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Thread: Philippines (2012 onwards, inc OEF)

  1. #61
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Captain Cook wouldn't have had the incident all over the global media.

    Last April the US and the Philippines signed an "Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement" providing the US a substantially higher level of military access than the original VFA granted. The agreement was politically controversial and generated some hostility in the Philippines, partly from the left and partly from social conservatives and religious groups who retain distasteful memories of Angeles and Olongapo back in the day. There are organized groups eagerly waiting to make maximum political capital out of any possible incident, and they just got one that was beyond their wildest dreams.

    Now you have an international incident, a huge embarrassment, two ships held up pending the outcome of an investigation, a Pacific Fleet Commander and a US Ambassador on the hot seat and (I'm sure) royally pissed off... all because nobody realized that a curfew and a no-alcohol order might have prevented a whole lot of trouble.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Default Interesting days in Central Mindanao...

    This story is still evolving and details are sketchy, but...

    Apparently a Manila-based team from the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (sort of a combined SWAT/Hostage Rescue/Counterterrorist unit) went to a deeply rural section of Central Mindanao, an area under MILF/BIFF control, and tried to arrest two wanted JI terrorists, Marwan and Basit Usman. In the process, and in the middle of the night, they either directly attacked or stumbled into a camp of the MILF 105th Brigade, a unit closely associated with breakaway BIFF Leader Umeril Umbra Kato. The details are shaky, but apparently at least 30 of the police team were killed, some reports from the field saying over 50, along with much smaller numbers of BIFF and/or MILF. The difference between those is often shaky. An acquaintance from the area with MILF connections comments:

    In that area, almost all major commanders from different factions are inter related by blood. An invasion force of 50 or 60 commandos is not enough to take on a heavily armed community. What is AFP going to do? Complain at the IMT? By now, the area is reinforced with different groups not controlled by the MILF. It is a blood feud, rido.

    The size of the PNP team is not clear at this point, and few details of the actual mission are public (a sanitized version is probably being concocted). It does appear that there was no coordination with Philippine Army units in the area, and that when things went wrong the police team had nobody to call for help. There are still questions: the fighting apparently went on for some time; there are significant army and air force assets in the area, and it is not entirely clear whether there was any attempt to assist the group, or if not, why not.

    The PNP is claiming that Marwan was killed in the fighting, but he's been killed several times before and always seems to reanimate.

    This area is nominally covered by the Government/MILF peace negotiations, under which each side are expected to advise the other of operations. That clearly did not happen.

    A lot more information will emerge, much of it probably distorted to serve various views. The peace negotiations, which already seems to be dead in the water, are a likely casualty.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    That is a pretty dire analysis Dayuhan, but if the report is correct I agree it certainly falls into the realm of the possible. I hope the report of the PNP losing large numbers of officers is inaccurate, since they are some the Philippine's best. As for coordinating with the Army, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Too many people in the Army won't hesitate to make a cell phone call to X who will call Y, and the operation is compromised.

    In hindsight, if the report is accurate, there are certainly indications of planning not supported by the larger intelligence picture. If the Filipinos are listening to us, they may have lost the ability to look at the larger picture. This is a result of the misleading HVI focus, where security forces tend to look at the world through a soda straw focused on HVIs. HVIs may actually be important, but that doesn't mean you can ignore the larger context. This time they focused on Marwan (I think he has been killed at least 5 times now), and may have failed to see the larger picture. Marwan certainly needs to die, but even if all the HVIs in the Philippines were killed it won't change much. Waging war focused on HVIs doesn't work, and more than a decade of doing this we still fail to recognize this. Killing HVIs is a supporting tactical operation, not a strategy.

    For now, just hoping this report is greatly exaggerated. Also hoping Marwan is actually dead.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    The BBC's report, no doubt compiled at a distance:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30978014
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    The reports do not appear to be exaggerated. Official counts vary but range around 50 dead. The MILF is saying 64 PNP dead have been recovered:

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/668150/...ps-were-killed

    There is very little clarity on the mission planning, the actual sequence of events, or why they were not able to extract or reinforce the unit. Reports indicate that the fighting went on for 12 hours, starting pre-dawn on Sunday morning and lasting all day. Some reports say that Army reinforcements were sent but encountered opposition, others say no help arrived. Air assets were apparently not deployed.

    A lot of what is being said now sounds like people desperately scrambling to cover their backsides.

    The area in question is badland, about as bad as it gets. It is absolutely ungoverned space with a heavily armed and highly disaffected populace, many of whom have been fighting all their lives. Both MILF and BIFF units operate in the area, but the distinction is nominal at best: all of them are linked by tribal and blood relations and they will all fight together against an intruder. The MILF position is that they could have kept their people out of the fight if there had been coordination as required under the current truce, but that may or may not be the case. The area is marshland and heavily overgrown, with few roads. Vehicles cannot operate off road and movement is very slow. The ground is flat with few vantage points or reference points and it is very easy to get lost in the marshes. Even if you know where you are, if you aren't familiar with the ground it is very hard to move around. There's a lot of deep water, deep mud, heavy brush.

    Some reports say the PNP unit raided a BIFF camp and stumbled into an MILF camp during an attempted retreat. That is very much unconfirmed and I don't think any reliable account of the encounter exists. Some social media reports from the area say that the group was seen moving in on Saturday, in plain clothes and unmarked vehicles but in those towns it would be virtually impossible to move in any numbers without people noticing.

    Why they chose a direct raid into the hornet nest is not clear. The last time they had a location on Marwan they put a JDAM through the roof... they didn't get him, but they didn't kill 50+ policemen either. There is speculation that the reward was an issue or that a high profile arrest was sought, also that inter-service rivalry may have come into play. That of course is entirely speculative at this point. Whether or not truth will emerge is another story. I imagine there are a bunch of classified US communications flying around at this point that would be very interesting to see. There is a lot of confusion on the Government side; it appears that even senior police officials were not aware of the operation until it was in progress.

    I agree that the strategic value of targeting these individuals is limited, though catching would be a propaganda coup and the reward may have been a factor.

    As for the peace process... it was already in deep trouble, and at this point it has about the survival prospects of a snowball in a Mindanao marsh. Maybe when this all dies down it can be revived, but those who opposed it a along, and there are many of them, are having a field day and will not let this go any time soon.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default OEF-P ends

    After 13 years of providing operational advice and support, the U.S. special operations mission in the Philippines, which was set up to help the Philippine military fight an Islamic militancy in the country’s south, is officially coming to a close..... According to local reports, U.S. JSOTF-P personnel joined their Philippines counterparts in a flag-raising ceremony in Zamboanga City to symbolize the conclusion of the U.S. mission.
    Link:http://thediplomat.com/2015/03/us-co...-philippines/?
    davidbfpo

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    WarPorcus,

    I'm not sure what statistics you're looking for, but I'll do a search through my computer tomorrow and see what I have for foreign fighter flow from Southeast Asia. A few reports point to several foreign fighters being disillusioned by ISIL's extreme behavior, so hopefully that trend continues. As for Indonesia and the Philippines (similar but still very different), JI and ASG's initial core were foreign fighters from Afghanistan during the USSR occupation. The vast majority of fighters returning that conflict didn't engage in terrorism, but it only takes a handful to have a strategic impact.

    We can't compare this to the Crusades where Christians go out and fight and return to their Christian homes, nations that were already somewhat extremist on the Christian side. Fighters today are returning to countries that don't embrace their extreme (and illegitimate) beliefs, so some seek to impose their views via violence. Indonesia from what I can gather from a few short trips there, discussions with experts, and reading is that the government is doing a relatively good job of addressing the concerns of their people (within reason in a developing country), so people aren't fighting because they're being discriminating against. They're fighting to impose their extreme and unpopular beliefs. We're talking Martin L. King freedom marches here (lol).

    The Philippines is another issue altogether, since their government does discriminate against their Muslim population. The government does little to address the concerns of their Muslim population, and while President Aquino has a been light of hope, his time is getting short, and not unlike our system their Congress is corrupt and eager to undo much of the progress he has made. I project the situation will devolve for the worse in the Philippines.

    Regardless of the conditions on the ground, the terrorists in these countries will reconnect, or strengthen their existing links with global terrorist networks based on foreign fighter flow to support ISIL. That points to a bigger challenge for security forces. I also think those who were repulsed by ISIL may find al-Qaeda more attractive if they're still looking a group to affiliate with. Reportedly, the jihadist websites/blogs in Indonesia contain a fierce internal debate between jihadists on whether to support ISIL or AQ.

    For one, I see no reason this will go away in 10 years, but hopefully it can be contained to a manageable level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    WarPorcus,

    I'm not sure what statistics you're looking for, but I'll do a search through my computer tomorrow and see what I have for foreign fighter flow from Southeast Asia. A few reports point to several foreign fighters being disillusioned by ISIL's extreme behavior, so hopefully that trend continues. As for Indonesia and the Philippines (similar but still very different), JI and ASG's initial core were foreign fighters from Afghanistan during the USSR occupation. The vast majority of fighters returning that conflict didn't engage in terrorism, but it only takes a handful to have a strategic impact.

    We can't compare this to the Crusades where Christians go out and fight and return to their Christian homes, nations that were already somewhat extremist on the Christian side. Fighters today are returning to countries that don't embrace their extreme (and illegitimate) beliefs, so some seek to impose their views via violence. Indonesia from what I can gather from a few short trips there, discussions with experts, and reading is that the government is doing a relatively good job of addressing the concerns of their people (within reason in a developing country), so people aren't fighting because they're being discriminating against. They're fighting to impose their extreme and unpopular beliefs. We're talking Martin L. King freedom marches here (lol).

    The Philippines is another issue altogether, since their government does discriminate against their Muslim population. The government does little to address the concerns of their Muslim population, and while President Aquino has a been light of hope, his time is getting short, and not unlike our system their Congress is corrupt and eager to undo much of the progress he has made. I project the situation will devolve for the worse in the Philippines.

    Regardless of the conditions on the ground, the terrorists in these countries will reconnect, or strengthen their existing links with global terrorist networks based on foreign fighter flow to support ISIL. That points to a bigger challenge for security forces. I also think those who were repulsed by ISIL may find al-Qaeda more attractive if they're still looking a group to affiliate with. Reportedly, the jihadist websites/blogs in Indonesia contain a fierce internal debate between jihadists on whether to support ISIL or AQ.

    For one, I see no reason this will go away in 10 years, but hopefully it can be contained to a manageable level.
    Bill--will give you a short story on just how shortsighted the US government, the US IC and just about the entire senior military leadership has been since 1993 when it comes to guerrilla warfare and Islamic insurgents.

    Back in 1991-1993 when the US Army had a light infantry fighting division the 7th they came to our Reserve Intel Center near the Presidio and asked if we could design a "guerrilla/insurgent scenario" for them to train all non intel types in their BN staffs for the whole division--they picked this as it was similar to their Panama mission and their general outlook on how they were going to be used in the future.

    And presto the 7th "disappeared" after the training was completed as we were in the "peace dividend drawdown" and there were going to be "no future needs for a light infantry division focused on UW/guerrilla warfare".

    I together with a great Order of battle Tech (which "disappeared as well) then took the NEO for the Philippines and designed a complete 10 day scenario around no other than Abu Sayyaf who many at that time had heard not much from--we built then a robust guerrilla scenario focusing on driving staff functions designed to first detect what actually was ongoing, define the players and human terrain, design a info war messaging and then design a robust military response using light fighters coupled with Philippino military while protecting the civilian populations as much as possible.

    After 10 days the staffs were exhausted but they had developed into a solid C-UW thinking team and had now a far deeper understanding of guerrilla warfare than when they came to us.

    Fort Huachuca wanted a complete copy of the scenario and over 3000 messages as this was the day of the 289 computers and all was done by hand and typewriter.

    THEN suddenly after they reviewed it--came the following "we anticipate no future guerrilla warfare or UW conflicts" and thanks for the efforts and it was canned somewhere in the depths of Ft. H.

    Now 23 years later we are facing again what and where?? What a wasted 23 years when some truly saw what was coming at us over the horizon and the political and military leadership felt "peace was forever".

    Remember it was the Philippines where we lost a truly great former SF officer/VN POW COL Rowe (remember this was 1989) in an out right assassination- who by the way knew it was coming as he called his wife the evening before to check on "legal things "and said goodbye something he had never done--and by the way that assassination was never fully investigated and had it's ties to the Islamic side of the house and some say the KGB. They had fired into what was later proven to be the only weak point in the armored glass which reflected someone knew our armored glass production and deficiencies.

    It was there in 1993 for all to see--just no one wanted to seriously connect the dots to include the IC.

    This fight has been with us since the very early 80s and it is not going away any time soon and the guesses of within the next 20 years is also wrong since the fight has been on since 1979 beginning with the name called Khomeini.

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    Bill M--someone is seeing the light finally in the Philippines.

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino called on lawmakers Friday to pass a bill endorsing a pact aimed at ending a decades-long Muslim separatist rebellion, warning them they would otherwise start counting "body bags".

    Aquino had wanted the bill, which would give autonomy to the majority Catholic nation's Muslim minority in the south, passed this month.
    But Congress suspended debates on the proposed law in the face of public outrage over the killings of 44 police commandoes by Muslim guerrillas in a botched anti-terror raid in January.

    The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace deal a year ago Friday, had said its members fired in self-defence at the commandoes, who passed through a rebel camp while going after Islamic militants.

    "This is the crossroads we face: we take pains to forge peace today, or we count body bags tomorrow," Aquino said in a nationwide television address.
    "Perhaps it is easy for you to push for all-out war," he said, hitting out at critics who have condemned the peace deal with the MILF.
    "But if the conflict grows, the number of Filipinos shooting at other Filipinos will grow, and it would not be out of the question that a friend or loved one be one of the people who will end up inside a body bag."

    The rebellion for a separate state or self-rule has claimed nearly 120,000 lives and cost billions of dollars in economic losses, according to government estimates.
    Under a peace deal signed with the MILF, the 10,000-member group pledged to disarm while the Philippine government vowed to pass an autonomy law in Muslim areas of the south.

    "The Bangsamoro basic law is one of the most important proposed bills of our administration. It answers the two most pressing problems of our countrymen: poverty and violence," Aquino said Friday.
    He warned it would be difficult to restart peace talks if the current process failed and the MILF leadership lost its influence among its members to more radical elements.
    Aquino is required by the constitution to stand down in mid-2016 after serving a single six-year term.

    The January police raid sought to capture or kill two men on the US government's list of "most wanted terrorists" who were living among Muslim rebels in southern Philippine farming communities.
    One of the men, Malaysian national Zulkifli bin Hir who had a $5-million bounty on his head, was reported killed.
    But the other, Filipino Abdul Basit Usman, escaped as rebels surrounded and killed the police commandoes.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-27-2015 at 10:46 PM. Reason: Copied to here, from an un=related thread

  10. #70
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    someone is seeing the light finally in the Philippines.

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino called on lawmakers Friday to pass a bill endorsing a pact aimed at ending a decades-long Muslim separatist rebellion, warning them they would otherwise start counting "body bags".
    This has been an ongoing effort for some time, but at this point has about a snowball's chance on Taft Avenue in April of passing. Legislators have lined up against it since the Mamasapano incident, and it has become a political football, with prominent legislators lining up to tap the anti-Muslim sentiment that prevails among the majority population and turn the agreement into a nationalist issue. With an election coming up in 2016 that is likely to continue. Aquino has taken a beating; the incident was quickly and effectively exploited by his political rivals blaming him for the outcome and claiming that he's in league with Islamic radical separatist terrorists. It's becoming a bit of a circus, but the outcome looks likely to be a rejected agreement and very likely a return to open conflict.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 03-31-2015 at 04:51 AM.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    This is what happens when targeting individuals becomes the strategy versus an action that supports the strategy. I think they were close to a strategic victory, but based on what you said, victory is no where in sight now.

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    All good, effective, durable COIN begins with civil leaders creating and good laws and policies that offer a viable political alternative to the aggrieved population that insurgent groups emerge from or exploit. The US Civil Rights laws that allowed the US to turn the corner on the growing instability and violence of the Civil Rights movement is a great example. The British decision to give up colonial political control over Malaya and to pass laws granting suffrage and equal opportunity to the entire population as the military created time and space is another great example. The government of the Philippines has a chance to follow in those footsteps with Bangsamoro. I hope they do not blink and miss this opportunity.

    Some of the darkest illegal violence of the civil rights movement occurred after the laws were passed. These types of human drama can not be turned on (by ideology) or off (by law) like a switch. They build over time as trust is violated, and must wane over time as well as trust is restored.

    Maybe if the US took the bounty off the heads of these men it would help give peace a chance.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    This is what happens when targeting individuals becomes the strategy versus an action that supports the strategy. I think they were close to a strategic victory, but based on what you said, victory is no where in sight now.
    I agree on the issue of targeting individuals. In this case the individual concerned may have been of less value than some believe, as argued by Sidney Jones, one of the more credible analysts coverings SE Asian Jihadis:

    http://file.understandingconflict.or...n_Mindanao.pdf

    How close victory was is open to question. The agreement may or may not have brought peace (there were formidable obstacles to come in the implementation) but was at least a step in that direction. Even if it had passed the legislature, though, there were already strong indications that the Supreme Court would shoot it down, partly because the Court is dominated by Manila-centric individuals determined to preserve the prerogatives of "imperial Manila", partly because the Court has an adversarial relationship with Aquino and would be only too happy to torpedo one of his signature initiatives. Politics are always with us.

    Aquino might have been able to get an agreement through earlier in his tenure, when he still had more pull with the legislature and the Court. As it is, with coalitions fracturing and individuals lining up their alliances for the 2016 election, there is little chance of getting an inherently unpopular piece of legislation through even the legislature, let alone the Court. Aquino has made powerful enemies among the traditional politicians and the Catholic Church, and they are lining up to chop him down now that he's vulnerable. His own manner has at times made their job easier.

    If the peace can be held up that long, it is arguably possible that the process could be revived under a new administration, but that seems a slim hope, as 2016 looks likely to be a step backward on multiple fronts. It is hard to be optimistic, and it looks likely, if not desirable, that we will become interesting again.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    If the peace can be held up that long, it is arguably possible that the process could be revived under a new administration, but that seems a slim hope, as 2016 looks likely to be a step backward on multiple fronts. It is hard to be optimistic, and it looks likely, if not desirable, that we will become interesting again.
    On the other side of the equation, I can't help but wondering if the younger MILF leaders emerging will be willing to abide by the draft agreement. Seems ISIS has already regenerated a new wave of radicalism far beyond Syria and Iraq. As Colin Gray titled one of his more recent books, it will be another bloody century.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    On the other side of the equation, I can't help but wondering if the younger MILF leaders emerging will be willing to abide by the draft agreement. Seems ISIS has already regenerated a new wave of radicalism far beyond Syria and Iraq. As Colin Gray titled one of his more recent books, it will be another bloody century.
    I don't see ISIS as a major factor... certainly the more radical factions (not all of them young) identify with ISIS, but if ISIS wasn't there they'd identify with something else. If this agreement falls apart, as seems likely, I do expect some significant changes in the MILF and in the separatist movement in general, with the radicals and those who see negotiation as pointless gaining traction and the negotiation-minded factions losing traction. This will be the second time that the negotiators have signed an agreement only to have the Philippine government reject it; if negotiation does not bring results it's hard to see why they would continue on that course.

    The problem at root is that while some Philippine leaders are willing to negotiate, the majority of the populace remains heavily Islamophobic and regards any concession as a betrayal. It's an easy soapbox to get up on, it wins broad approval, and it's supported by a heavily Manila-centric judiciary.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Default How things start...

    A bit up this thread I posted some observations from time spent in Wao, Lanao del Sur, a town with a Cristian settler majority and Maranao Muslim minority, at the edge of the Central Mindanao conflict zone.

    A few days ago this story broke, from the same place:

    http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories...-for-sobriety/

    In short: 3 kids, from the Christian settler community were tending water buffaloes. Men wearing "bonnets" (generally a balaclava-type hat covering the face) stole the buffaloes. Two of the kids, ages 13 and 15, were killed with machetes, the 15 year old may have been raped as well. The youngest kid escaped and reported that the killers had left in the direction of a Maranao village.

    Early the next morning a large contingent of armed men arrived in that village and shot the place up, killing a number of residents, including at least one pregnant woman, and injuring others. Quantities of 5.56mm and 7.62mm casings were recovered, and 40mm grenades were employed.

    According to the official story, all the officials in the picture are urging calm and sobriety and promising to track down and arrest all of the various perpetrators. Whether they do so in time remains to be seen, as there are reports on the ground of armed men arriving from surrounding areas to support their respective relatives and allies.

    I made some inquiries among people I know in that area, and got sent this account, from an unnamed source:

    On April 25, 2014 at exactly 4:30 dawn, twelve Maranao residents at Sitio Magampong of Wao, Lanao del Sur were massacred by the men of Wao Municipal Mayor Balicao and the private army of the mayor's son, brgy chairman Balicao with the protection of the Batallion Commander of the 6 IB of the AFP assigned in the area.

    A day before the incident, a girl and one man were killed by two Christian men of the municipal mayor covering their faces with bonnet and rustled their two cows. The son of the municipal mayor who is the barangay chairman together with his private army informed all the Maranao residents to hide their arms if they have because the AFP men is going to conduct search and seizure in their houses. Taking heed to the information, the residents hid their arms. But in the early dawn, upon instruction of the Mayor and his son who is the barangay chairman in the sitio went to the houses of the Maranao residents and met a certain pregnant Maranao woman along the way and shot her mercilessly to death. They proceeded to the houses and more than 70 of them in number fired at the houses where there were sleeping residents causing the death of 5 residents. The son of Balicao with his BAR went upstairs and shot those who were still alive to death. One of the victims who has the .38 caliber shot the culprit causing him to jump out from the house. While he was downstairs, he ordered his private army and the closed in body guards of the mayor to fire at them until there was sound of silence. They left the area causing 5 dead and 7 seriously wounded. When they left, they were shouting with joy and laughing louder proceeding to the houses of the Balicaos rendering their reports.

    The victims who were seriously wounded were brought to the nearby hospitals.

    On Sunday 26 April 2015, Gov. Bombit Adiong went to the area and called a meeting with Mayor Balicao and his son to discuss the incident. It was clearly implied in all the statements of the mayor that his men and private army of his son were the ones who massacred the innocent Maranao civilians.


    I am NOT saying the above is true: it could easily be embellished or invented. There are many inconsistencies between this account and the published accounts, but that is normal in these incidents, and each source often has a different account. It's significant, though, because it is circulating among the Muslim side and is being widely accepted as fact. People act on what they believe, not what is true.

    My own take... I am not convinced that the initial crimes were a deliberate provocation. That area has a significant drug problem, mainly crystal meth. A buffalo is a quick money theft, and that kind of theft and the gratuitous violence that accompanied it could easily be a straight crime with no political overtone... or not, of course.

    The revenge killings could very easily have involved approval of or even cooperation by local officials... in fact it's hard to believe that a raid on that scale could be organized and carried out without their knowledge, as they keep their armed groups under fairly close control. The habit of collective punishment, and responding to a crime by attacking the village the criminals are believed to come from is well entrenched. I can't say that it definitely was the work of local officials, but it seems entirely possible to me. The habit of blaming the other is well entrenched, and if the suspects were seen heading in the direction of a village that would be interpreted by many as sufficient cause for a raid.

    The involvement of the military is possible but doubtful; the (Christian settler) local militias would have sufficient men and weapons to carry out the raid on their own. These are groups of semi-trained local men that are paid and armed by the government, nominally under military command but in practice typically under control of local elites and officials. The distinction between these militias and the "private armies" of these elites and officials is spotty at best.

    Where it goes from here remains to be seen. On both sides you have official forces, the MILF and the Philippine Army, who would prefer to avoid wider conflict. You also have heavily armed irregular militias on both sides who are out for revenge and spoiling for a fight. It could blow up into a serious clash, or it could calm down and become just one more in a long history of smaller flare-ups.

    Likely it will go nowhere, but it remains of interest, I think, as an illustration of how conflict can spark in a polarized community with a strong "us vs them" polarization, a history of violence, and a lot of loose arms.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  17. #77
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    Default Screening: War is a Tender Thing

    Coming up The Frontline Club, London on Friday and the meeting will be added on their YouTube page shortly afterwards:
    The southern Philippines has a long history of conflict, with armed groups including Muslim separatists, communists, clan militias and criminal groups all active in the area. Most of the conflict in the south has taken place in the remote and flowering islands of central Mindanao. Adjani Arumpac is a Filipina filmmaker whose ancestors lived in the troubled region of Mindanao, where Muslim insurgents have waged war against the central government for four decades.
    Arumpac’s film War is a Tender Thing reveals the aftermath of decades of war in the Philippines through stories recounted by the filmmaker’s family. Arumpac grew up in the battlefield of the ‘Land of Promise’ or Mindanao. Digging deep into the history of the integration of cultures brought together by state-sponsored land resettlement in the 1930s, Arumpac arrives at the root of the longstanding conflict — the massive migration within the country wherein ancestral Muslim and indigenous peoples’ lands were given by the Philippine government to Christian settlers from the capital.
    Link:http://www.frontlineclub.com/screeni...nder-thing-qa/
    davidbfpo

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    Default Two Soldiers I Served With Died In The Philippines. They Didn’t Have To.

    Two Soldiers I Served With Died In The Philippines. They Didn’t Have To.

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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-12-2016 at 09:41 AM.

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    Default U.S. Special Operations Forces in the Philippines, 2001–2014

    U.S. Special Operations Forces in the Philippines, 2001–2014

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