Philippines: Blame The Americans

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December 8,2008: The communist NPA has been increasingly active in the south, where they have been deadly at ambushing army and police patrols. Planting mines in dirt roads is a particularly nasty tactic, which usually results in single vehicle patrols being wiped out. But the NPA is a shrinking organization, increasingly reduced to small bands of deadly, but desperate bandits.

On Basilan island, soldiers and marines have suffered nearly fifty casualties in the last two days, as they went on the offensive against MILF and Abu Sayyaf forces. The MILF on Basilan have long helped Abu Sayyaf (former MILF members who went radical and teamed with al Qaeda), but now the Basilan MILF are pretty much Abu Sayyaf allies.

December 6, 2008: Tipped off by civilians, police captured two members of a three man MILF terrorist team that had come from Basilan island to Zamboanga City, on the main southern island of Mindanao. The three terrorists were to carry out some kidnappings, in cooperation with some other MILF members who are not being sought by police..

December 5, 2008: In the south, a bomb made from two mortar shells and a cell phone, went off and wounded three soldiers. In the capital, police interrupted an elaborate robbery (of a bus company headquarters) by a large gang disguised as policemen. This led to a gun battle in a residential neighborhood, that left eleven criminals, four civilians and a policeman dead. A lot of Filipino criminal gangs are very old school, with dozens of heavily armed members and a taste for very big, and very risky, operations. The rebel groups, like the NPA and MILF, are organized in a similar fashion, with similar attitudes and tactics.

December 3, 2008: In the south, police arrested a Pakistani man, and seized his bomb building operation, including a quantity of explosives. This man was believed responsible for several of the bombs that went off in the south recently.

December 2, 2008: In the south, police arrested a Jemaah Islamiyah (Muhammand Alpariz, a Bangladeshi) bomb builder. Alpariz was one of 58 foreign terrorists police believe are hiding out in the south.

December 1, 2008: The MILF is feeling hung out to dry. It's radical fringe has turned into Islamic terrorists, and brought down all sorts of unwelcome international heat. Locally, the Moslem population in the south has become disenchanted with the separatist cause, and the presence of the MILF militia groups. The MILF acts as a second government, but takes more than it provides, at least compared to the national government. In a desperate move, the MILF is trying to get U.S. support for its cause by blaming the United States for the plight of the Moslems in the southern Philippines (because when the U.S. set the Philippines free in 1946, the Moslem south was not allowed to be an independent state.) The Moslem south would be a very poor, very violent and very corrupt place if it were a separate country.

November 29, 2008: On many days, most of the casualties in the Moslem south are the result of clan feuds. Yesterday, one of these clan feuds led to 13 people being wounded when two grenades were tossed into homes. Elsewhere in the south, a bomb was spotted outside a church and disabled. This was the third such bomb found in the area in the last week. The long-standing atmosphere of violence in the south is not difficult to turn against Christians, who are seen as another clan worth feuding with.

 

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