rather more interested in drawing up a roll-call of countries upon which the USA can count, in its world-wide search for collaborators against jihadism?
The US is ruthlessly conducting this war with drones, guns and bombs world-wide, inflicting grievous harm on many countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. Why does Ghana want to be put on a list of countries who have “self-defined” themselves as those who implicitly approve of such US actions? Does the US consult Ghana before it embarks on such hideous actions?
It is by ignoring the possibility of being classified by Al Qaeda and its affiliates as an American”lackey” (and thus a country that could be targeted by them because it had been patently identified as the “collaborator” of Al Qaeda’s main enemy, the USA) that the Ghana Government has compromised the security of Ghana as a nation.
A risk to national security must not be contemplated by our Government under any circumstances. It was not put into power to endanger the lives of Ghanaians.
The USA would not put its national interests at risk for Ghana, and the Government of Ghana should therefore also have enough sense to appreciate this fact and do the same as the US would do. (By the way, declining to compromise one’s national security is not an unfriendly act — in case our Government is concerned over how the US would react to a refusal.)
One other thing: the Pentagon treats the issue of the national security of the US as being of such prime importance that it apprised the US Congress – presumably on a bi-partisan basis – of its decision, before sending the two ex-Guantanamo detainees to Ghana. The US, which was merely ridding itself of persons who might constitute a security risk, sought the acquiescence of its legislators before ridding itself of that menace.
Yet the Government of tiny, feeble Ghana, which was taking on a national security problem so imponderable that it was jettisoned by the mighty USA, did NOT inform the elected representatives of the people among whom the fugitives would live , i.e. the Parliament of Ghana, before saddling itself with such a sensitive burden.
Do the Americans breathe an air that is different from what Ghanaians breathe? Or what?