Philippines: Factions Within Factions

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December 5, 2007: Moslem separatists are under a lot of grass roots pressure, by their three million Moslem constituents in the south, to sign the peace deal, and move forward. The MILF has factions that do not want to sign, either because they want more concessions (mainly in the form of cash or similar benefits), or want to hold out for a separate Moslem state. It's feared that these factions will again splinter off, and keep the separatist violence going. That's what happened in the 1990s, when the separatist group MNLF made a deal with the government. Their rival, the MILF kept fighting.

December 2, 2007: The communist NPA announced that it was going to increase its decades old effort to overthrow the government. The NPA is encouraged by the success of European leftists to get the UN to condemn the Filipino government for not stopping the murder of leftist activists by their enemies in the police and army.

November 30, 2007: Three Basilan politicians are being charged with the murder, by bomb, of another Basilan politician last month. The killing, which took place in the capital, outside the House of Representatives, reminded everyone that, in the Moslem south, political and clan feuds tend to get very nasty. Meanwhile, military operations on Basilan, against Islamic terrorists have resulted in over twenty dead in the past few days.

November 29, 2007: A group of soldiers seized a luxury hotel in the capital and called on the army to overthrow the government. Police came and arrested the rebellious soldiers. This is typical of the coup attempts in the Philippines for the last decade or so. Mostly it's small groups of lower ranking officers carrying out a poorly planned, and unsupported effort that quickly fails. This one was led by officers already on trial for a failed 2003 coup. This time around, they had the support of some leftist politicians and activists.

 

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