Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Duterte says "Hello America"

At first he was like:

But then he was all:


So what's it going to be?  He can't have it both ways. What would prompt such a change? I think it's because the Philippines is finally waking up to the real threat that ISIS poses to both the country and  the  SEA region.


The arrest for the first time confirmed earlier suspicion that the militant group, responsible for deadly attacks in key cities around the world, had reached the Philippines. 
Confirmed for the first time?  First time? Abu Sayyaf publicly pledged allegiance to ISIS last year.


Just a few days ago it was reported that ISIS fighters returning from the Middle East would be regrouping in the Philippines.


Battle-hardened Southeast Asian Islamic State (IS) fighters returning from the Middle East following the group's setbacks are expected to rebase in Mindanao, a security conference heard Tuesday.

Instability and the easy flow of weapons have made Mindanao and nearby Philippine islands attractive to extremist groups, said speakers at the Milipol conference on homeland security in Singapore.

"Currently, IS is moving towards creating a territory in southern Philippines. The most recent communication issued by IS has announced that they have formally declared an East Asia division of IS in the southern Philippines," counterterrorism analyst Rohan Gunaratna told the conference.

"Our forecast for 2017 is that the threat in this region will grow because of the creation of an IS nucleus in the southern Philippines," added Gunaratna.

"The instability in the southern Philippines and the availability of weapons, internal displacement, refugee flows... create the ripe conditions for foreign terrorists to come," he told AFP after his speech.

Abu Sayyaf's modus operandi is kidnapping foreigners and holding them for ransom. The threat from this group has moved from the fringes of Mindanao to the Central Viayas.


Is the Philippines finally waking up to the threat that Abu Sayyaf poses? It seems so.  It also seems that Duterte realises the Philippines cannot contain this problem on their own.  They simply do not have the firepower.  Or the troops.  They are resorting to using civilian militiamen rather than only professional soldiers.

The military said soldiers from the 4th Special Forces Battalion and members of the the civilian active auxiliary (CAA) were on patrol after setting up their detachment when they encountered the Abu Sayyaf group at Barangay Cabcaban around 7:15 a.m.
Why is the Philippine Army using civilian soldiers?  What is stopping them from sending every professional soldier into Mindanao and absolutely destroying Abu Sayyaf?

We all do stupid things we later regret and of which we repent. Hopefully Duterte's repentance is genuine. History, past and present, has shown that the Philippines cannot fight terrorism on its own.  They have neither the firepower nor the will.  If they had the will they wouldn't be waking up just now to the fact that ISIS has established itself in the Philippines and poses a grave threat to the country and the region.

On the other hand the United States has no obligation to help the Philippines. Can they even trust the waffling Duterte? Without a declaration of war by the US Congress any military action would be unconstitutional.  A little known fact is that the US has not declared war since WW2.  That makes every conflict since then illegal.

Surely the USA can help out by providing logistical and tactical support and arms rather than putting troops in a another Southeast Asian jungle. It remains to be seen what kind of aid will be provided and what Duterte will accept.

Let's hope this is a prelude to victory against ISIS in the Philippines.

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