Friday, June 12, 2009

Who Are The Uighurs And Where The Heck Is Palau?

In Obama's rush to close down Gitmo, he has found himself with a problem. What to do with the detainees. Though one is already in this country for trial, Congress had said none would be allowed. So much for Congress.

A bigger problem concerns those detainees who are of questionable guilt. One such group consists of 17 Chinese Muslims who are not unlike the Tibetans in their desire for independence from China. According to NPR , they were sold to the U.S. military by Pakistani bounty hunters for $5000 per head.

It is now reported by many sources, including Refugee Settlement Watch that two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press, said the U.S. 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.

Wow! $200 million of our taxpayer dollars to a small group of islands encompassing approximately 178 square miles with a population of 20,303. It's religious profile is 49% f Roman Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, the Assembly of God , Liebenzell Mission, latter Day Saints and 33% Modekngei which is their indigenous religion. The missionaries have sure been busy here for their return on recruitment! This place is virtually in the middle of nowhere!

Now on to the Uighurs themselves. Their province, Xinjiang, borders Afghanistan, several of the "stans", Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan and India.

It is chock full of pipelines and is rich with oil, natural gas and mineral resources. No wonder China wants to keep them in tow! To do so they have been flooding the province with non-Muslim immigrants and are allocating to them the best jobs and housing. Gosh, why would this build resentment?

Having been a major stop on the Silk Road, the Uighur converted to Sunni Islam in the 10th century. Between 1933 and 1944 they established their own independent political state, the Islamic Eastern Turkestan Republic, which was soon quashed by the Red Army to aid the Chinese Nationalist forces.

Much like the Tibetans, it should come as no surprise there is a movement afoot to regain their independence.

Which brings us back to our seventeen. They were in neighboring Afghanistan hoping to receive training and return home to join the fight for their homeland. They have been sitting in Gitmo since 2001.

The Chinese want them so they can execute them. Bermuda has raised all sorts of diplomatic nightmares by agreeing to take two on a temporary basis and of course there is the issue of Palau.

Another fine mess! There is a lot of truth in the statement "One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter". Perhaps things would not be so complicated if some discretionary action was taken before tossing people in prison and literally throwing away the keys! There has certainly been no rush to justice here!

As a footnote, if we are in fact willing to pony up $200 million to relocate this small block of detainees, what's it going to cost us to relocate the rest of them? Just think, if the Uighurs should win their fight against China, they may not be able to lend us any more money!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Palau...I knew I had heard of these islands. That terrible reality program Survivor. I believe one of their series took place on this island. I hasten to state that I absolutely do not watch that program. I'm a tad more evolved than that!! But the constant promos invade the airways relentlessly.

I never cease to be amazed at just how the government spends my money. If they were just half as creative with solutions as they are with finding new ways to pick the collective pocket, the economic disaster would improve mightily. CU