The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Does the US indefinite detention bill apply to engagement efforts?

For several years, those of us who have been involved in “engagement” efforts involving Islamists – and especially those defined as terrorists by law by some states and international institutions – have seen a creeping legal effort, complementing the media effort, to prevent/obstruct/criminalize those efforts.

One has to wonder whether the indefinite detention bill embedded in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) could be used in the future as a part of this trend?

An excellent discussion of the bill signed into law by obama last week is here.

Here is the provision I wonder about:

Could this be construed to include people who attempt to facilitate and broker meetings with the Taliban? And what of associated forces since Iran and Hizbullah are accused precisely of being associated with both AQ and the Taliban?
Of course one of the major ironies is that, right now, the US military is meeting with the Taliban (Reuters):

“…U.S. officials have held about half a dozen meetings with their insurgent contacts, mostly in Germany and Doha with representatives of Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura, this year to prepare the way for face-to-face talks between the group and the Afghan government…”

The question is what constitutes “substantial support” – if the US military meets with the Taliban and facilitates a power sharing arrangement isn’t this substantial support? Would far lesser efforts to broken meetings between the Taliban, or any “associated forces,” and Westerners or any other people fall into this category?
Certainly – not a good development for broadening strategies vis-a-vis purported and actual enemies/opponents.

Written by nickbiddlenoe

December 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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