Over the weekend, the Obama administration’s ambitious (or idiotic) plan to resettle a small group of Guantanamo Bay detainees in the Virginia suburbs of Washington ran into a wall.
May, 18, 2009 – Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. Jim Webb said “the answer is no” to the proposal that the former enemy combatants – ethnic Turks from China called Uyghurs – will live in Fairfax, Va.
Up ‘til then, the debate over the Uyghurs’ fate had been mostly down partisan lines, with Republicans led by Rep. Frank Wolf complaining loudly that no former Gitmo inmates should be incarcerated, put on trial or released inside the U.S. With Virginia Democrat Webb unexpectedly becoming an obstacle, Obama’s “contingency operations” are now in peril.
The Daily News has also reported that many senior counterterror officials believe the half-dozen Uyghurs eyed for release in Virginia have troubling ties to an Al Qaeda-affiliated terror group, the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), also known as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. While few officials worry that the Uyghurs will form a cell or commit future acts of terrorism, they view the precautions they have been readying as a big – though manageable – hassle.
“We’ll have 24-7 coverage up on them for years,” one top U.S. security official told The Mouth. “It’s extremely labor-intensive. But if we don’t do it, we’ll be called idiots if anything bad happens.” Gee isn’t that comforting?
So why are lawmakers and counterterror officials fretting about the Uyghurs? The Gitmo group were mostly nabbed fleeing a TIP terror training camp in eastern Afghanistan during the U.S. invasion following 9/11. Their defense lawyers insist the detainees have gotten the “terrorist” rap by the Communist Chinese government, which oppresses Uyghurs.
But The News reported today that the TIP, who ran the Afghan camp, released a jihad video last month in which they praised Al Qaeda-in-Iraq and the Uyghurs’ former Afghan hosts, the Taliban. The video was released through an Al Qaeda-affiliated Web site, Al-Fajr, and includes clips showing “mujahadeen brothers” blowing up U.S. military Humvees. The Uyghur jihadis “will cause China to experience what America experienced in Iraq and in Afghanistan,” a narrator promises, according to a SITE Intelligence Group translation.
It also probably didn’t help when Obama’s Treasury Department designated the group’s leader, Abdul Haq, as “a member of Al Qaeda’s Shura Council” on Apr. 20.
Aside from the growing political opposition to relocating the Uyghurs from Gitmo to a Washington suburb, the biggest roadblock may be the detainees themselves. Multiple sources confirm that some do not even want to live in America. And since no other country will accept them, “the question then becomes, can we force them to leave Cuba?” wondered a U.S. counterterror official.
NY DAILY NEWS
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