Philippines: Islamic Terrorist Threat Grows

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July 5, 2007: The government is intensifying its counter-terror operations, to insure that there are no attacks during the ASEAN meeting this July 22nd. With al Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiah (JI) badly crippled in Indonesia, many JI members have fled to the Philippines. There, they are not a lot safer. But because Moslems are a minority in the Philippines, the Islamic terrorists are finding it easier to find remote areas where the locals (Moslems) will not tip off the police. JI technical experts (especially bomb builders) have made Abu Sayyaf attacks more lethal.

July 4, 2007: Rogue MILF rebels in the south are demanding a million dollar ransom for an Italian priest they have kidnapped. The MILF has backed away from using force to free the priest. The MILF is suffering many defections of late, as the ceasefire has caused a cash crunch among many MILF units. The ceasefire has forced the MILF to curtail their raids and extortion operations, which paid to maintain the armed members.

July 3, 2007: The NPA is making the most of recent revelations that army death squads have been murdering leftist NPA supporters over the last few years. There is great animosity in the military against the leftist NPA, which has been killing soldiers, and even civilians, for decades. There has been death squad activity in the past. The government eventually clamps down on the death squads, but the NPA is trying to revive foreign support for themselves by portraying themselves innocent victims of death squad attacks. The NPA is not innocent, but they need that foreign support (which has faded of late because the NPA has been labeled a terrorist organization.)

July 1, 2007: The army and police have launched a new search operation against Abu Sayyaf on Jolo island.

June 29, 2007: A group of about fifty NPA gunmen have launched an offensive against police and civilians in the southern Philippines. In two days of battles, the NPA killed one policeman and six civilian village guards. The latter are a paramilitary organization organized by the government, to help villages keep the NPA out. The NPA lives by extorting "taxes" from civilians. The NPA prefers to go after businesses (they have more money), but will live off villagers if they have to.

June 27, 2007: Abu Sayyaf has split into three factions, and it's uncertain if they have been able to agree on who will be the new leader of the entire group. There appears to be a struggle between Abu Sayyaf members with al Qaeda connections, and those who see the organization as more of a local operation. It appears that there are only about 400 Abu Sayyaf still active, and most are on the move to avoid capture.

 

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