The Obama administration’s desperation to resolve the status of the Uighers in its custody has reached new heights. With Europe refusing to consider taking even those supposedly least dangerous detainees, the White House has apparently decided to bribe Palau in the South Pacific. For $200 million, the tiny island nation can have 17 al-Qaeda trained terrorists join their tourist destination (via Tammy Bruce’s Twitter feed):
The Obama administration is nearing agreement with the remote South Pacific island nation of Palau to resettle a group of Chinese Muslims now held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, The Associated Press has learned.
As they attempt to fulfill President Barack Obama’s order to close the Guantanamo facility by early next year, administration officials are looking to Palau to accept some or all of the 17 Uighur detainees due to fierce congressional opposition to releasing them on U.S. soil, officials said. …
Asked Tuesday about discussions with Palau on the Uighurs, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly declined to comment beyond saying the United States is “working closely with our friends and allies regarding resettlement” of detainees at Guantanamo. He said the department would not comment on talks with individual countries.
Two of the officials said the United States was prepared to give Palau up to $200 million in development, budget support and other assistance in return for accepting the Uighurs and as part of a mutual defense and cooperation treaty that is due to be renegotiated this year.
Hmm. Not sure whether that sounds like a bribe or an extortion attempt. Either take these Uighers off of our hands, or else …
So what is Palau? The US liberated the nation from the Japanese during World War II, fighting a nasty battle at Peleliu in 1944, but today its main industry is tourism. Palau has a population of only 21,000 people, which makes the introduction of 17 trained al-Qaeda Muslim separatists from China just a wee bit problematic. According to the CIA Factbook, there are few if any Muslims on Palau:
Roman Catholic 41.6%, Protestant 23.3%, Modekngei 8.8% (indigenous to Palau), Seventh-Day Adventist 5.3%, Jehovah’s Witness 0.9%, Latter-Day Saints 0.6%, other 3.1%, unspecified or none 16.4% (2000 census)
Bear in mind that these 17 detainees joined AQ as part of an effort to gain a separate homeland for Muslims from China. Do they sound like the kind of men who will find it easy to blend into a population mainly comprising Christians and Modekngei, a cross between Christianity, animists, and fortune-tellers?
The US may also be setting them up with juicy targets. In 2007, Palau received four times as many visitors as its population, making 80% of its GDP on “services” and only 20% on agriculture. The CBS show “Survivor” has twice based its competition in Palau (the second time as Survivor: Micronesia). Islamic extremists have twice hit Bali in nearby Indonesia over the past seven years, and Palau would make a nice target, especially since the US is responsible for Palau’s defense.
Why Palau? It appears to be the last country in the world besides China that the Obama administration can ask, and it’s running out of time for closing Gitmo.