Philippines-Martial Law in Southern Region-Islamic State uprising ?

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SeekingAPolitic...
Philippines-Martial Law in Southern Region-Islamic State uprising ?

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SeekingAPolitic...

http://www.smh.com.au/world/duterte-declares-martial-law-in-mindanao-aft...

Varoius reports of who is in control of the city.  Marawi population 200,000 from other articles.  To early is to say if this a raid or occupation.

SeekingAPolitic...
josh
NDPP

Social Media Reveals Chaos in Philippines as ISIS Battles Government Forces (and vid)

https://on.rt.com/8cmq

"Photographs and videos shared across social media platforms are revealing utter chaos in the Philippines city of Marawi as government forces and militants linked to Islamic State battle for control..."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I certainly can't agree with Duterte's desire to kill "druggies".  But if the Phillipines is in danger of being rolled back to the seventh century, governance-wise, I suppose I might go pop some popcorn.  I suspect Duterte isn't going to invite them to a roundtable to discuss their concerns.

lagatta4

The Muslim population of Mindanao has longstanding grievances, and they have been mobilised long before Daesh showed up to take advantage of all these grievances. I have zero affinity for Daesh or any violent religious fundamentalists, but RT has its own agenda. 

http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/170904-solidarity-mindanao-opposi...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

That's an interesting article.  But reading it, I cannot help but to remember when Canadian Muslims asked for the right to settle non-criminal, civil disagreements using religious tribunals, rather than existing Provincial courts, and it seemed to me at the time that progressives wanted none of that, preferring instead one secular authority for all.

Quote:
What's needed is for the government to conduct earnest and honest peace negotiations with the various armed groups in the regions and be willing to finally respect rather than suppress the right to self-determination of the Moros/Muslims/lumad in Mindanao.

I'm not sure why the Philippines should be asking militants what they want -- surely it would be more than just the right to have a religious tribunal rule over whether or not a neighbour's fence intrudes on your property.  So why should the Philippines make such an exception?  If they're not a theocracy, why should any part of them be a theocracy?

 

lagatta4

I don't support religious tribunals (whatever the faith) nor do I necessarily support all the other demands of the Moro people. I was simply unhappy about seeing their longstanding demands conflated with Daesh. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I was simply unhappy about seeing their longstanding demands conflated with Daesh.

Fair enough.  Do you know what some of those longstanding demands are?

Because if they're anything like "we want to decide our civil law cases with tribunals" then that was kind of my point.  But if the problem is that they're not allowed to vote, or there's a moratorium on new Mosques or whatever then that's different.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Gee Magoo why don't you try google to do your own research? The Moro have been fighting for their independence as a Muslim country since the Spanish did away with their government. Here is the latest betrayal by the Phillipine government. If you sign a peace treaty and then don't implement it that is usually enough to cause the war to start up again.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law, often referred to by the acronym " BBL" (Filipino: Batayang Batas para sa Rehiyong Awtonomo ng Bangsamoro), was a bill deliberated upon by the 16th Congress of the Philippines which, had it passed, would have established a proposed new autonomous political entity known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, replacing the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

As an organic act, the Basic Law would have provided for the basic structure of government for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, and enacted the agreements set forth in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which is the peace agreement signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangsamoro_Basic_Law

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Thanks for the link.  I clicked on it, then on the link to "Moro Islamic Liberation Front" and got my answer.

Quote:
this semi-independent Muslim area would have a more just share of revenues from the extraction of its own plentiful resources, budgetary autonomy, its own police, and sharia law only for Muslims

So... Sharia law.  Exactly what I was asking about.  Canada mustn't ever tolerate two different legal systems, but the Philippines should?

lagatta4

Canada DOES tolerate two legal systems, at least in so far as civil law: Common law and the Civil Code. And there are struggles for Canada to accept Indigenous justice practices, as well as the English and French ones. 

The Moro people were autonomous before the Spanish intervened. The peace negotiations in Mindanao are (among other things) "Tri-People": the "mainstream" Filipinos (complicated mix of Indigenous Filipino peoples and Spanish colonialists as well as overseas Chinese and other Asians; I really can't go into that here) the Moro people and various Indigenous peoples who retain their own languages and much of their own customs. 

Kropotkin, would you happen to have a good summary of all this? And also keeping in mind the interference first of Spanish, then of American imperialists, and in general how the Filipino people(s) are used as a pool of cheap labour - women's domestic labour, men's "casual" building, maritime and other labour... 

There is a little convent near my place, originally Italian, when nuns staffed the relevant school. Now most of the younger nuns are Filipina. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Canada DOES tolerate two legal systems, at least in so far as civil law: Common law and the Civil Code.

Very well.  Initially, I was only pointing out that many progressives couldn't abide a third, even for those who wanted it.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In Canada for civil cases including family law we allow arbitration by clerics of various religions. SHH don;t tell any of your friends they will be outraged that we have a system that would allow an Imam to arbitrate.

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/91a17

You are missing the self determination part of this completely. These people have never accepted that the government rules over them. They fought the Spanish and then the Americans and every central government that has tried to control them since.  I am not sure I would like to live under the style of government that they want but its not for me to say how they govern themselves.

Canada is friends with the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace which also began as a Sultanate and is an independent nation on Bornio. I am sure that the Moro would love to have a similar arrangement but they seem to have settled for an Autonomous Region but that peace treaty has not been implemented. 

NDPP

Philippines Crisis

https://youtu.be/jZJ19uXiak8

Al Jazeera report

 

Groups To Duterte: 'Never Again To Martial Law'

http://bulatlat.com/main/2017/05/26/groups-duterte-never-martial-law/

"Progressive organizations in major cities nationwide joined today's Black Friday protest against the imposition of martial law in Mindanao which President Duterte has threatened to extend to the rest of the country..."

 

UPDATES

https://twitter.com/bulatlat

jerrym

lagatta4 wrote

The Muslim population of Mindanao has longstanding grievances, and they have been mobilised long before Daesh showed up to take advantage of all these grievances.

  Mr. Magoo wrote

if the Phillipines is in danger of being rolled back to the seventh century, governance-wise, I suppose I might go pop some popcorn.

The arrival of ISIL on Mindanao is a recent event with long historical and complex roots. My perspective on this comes from having a wife of Christian heritage born on Mindanao and numerous visits there. At least 120,000 (some estimates say 150,000) have been killed in fighting on Mindanao since the late 1960s. Al Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf (Osama Bin Laden's fourth wife, Amal, is from Mindanao) started operating in Mindanao in the mid 1990s, while ISIL has only there in the last few years. There is also a Communist New People's Army (NPA) with 3,300 insurgents operating sporadically on parts of the island, in addition to NPA elsewhere in the Philippines.

Resistance to central control and resentment at the increasing number of Christian settlers, as well as the logging and mining activities, which had become important sources of export earnings, was at first organized under the aegis of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), formed in the late 1960s and until the 1990s largely accepted as representing the interests of Mindanao’s Muslim population. Despite the formation of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 1989 and the formal acceptance of the 1996 peace accord between the Government and the MNLF, the armed conflict continued. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) emerged as the Government’s main opponent. The MILF, as the name suggests, is more religion-oriented than the nationalistic-oriented MNLF, but is in no way comparable in attitudes or practices to Islamic fundamentalist organizations elsewhere in East Asia. The Moros have benefited from the support of the Organization of Islamic Conferences, and have maintained close relations with Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia. However, MILF relations with the small terrorist (and largely criminal) group Abu Sayyaf and the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah have been sporadic and loose, and in the context of the on-going peace discussions the MILF has distanced itself completely from those organizations. 

Overall, although religious differences have partly shaped the conflict, the roots of the conflict have been the clash of interests in land and other natural resources, and the identity issues emerging from the de facto second- class status of much of the Moro population. Complicating the picture, a number of non-Malay indigenous peoples (collectively referred to as “Lumads”) have historically been pushed aside in turn by Spanish and American colonizers, Christian settlers, and the Moros themselves. They were first displaced from the lowlands to the highlands (mainly in the Cotabato-Sarangani area); then put under pressure from the outsiders’ rush to exploit the timber and the gold of the highlands; and today are viewed as inferior (including by the Moros themselves), and lack a role and a voice in the peace negotiations. Yet, loosely paralleling the situation in the Amazon basin, the involvement of indigenous people in the peace process and their active cooperation with its implementation will be important not only in itself and for a lasting political solution, but also for a healthy environmental protection strategy. 

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCPR/214578-1111996036679/20482477/...

 

jerrym

Some of the roots of the conflict can be traced back to the Spanish conquest of the Philippines and Muslim resistance, but much of it relates to what happened after WWII. While many Philippinos fought as guerillas against the Japanese, a large part of the elite collaborated with the Japanese. Many of the WWII guerilla anti-Japanese movement involved the Communist Hukbalahap (Huks).  Much of the love part of the Filipino love-hate relationship with the United States comes from the Americans help in ending the brutal Japanese occupation.

Following the war, the Americans offered the elite Japanese collaborators a deal: go along with American economic interests in the Philippines in return for no penalties for collaborating with the Japanese. 

President Roxas was willing to accept some onerous conditions placed implicitly and explicitly by the U.S. Congress. The Bell Act in the United States extended free trade with the Philippines for 8 years, to be followed by 20 years of gradually increasing tariffs. The United States demanded and received a 99-year lease on a number of Philippine military and naval bases in which U.S. authorities had virtual territorial rights. And finally, as a specific requirement for release of U.S. war-damage payments, the Philippines had to amend its constitution to give U.S. citizens equal rights with Filipinos in the exploitation of natural resources—the so-called Parity Amendment. ...

The nature and effectiveness of Filipino political institutions since independence has been a special concern of the former colonial power that helped establish them. For Filipinos, those institutions have determined the ability or inability to maintain domestic social order. Clumsy repression of dissent and the fraudulent election of the country’s second president, Elpidio Quirino, in 1949 set the stage for an intensification of the communist-led Hukbalahap (Huk) Rebellion, which had begun in 1946. The rebellion also reflected a growing sense of social injustice among tenant farmers, especially in central Luzon.

https://www.britannica.com/place/Philippines/The-early-republic

 

jerrym

As the post WWII Huk rebellion grew, the CIA led by Edward Lansdale (yes the famous one involved in the Vietnam War and Castro assassination attempts) told the Philippine government that unless land reform was introduced the Communists would win. The elite's solution: tell Christian tenant farmers to take land in what was mainly Moslem Mindanao rather than give up any land from their enormous estates, creating a situation that echoes of Israel-Palestine. Today the Moslems represent approximately 7 million of the 20 million inhabitants of Mindanao. 

Mindanao and other predominately Muslim islands in the southern Philippines were never conquered during 381 years of Spanish and American rule. One Muslim told the Los Angeles Times, “We do not consider ourselves Filipinos. Filipinos are those who surrendered to the Spaniards. We never surrendered.” ...

 Until fairly recently Mindanao and other islands in the south were occupied almost completely by Muslims. After World War II, the Muslim-controlled areas of Mindanao were viewed as a frontier that could be settled by Christians from the northern islands.

After independence in 1946, Christian settlers from the northern and central islands began migrating to Mindanao . The newly-arrived Christians generally settled where the land was most fertile and became richer while Muslim remained poor. 

To end the Huk uprising in the 1950s, President Magsaysay resettled some of the Philippines’ non-Muslim poor on Mindanao and gave them title to the land they settled on. Later more people from the overcrowded islands in the north were resettled on "unused" jungle Mindanao, a move that eventually tipped the balance of landownership and political power in favor of the Christians. Muslims were denied title to land they had occupied for generations. One Muslim told Newsweek, "We became squatters in our own lands." By 1970, immigrants outnumbered local Muslim groups. 

 Muslim have suffered from neglect and underdevelopment. One Muslim leader told the Los Angeles Times, “Governments have promised us everything. But look around and what is the ‘everything’ they’ve delivered? Do you see roads? Electricity? Economic development? Factories? The everything is nothing.”

http://factsanddetails.com/southeast-asia/Philippines/sub5_6d/entry-3885...

 

jerrym

Here's a personal story that illustrates the complexity of the situation.

In the 1980s my wife went to Mindanao State University for four years in Marawi City where ISIS continues its rampage today (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/28/marawi-isis-rampage-in-phi...).

Although she was a Christian, she was able to go this lavish campus, which was built by Saudi Arabian money, because moderate Moslems provided scholarships to poor Christians in the hopes of building bridges between the two groups.

However, even in the 1980s, she could not leave the campus because those Muslim men who were rapists knew that the local Muslim police would never arrest a Muslim for raping a Christian woman. Saudi Arabian money also played a major role in the spread of wahabism over time in the Philippines. 

Concerned for the safety of its 400 non-Muslim students and faculty because of the fighting now, the University has transported them to the Christian city of Ilogan (http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cagayan-de-oro/local-news/2017/05/26/mindanao-...).

 

During one of my visits to Mindanao in the 1990s, 30 tourists were kindnapped fromLake Sebu in Mindanao. This was a surprise to evreyone because the "native" (what Filipinos call those who live a traditional lifestyle) people of the region were Christian. What had happened, was that a Muslim guerilla group had convinced them that, although they were Christian, they should ally themselves with the Moslems, as they were both discriminated against by the Christian invaders from other islands.

While we were visiting to the Christian hometown of my wife, just 50 km from Lake Sebu, the mayor organized all local adult males into a militia immediately after the Lake Sebu incident in case the town was attacked. Fortunately, the government paid a ransom (while denying that it did) in order to get the tourists released. 

Much like other insurgencies, when underlying causes are not resolved over a long period of time, the danger  of extreme radicalization grows, as we see today. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Thx Jerrym for the good precise of an old and complex dispute.

NDPP

Philippines Death Toll Tops 100 As Besieged ISIS-Linked Terrorists Execute 'Betrayers'  (and vid)

https://on.rt.com/8cxw

"The military intensified its air campaign on parts of Marawi over the weekend as ground troops engaged in street battles with the militants."

 

ISIS Touches Down in the Philippines

http://journal-neo.org/2017/05/28/isis-touches-down-in-the-philippines/

"With US President Trump announcing a US-Saudi alliance against terrorism - the US has managed to strategically misdirect public attention away from global terrorism's very epicenter and protect America's premier intermediaries in fueling that terrorism around the world.

The Philippines would be unwise to turn to this 'alliance' for help in fighting terrorism both the US and Saudi Arabia are directly and intentionally fueling. Asia should expect the US and its Saudi partners to continue leveraging terrorism against the region..."

jerrym

Al Jazeera includes a video with its written report below on the fighting in Marawi. Warning: the video shows some gruesome pictures of dead bodies. 

Fighters locked in street-to-street battles with security forces in a southern Philippine city on Mindanao island have killed 19 civilians, the military said on Sunday, bringing the official death toll from nearly a week of fighting to nearly 100.

The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law on Tuesdayacross the southern third of the Philippines to quell what he said was a fast-growing threat of "militants" linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Security forces are attempting to flush out rebels of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf armed groups, which have declared allegiance to ISIL.

Authorities said the fighters had killed 19 civilians in Marawi, a mostly Muslim-populated city of 200,000 people.

These included eight men believed to have been killed early on Sunday morning and then thrown into a ravine along a highway, just 200 metres away from a military checkpoint in the city, police said.

The dead, most of them shot in the head and some with hands tied behind their backs, were labourers who were stopped by the fighters while trying to flee clashes. At least one body had cardboard on the chest with the word "monafiq", which means traitor. 

Thousands flee

Troops also recovered the bodies of three women, four men and one child near a state university in Marawi on Saturday, Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said. 

"These are civilians, women. These terrorists are anti-people. We found their bodies while conducting rescue operations [on Saturday]," regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar Herrera told the AFP news agency.

The two other victims were employees of a state-run hospital seized by the fighters on the first day of the violence, police said.

Thousands of the city's residents have fled because of the fighting, which has seen the military heavily bomb residential areas where the fighters were believed to be hiding.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/philippines-19-dead-troops-fight-i...

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

If this is all about a long-standing dispute between the Moro and the government of the Philippines, what's ISIS/ISIL's stake in it?  The Phillipines are neither Iraq nor the Levant.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

If this is all about a long-standing dispute between the Moro and the government of the Philippines, what's ISIS/ISIL's stake in it?  The Phillipines are neither Iraq nor the Levant.

They must think it is in their national interest the same reason the US is in Iraq.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

For the US we just reflexively assume "Oil".

What, in your opinion, is the materialist interest for ISIL?  Or, the religious one?

jerrym

Mr. Magoo wrote:

If this is all about a long-standing dispute between the Moro and the government of the Philippines, what's ISIS/ISIL's stake in it?  The Phillipines are neither Iraq nor the Levant.

As usual, you come up with a quick quip and no analysis. It's your modus operandi. A large, complex number of factors have contributed to the increasing radicalization in Mindanao because previous movements have failed over a seventy year period. In addition, as the video below on ISIL planning on spreading from Afghanistan to Russia shows, ISIL aims to spread its version of Islam everywhere in the world. The circumstances in the Philippines provide it with very fertile ground now (see posts 17 to 20) to grow there, so it jumps at the opportunity. 

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2017/05/isil-target-ru...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Sorry, my direct line to them seems to have been disabled. However it seems that the jihadism the West spawned in Afghanistan has now not only spread througthout the Middle East it appears to have gone global. Oh well all empires eventually crash and burn usually as result of hubris guided policies.  

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
As usual, you come up with a quick quip and no analysis. It's your modus operandi. A large, complex number of factors have contributed to the increasing radicalization in Mindanao because previous movements have failed over a seventy year period. In addition, as the video below on ISIL planning on spreading from Afghanistan to Russia shows, ISIL aims to spread its version of Islam everywhere in the world.

Thanks, jerrym.  That was exactly what I was asking.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Magoo for someone who spends so much time on line don't you think it is time you learnt how to use a search engine?

jerrym

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
As usual, you come up with a quick quip and no analysis. It's your modus operandi. A large, complex number of factors have contributed to the increasing radicalization in Mindanao because previous movements have failed over a seventy year period. In addition, as the video below on ISIL planning on spreading from Afghanistan to Russia shows, ISIL aims to spread its version of Islam everywhere in the world.

Thanks, jerrym.  That was exactly what I was asking.

You're welcome. ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant) also calls itself IS (Islamic State) because the state ISIL and their affiliates hope to create involves a world caliphate where all infidels are killed. 

 

jerrym

The Philippine military is reporting that foreign fighters are among the dead Maute ISIL-linked dead in Marawi. While this shows the international connections of the rebel group, the issues that triggered this are essentially local, as described in previous posts. The military's claim that the group is weak does not match with the intensity and duration of the fighting. 

The Philippine military chief says three Malaysians, an Indonesian, and possibly Arab fighters have been killed in a southern city that armed groups planned to burn entirely in an audacious plot to project the lethal influence of ISIL.

General Eduardo Ano told the Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday that the military had made advances in containing the week-long siege of Marawi city. He said a top Filipino fighter is believed to have been killed and the leader of the attack was wounded. Ano said the group plotted to set Marawi ablaze and kill as many Christians in nearby Iligan city on Ramadan to mimic the violence seen by the world in Syria and Iraq. The army insists the drawn-out fight is not a true sign of the group's strength, and the military has held back to spare civilians' lives. "They are weak," Ano said of the gunmen, speaking at a hospital where wounded soldiers were being treated. "It's just a matter of time for us to clear them from all their hiding places."

As of Tuesday morning, he said the military working house-by-house had cleared 70 percent of the city and the remaining fighters were isolated. Still, the fighters have turned out to be remarkably well-armed and resilient. Attack helicopters were streaking low over Marawi on Monday, firing rockets at hideouts, as heavily armed soldiers went house to house. The gunmen have held the Philippine army at bay, burning buildings, taking at least a dozen hostages and sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing.

Ano said Tuesday that the commander, Isnilon Hapilon, is still hiding somewhere in the city. Authorities were working to confirm that another leader had been killed.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the south through mid-July after the fighters went on a deadly rampage in Marawi last week following an unsuccessful military raid to capture Hapilon.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/foreign-fighters-killed-battle-phi...

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Magoo for someone who spends so much time on line don't you think it is time you learnt how to use a search engine?

No worries!  I know how to use The Google.

But sometimes having someone else say something carries a bit more gravitas than posting a link.

To be specific, when jerrym says "ISIL aims to spread its version of Islam everywhere in the world." I doubt you'll argue it.  If I posted some link to CNN that I Googled that said the same thing, you might.  And after all, this is still a "discussion" board, not a "Googled-link posting board" (notwithstanding a few babblers).

jerrym

The fierce fighting continues in Marawi. While the military claims that they are extremely careful in their air strikes, residents, even though most have no use for ISIL-linked Maute insurgents according to an Al Jazeera report, say that is not so and the death of ten soldiers in an air strike suggests otherwise.

Ten Philippines soldiers were killed by "friendly" fire in a military air raid during efforts to take back a southern city sieged by fighters, the defence minister said on Thursday.

Seven other soldiers were wounded on Wednesday when two air force SF-260 close air support planes dropped bombs on a target in the heart of Marawi City, Delfin Lorenzana told reporters. The first plane hit the target but the second missed.

Philippine army vows to save civilians trapped by ISIL-linked fighters in Marawi

"It's very sad to be hitting our own troops," Lorenzana said. "There must be a mistake somewhere, either someone directing from the ground, or the pilot."

The Philippine armed forces have been using a combination of ground operations by soldiers and helicopters air raids to try to dislodge Maute rebels linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, who have occupied parts of Marawi City for eight days.

The Maute group has proven to be a fierce enemy, clinging on to the heart of Marawi City through days of air strikes the military has said are "surgical" and on known rebel targets.

The deaths of the soldiers takes the number of security forces killed to 38, with 19 civilians and 120 rebel fighters killed in the battles in Marawi over the past nine days.

Tens of thousands of people have fled the fighting.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/philippines-10-soldiers-killed-fri...

 

NorthReport

Incident today at shopping mall Not terror related!

bekayne

NorthReport wrote:
Incident today at shopping mall Not terror related!

Of course Trump tweeted about it being terror related.

NDPP

Pimental: CIA May Be Behind Creation of Sayyaf (2000)

https://t.co/y0ozDEPOXI

"Pimental, who is from Mindanao, told a press conference that 'bits of information' have been reaching his office indicating that the American spy agency had a hand in forming Abu Sayyaf - ironically in cahoots with covert units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The Abu Sayyaf were later sent as mujahideen to fight in America's proxy war against the Soviet Red Army in Afghanistan..."

NDPP

NorthReport wrote:
Incident today at shopping mall Not terror related!

NDPP:

ISIS Claims Manila Casino Attack

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/isis-claims-manila-casino-attack-123642155.html

"The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsiblility for an attack on a casino in the Philippine capital Manila that killed at least 36 people on Friday."

jerrym

Al Jazeera is reporting that the ISIL-linked Maute and Abu Sayyef groups are using child soldiers in fighting in Marawi.

An ISIL-linked armed group is using children to fight as soldiers against the Philippine army and filming them for propaganda, images obtained by Al Jazeera reveal.

The Philippine military is battling the Maute and Abu Sayyaf armed groups, which have both declared allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

Scores of people - including dozens of civilians - have been killed in a more than one-week siege in Marawi, a mostly Muslim-populated city of 200,000 people, as troops attempt to flush out fighters.

Most of the fighters with with Maute and Abu Sayyaf are in their 20s, but there is evidence to suggest that boys as young as four are being used as soldiers on the frontline.

 Images obtained by Al Jazeera show children being used as propaganda by ISIL-linked groups [Al Jazeera]

Philippine army commanders say Maute is recruiting children through "hafiz" Quranic study sessions.

Maute has also recruited orphans, particularly targeting the most vulnerable - those whose rebel parents were killed in combat.

http://www.aljazeera.com/video/news/2017/05/philippines-maute-armed-grou...

 

jerrym

The government claims that the attack on the Manila Resort World hotel/casino was not a terrorist attack is full of contradictions, to say the least.

Contradicting statements came from officials of both the Philippine government and Resorts World Manila on Friday. Information released so far also indicate a number of loopholes. 

1. Terror attack or not? 

First, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa downplayed a report that linked the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) to the Resorts World Manila attack. 

It was the terrorism monitoring group SITE that first said an ISIS "Filipino operative" was behind the incident. Eventually, ISIS claimed that its "fighters" carried out the attack. But Dela Rosa claimed it was the handiwork of one man, a "lone wolf". ...

Albayalde said the gunman had tried to steal P113 million ($2.3 million) worth of gambling chips, although he left the backpack on the ground near the stock room.  ...

2. Definition of terror

The other loophole in Albayalde's statement is the way he ruled out terrorism because the gunman "did not shoot anybody." ...

3. How the gunman died

Dela Rosa claimed before 8 am on Friday, "The lone gunman is already neutralized; he's dead. He burned himself inside a hotel room." ... In an earlier media interview, Dela Rosa said the gunman was "killed by our troops."

4. Security guard 'accidentally' shot self?

Police said a security guard sustained a gunshot wound after he accidentally shot himself during Friday's incident.  Resorts World Manila chief operating officer Stephen Reilly said, however, that the security guard sustained the gunshot wound when he exchanged gunfire with the gunman. ...

5. Doubts on robbery angle 

Earlier on Friday, Albayalde told reporters, "There is no indication that this is a terror attack. It is a simple robbery and most likely it was done by a demented person." ... Later, however, the Metro Manila police chief said authorities had some doubts about the robbery angle since the chips cannot be exchanged just anywhere, and the gunman dumped his stash as he fled police.

6. Suspect a long-time guest?

Apolinario said he heard from officials that this was the first time they saw the gunman, so he couldn’t have been a frequent guest.  The Bureau of Fire Protection told Rappler, however, that the suspect had been a "long-time guest" of the casino hotel.

http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/171785-resorts-world-manila-attack-c...

jerrym

While ISIL has released what is the pruported name of the gunman, the Philippine police have not identified him. However, they have claimed he is "probably a foreigner ... likely Caucasian". Security camera pictures show someone who hardly looks Caucasian, suggesting the government may be trying to reduce local and foreign investor fears of a terrorist attack by a Filipino group.

The name of the individual, whom police identified as the "lone wolf" assailant, has not yet been released.

But reports attributed to ISIL media identified the attacker as "Abu Kheir al-Luzonee" and "Abu al-Kheir al-Arkhabili". Manila, where the attack happened, is located in the main Philippine island of Luzon.

One purported ISIL statement also said the casino was targeted because it was "haram" or prohibited. 

Oscar Albayalde, Manila police chief, said the attacker was "probably a foreigner".

"He looks Caucasian, he talks English, he's big and he's white."

The Philippine police has released an image of an armed men taken from closed-circuit television of the casino complex.

But his race and nationality remain in question.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/06/manila-resorts-world-a...

 

jerrym

The Philippine military is predicting it will take a long siege to rid Marawi of its 200 remaining ISIL-linked Maute fighters.

Armed Forces attack helicopters continued to pound Maute terrorists in Marawi City on Monday, as seen in this footage taken by ABS-CBN News' Val Cuenca.

Major General Carlito Galvez, head of the military command in Western Mindanao region, on Monday said as many as 200 fighters from the Maute group and others were still inside Marawi, and had made preparations in advance for a drawn-out standoff.

The militants stocked weapons and food in mosques, tunnels and basements to prepare for a long siege, officials said, as the battle for control of the city came to the end of its second week.

"In houses we take over, we see .50 caliber, .30 caliber, and the ammunition are huge. And the Maute, even if they fight two months they will not starve here," he said a news conference.

http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/06/05/17/watch-attack-choppers-pound-maute-...

 

jerrym

More evidence that this Islamist insurgency will not be over anytime soon, even when they are driven from Marawi. 

For the past two weeks the Philippines army has been fighting Islamist militants in the southern city of Marawi. So far, the conflict has killed at least 170 people, including 20 civilians, and more than 180,000 residents have fled. ... For more than a week the military spokesmen have been offering the same, upbeat outlook in the embattled city of Marawi. The Philippines armed forces controls nearly all of the city, they have been saying; the black-clad militants, who so surprised them by seizing Marawi in the name of so-called Islamic State on 23 May, have taken heavy casualties, and are encircled.

The military will, of course, eventually retake the city. Even fighters happy to die for Islam cannot withstand constant bombardment indefinitely.  But nearly all of the city is still off-limits to non-military personnel. ...

The large, provincial government offices compound on the city outskirts is the only completely secure place in Marawi, and it has become a crowded, noisy operation centre for what is turning into a large-scale humanitarian effort. ...

The Christians, in particular, had lived in terror of what the fanatical Islamists would do if they had found them; non-Muslims have routinely been murdered. ...

Smiling volunteers handed them bottles of water and biscuits, but the children were in the early stages of malnutrition after eleven days with nothing to eat but a small bowl of rice each day. ...

Anparo described how they hid with 70 other Christians in a basement, and how stressed everyone became when the children cried, for fear they would be given away to the gunmen outside. Another mother, a Muslim, said she had to dissuade the militants from taking her 14-year-old son to fight.  Anparo was saved by Norodin Alonto Lucman, a renowned community leader of the local Maranao clan, who would have been allowed to leave at any time.  He chose to hide the 71 Christians in his home, using his authority with the young militants, many of them also Maranaos, to stop them searching the house. ...

Norodin told me many of the fighters he encountered on his doorstep were not locals; they were ethic Tausug and Yakan, he said, from the Sulu archipelago in the far south-west of the country, a stronghold of another ruthless jihadist group, Abu Sayyaf.  This is clear evidence of the alliance believed to have been formed last year between four hard-line Islamist groups on Mindanao, all pledging allegiance to so-called Islamic State.  The acknowledged leader, or amir, of this alliance is Isnilon Hapilon, the Abu Sayyaf commander the military was trying to capture when it inadvertently interrupted the militants' occupation of Marawi last month. ...

But the driving force behind this alliance is the two Maute brothers, both well-educated in the Middle East, and from a prestigious Maranao family.

Like Norodin Alonto Lucman, Omar Solitario is from an older generation of Moro fighters, who waged a more conventional insurgency against the government in the 1970s and 80s, and then became political and business leaders in the ceasefires that have lasted for most of the past two decades.  He is a former mayor of Marawi, and, like Norodin, has family ties to the Mautes. President Duterte has asked him several times to try to mediate, but the young militants, he says, are not interested.  Mr Solitario described seeing the children of his friends being drawn to the extremist groups, who demanded that their parents help fund the militants to show their devotion to Islam. "Their capability to hoodwink youngsters - it's like a magician," he said. ...

Both men are urging President Duterte to accelerate the agreement on Moro autonomy signed by his predecessor, to give the older Moro leaders something to show for their struggle.  But those leaders are accused of growing soft and corrupt in the long years of peace. Frustrated young Muslims are looking for something different. ...

In some ways the crisis of leadership among the Moros mirrors that in the rest of the country. Last year millions of Filipinos, weary of a corrupt and self-seeking political elite, elected a maverick, blunt-speaking mayor from Mindanao as president.  ...

Now Rodrigo Duterte must try to make good on his promise, to find a lasting solution to the violence that has wracked his home-island for so long.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40155369

 

jerrym

The number of IS gunmen, originally estmated at 100, is now numbered as 500 well-armed fighters with a broad array of weapons enabling them to continuing to battle for a long time that was triggered by an attempt to capture one of the leaders of the Maute.

With bomb-proof tunnels, anti-tank weapons hidden in mosques, human shields and a "mastery" of the terrain, Islamist militants holed up in a southern Philippine city are proving a far tougher opponent than military chiefs expected. 

Two weeks after gunmen waving black flags of the Islamic State (IS) group rampaged through the Muslim city of Marawi, initial assertions from authorities that the conflict would be over in days have given way to warnings of a protracted battle.

"The advantage of the (enemy) is their mastery of the terrain. They know where even the smallest alleys lead to and they are free to go around," Major Rowan Rimas, an operations officer for the marines, told reporters in Marawi this week.

"They know where the government forces are coming from and where they are taking cover. They have snipers and their positions are well-defended."

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted at the start of the conflict that security forces were taken by surprise when dozens of gunmen appeared on the streets of Marawi following a failed raid to capture one of their leaders.

They emerged from homes in Marawi, the biggest Islamic city in the mainly Catholic Philippines with 200,000 residents, and went on a rampage that included taking a Catholic priest hostage, opening up two jails and destroying many buildings.

Lorenzana and military leaders have since said they unexpectedly interrupted plans by the militants to take over Marawi in a spectacular event to show that IS had arrived in the Philippines and was intent on carving out a local territory.

They initially estimated there were about 100 gunmen but later said there were as many as 500, supplemented by foreign fighters including from Chechnya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The fighters have also had a surprisingly large arsenal of military hardware, including rocket-propelled grenades and a so-far inexhaustible amount of ammunition for high-powered assault rifles.

http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/06/07/17/long-battle-feared-as-maute-milita...

 

NDPP

CONFIRMED: US Enters Fight Against ISIS in Philippines

http://theduran.com/confirmed-us-enters-fight-isis-philippines/

"...Although the situation in Philippines is not yet as internationalised as that in Syria, there remains a danger that the US could seek to use the crisis as leverage against Duterte's sovereignty-minded policies which remain highly popular among Philippine voters."

NDPP

Duterte Claims 'Never Approached' US For Help in Battle Against Islamist Militias

https://on.rt.com/8ecj

"Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has denied media reports claiming he requested US Special Forces assistance in the battle for Marawi City, saying on Sunday that he 'never approached America' for help. 'I am not aware of that until they arrived,' Duterte said when discussing the latest developments..."

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Sending the troops to the Phillipines to quell civil unrest is a time honoured tradition of US foreign policy. They don't even have to ask, they just have the right to do it.

jerrym

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Sending the troops to the Phillipines to quell civil unrest is a time honoured tradition of US foreign policy. They don't even have to ask, they just have the right to do it.

After 9/11, the US sent began Operation Freedom in the Philippines in 2002.

The U.S. opened a so-called “second front” on terrorism in 2002 by rotating hundreds of troops through to assist with training and surveillance through the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines. The task force was deactivated in 2015 after 13 years as the threat of Abu Sayyaf diminished, although a small number of U.S. special operators remain there.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, elected last summer on a wave of nationalism, has said he wants all American troops out of Mindanao. 

There are now six separate “black flag” groups in the southern Philippines that have pledged loyalty to the Islamic State, the jihadi group that has controlled portions of Iraq and Syria for several years. “Most are small, and individually none really gives me cause for concern,” American National War College professor  Abuza said.

But of particular alarm is a possible nexus between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Ansuar al-Khalifa Philippines. After 40 years of insurgency, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the central government agreed to a peace plan in 2012. But the agreement has languished for several years and some hardline members are growing restless, Abuza said. Some of those hardliners have offered tacit support of Ansar al-Khalifa Philippines, which made an ISIS-style beheading video in 2016 and temporarily seized a Mindanao town in December, he said. ”ISIS has sought to get these different groups under a single banner and command structure,” he said.

https://www.stripes.com/news/jihadis-in-philippines-staging-comeback-as-...

 

jerrym

Just one month after Trump's election, in February, the US announced a major increase in US forces in the Philippines.

At least 750 U.S. soldiers will be working with the Philippine military on the new mission, which expands on previous operations that had been limited to training the island nation's forces and improving infrastructure. This time, the U.S. forces will be allowed to participate actively in combat operations.

The military said 400 U.S. soldiers will be stationed on the island of Zamboanga, and 350 special operations forces will be deployed in the Sulu archipelago.

Eventually, a Marine Corps task force waiting offshore will be able to provide an additional 1,500 troops if needed.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=79668

NDPP

'Dirty' Duterte On the Ropes As ISIS, US Special Forces Crash the Philippines

https://on.rt.com/8ezh

"Failing to understand that the US superpower plays for keeps, Duterte was seeking an amicable separation as opposed to a full-blown bitter divorce. Who couldn't fail to see the parallels between the situation in the Phillipines with that of Syria..."

jerrym

This article gives background on the leaders of the insurgency. 

Twenty years after obtaining Christian education, Muslim brothers Omarkhayam and Abdullah Maute returned to this Central Mindanao city with the black flags of the Islamic State (IS) group and set fire to their alma mater. Hundreds of gunmen, many of them young locals recruited by the Maute brothers, destroyed Dansalan College in a rampage through Marawi City last month as they launched a brutal offensive to stamp their credentials as the IS leaders in the Philippines.

Their bold attack turned the Maute siblings, who are in their mid-30s, into the most infamous high school alumni of the Protestant Church-run institution, which had been a symbol of religious tolerance in the mostly Muslim city of 200,000 people.

The Maute brothers have since remained holed up in Marawi, using their local knowledge of tunnels and bombproof basements to withstand a military offensive that has left entire neighborhoods in ruins and claimed more than 300 lives. ...

The Maute group emerged as a small ragtag group around 2012 from a decades-old Moro separatist rebellion in Mindanao. As the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the main rebel organization, sought to broker peace with the government, the Maute and other small hardline groups filled a vacuum for fanatics as they took inspiration from the atrocities of IS in Iraq and Syria. ...

But the Maute brothers were radicalized much earlier—while they were pursuing studies in the Middle East after college, according to Jones and Rommel Banlaoi, head of the Manila-based Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research. ...

Regardless of whether the Maute brothers are driven out of Marawi, they have established the Philippines as a successful new base for IS, Jones said, pointing to foreign fighters who had been reported killed in the conflict. The military has said that slain fighters have come from countries including Chechnya, Libya, Indonesia and Malaysia. “Suddenly, foreign fighters who [have] never set foot in the Middle East [are] going to Mindanao,” Jones said. “Marawi in particular has become the new sexy destination for jihad,” he added. 

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/906704/radicalized-in-mideast-maute-brother...

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