U.S. Policy in the Wake of 9/11: The Dialogue Committee: A Government Re-Education Program for Jihadis
The Dialogue Committee is a Yemeni government re-education program for imprisoned jihadis in Yemen that was initiated in 2002 and led by judge Hamoud al-Hitar.
Yemeni officials created the program with the idea that engaging in theological dialogue with prisoners would correct their beliefs and cause released inmates to reject violent jihad. Jihadis released from the program agreed not to battle the government, not to use Yemen as a base for foreign operations and not to kill foreigners. The released jihadis were also offered government assistance with job placement.
The effectiveness of the Dialogue Committee was debatable. While the program seems to have been effective in many cases, including that of Abu Jandal, some former prisoners have returned to violence. The program was shut down in 2005, but U.S. counterterrorism officials are pressuring Yemeni authorities to restart the program for detainees returning from Guantánamo Bay, as nearly half of the current detainees are from Yemen. A center for the program’s purposes was under construction, and the United States government would like to see the facility finished, but Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of Yemen, refuses to continue construction work without U.S. funds.
» Seifert, Katherine. "Can Jihadis Be Rehabilitated?" The Middle East Quarterly 17, No. 2 (Spring 2010).