Barack Obama appears to be stuck between a rock and a hard place after terrorism experts rejected a Saudi initiative that had been billed as the solution to the Guantanamo Bay problem.
The president took a crucial step towards reconciling America with the rest of the world when he confirmed that the US naval base in Cuba - where high-value Al Qaeda prisoners were tortured - will close within one year.
Outlining plans for the detainees, advisers had favoured a Saudi rehabilitation scheme that hinged on religious re-education. But experts are now warning that the programme may be ill-suited for Gitmo.
The Saudi initiative gathered steam after the kingdom realised that torturing captured jihadists was actually counterproductive, serving only to stir up sympathy for Al Qaeda in the wider Islamic world.
Observers inevitably drew parallels with the conundrum facing America - which some say lost the moral high ground when it opened Gitmo. But several terrorism experts seem less convinced about the strategy's scope.
In Saudi Arabia - a country that has not experienced a large-scale terror attack since 2003 - the overwhelming majority of Al Qaeda fighters in detention are young, inexperienced footsoldiers who hastily became radicalised in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on America.
Officials have been able to re-mould the perspectives of these impressionable youths by drafting in revered imams (preachers) who explained that Al Qaeda chiefs lack the religious clout to issue fatwas (edicts). Of the programme's 218 participants, just nine have been re-arrested.
"We have reduced the threat," interior ministry spokesman Mansoor al-Turki told CNN. "Such a re-education programme will help the police to make sure these people get rid of the ideology that penetrated their brains, [and to] make sure … [they] can lead [a] normal life."
However, Dr Walid Phares, director of the Future Terrorism Project, insists that most of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay are experienced Al Qaeda commanders, for whom rehabilitation has little chance of success.
He cites the case of Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who was released into the custody of Saudi authorities in 2007. After completing their rehabilitation programme, Mr al-Shihri was set free, but immediately rejoined Al Qaeda.
The radical Islamist has now been "elevated to the senior ranks of Al Qaeda in Yemen," a US counterterrorism official recently told AFP, and is just one of 62 detainees who successfully re-established connections with the terror network after being released from Gitmo.
Dr Phares stresses that Al Qaeda training manuals instruct fighters to adopt "detention tactics and a post-detention strategy" when captured by the enemy. These measures include disavowing all links to Osama bin Laden and feigning empathy for the West.
"Unfortunately, the reality of Al Qaeda's tactics regarding Guantanamo or any other detention centre - judicial, administrative or military - raises unavoidable questions and brings about sobering conclusions," the expert wrote in an article for the Counterterrorism Blog.
Earlier this week, Fox News aired a martyrdom video recorded by Abdallah Ali al-Ajmi, another former Gitmo detainee who was released in 2005. He killed 12 people in a suicide bombing in northern Iraq last April.
"I thank Allah, Lord of the Worlds, who freed me from Guantanamo prison and - after we were tortured - connected me with the Islamic State of Iraq," the extremist is heard saying in the carefully-scripted video.
Analysts remain divided over what to do with Gitmo's remaining 250 inmates, including 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammed. Washington has called on European governments to help supervise any that are released.