Philippines: Japan Sides With Moslem Rebels

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July 28, 2007: Canada and Japan sided with the MILF and forced the government to halt their search for the MILF gunmen who had ambushed and killed fourteen marines. Canada and Japan threatened to shut down major aid projects in the south if the military did not halt their search operations. Since the money from these aid operations is a major attraction for the MILF leadership, the loss would make the Moslem leadership very angry and less likely to work out a peace deal. These peace negotiations are mostly about how large a bribe the MILF and southern politicians will get to stop fighting. The government will not openly admit that, and is trying to get things built in the south that help the general population, and cannot be stolen by corrupt local officials. This corruption down south is what wrecked previous peace deals. The government pours money into the Moslem south, local leaders steal most of it, and then another rebellion starts because of the continuing poverty. Japan is the major donor to the Philippines, and has poured nearly a billion dollars a year into the Moslem south over the last decade. Japan wants the government to play down the deaths of the 14 marines (who were looking for an Italian priest kidnapped by Islamic terrorists allied with the MILF). But the government will have a major morale problem with some of their most effective military units (the marines), if the killers are not caught and brought to justice. The MILF knows who the killers are, but refuses to help bring them in. This is largely because the MILF is split into factions, some of whom back continued kidnapping and terrorism.

July 27, 2007: Taiwanese police have uncovered an extortion racket involving Filipino naval officers. At least two Filipino patrol boats have caught Taiwanese fishing boats illegally operating in Filipino waters. The Filipino offer to let the fishing boat captains pay a lower fine, directly to the officers, rather than pay a larger fine and have their boats detained in a Filipino port.

 

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