Palau Takes Uighur Detainees

Remember those 17 Uighar captives at Gitmo being held in a state of limbo because nobody would take them?  Palau has come to our rescue.

The tropical Pacific island nation of Palau announced Wednesday it will accept up to 17 Chinese Muslims who have languished in legal limbo at Guantanamo Bay despite a Pentagon determination that they are not “enemy combatants.”

China’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate reaction to the decision by Palau to grant Washington’s request to resettle the detainees from China’s Uighur minority who had been incarcerated at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. Palau is one of a handful of countries that does not recognize China and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

President Johnson Toribiong said Palau was accepting the detainees “as a humanitarian gesture” intended to help them restart their lives. His archipelago, with a population of about 20,000, will accept up to 17 of the detainees subject to periodic review, Toribiong said in a statement released to The Associated Press. “This is but a small thing we can do to thank our best friend and ally for all it has done for Palau,” he said.

A former U.S. trust territory in the Pacific, Palau has retained close ties with the United States since independence in 1994 when it signed a Free Compact of Association with the U.S. While it is independent, it relies heavily on U.S. aid and is dependent on the United States for its defense. Native-born Palauans are allowed to enter the United States without passports or visas.

I suppose there are worse fates than being exiled to a tropical paradise.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, National Security, Terrorism, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Maggie Mama says:

    Obama is giving Palau 200 million dollars to perform this “service”. I hope they get themselves a well-trained army before a boatload of militant Muslims attempts a rescue mission.

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    I hope they get themselves a well-trained army before a boatload of militant Muslims attempts a rescue mission.

    You do realize, don’t you, that these are a group of people that only Newt Gingrich thinks are dangerous, right?

    I’m glad these people are going to be able to find a home that isn’t a prison.

  3. markm says:

    I hope they get themselves a well-trained army before a boatload of militant Muslims attempts a rescue mission.

    That’s my first thought…being the Phillipines (or part of the chain) is a hot bed. Seems like it would be easy pickin’s.

    You do realize, don’t you, that these are a group of people that only Newt Gingrich thinks are dangerous, right?

    So does Jim Webb, Jim Moran, Frank Wolf, Robert McDonnell as well as other off the record lawmakers. So almost only.

  4. Triumph says:

    This is another example of B. Hussein selling out our national security to gain points with his moselm allies.

    The Uighars were responsible for 9-11 and represent an existential threat to the homeland.

    We damn better hope these guys don’t get out of Palau–otherwise we’ll all be speaking Uyghur before too long.

    The combination of the fact that these 17 guys are sophisticated terrorists and that B. Hussein is intent on destroying our military gives these guys an opening to destroy our country.

    This seems to be exactly what Hussein wants to do.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    Our long national nightmare is over.

  6. PD Shaw says:

    The Obama administration doesn’t appear to think they’re safe either, having named Abdul Haq, the guy running the training camp for Uighurs at Tora Bora as a designated terrorist. At least ten of the detainees admitted ties to Haq.

  7. ck says:

    I hope they get themselves a well-trained army before a boatload of militant Muslims attempts a rescue mission.

    So, the claim is that it isn’t safe to let these people into the U.S., nor is it safe for any other country to take them, either. What do you suggest we do, then, shoot them into space?

  8. DC Loser says:

    suppose there are worse fates than being exiled to a tropical paradise

    I’m sure the lucky inhabitants at the Club Med on Devil’s Island thought so.

  9. An Interested Party says:

    What do you suggest we do, then, shoot them into space?

    Oh, you’re being too charitable…I’m sure some people would suggest that we just shoot them…

  10. PD Shaw says:

    They were always free to be returned to their home country, but understandably did not want to.

  11. sam says:

    I suppose there are worse fates than being exiled to a tropical paradise.

    Well, I suppose they could put them all on Peleliu. That might satisfy some folks.

  12. The Obama administration doesn’t appear to think they’re safe either

    No, he just thinks they’re unpopular, and like most politicians isn’t going to risk reelection on something as trivial as morality.

  13. Phil Smith says:

    I hereby nominate Alex to keep track of this story.

  14. PD Shaw says:

    And not popular in the 100 countries that refused to take them either.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    It’s amazing how fear adversely affects some people…