Advocates working to end a sad chapter in American history were given new hope last year when President Barack Obama renewed his push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The substantive challenges to closing the prison remain, though events have shifted the risk calculus to favor closure. And even though the president is in a far weaker position politically than he was when he took office, different public attitudes on national security issues should make it easier to close Guantanamo. What seemed a hopeless and nearly forgotten project for Obama a year ago—closing Guantanamo by the end of his administration—now seems achievable.
After the latest transfer of one detainee to Algeria last month, 154 detainees remain at Guantanamo. There are three different groups of prisoners among the 154: 76 have been designated for transfer to either their native countries or third countries; 33 are slated for prosecution in either the Guantanamo military commissions or U.S. federal courts; and 45 are to be held in continued U.S. military detention but not charged in any forum.This article was originally published in World Politics Review.