Philippines: The Alliance Against China

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November 23, 2011: In the south, four roadside bombs were found and disabled at the site of the Maguindanao massacre. A ceremony was to be held there to commemorate those killed by a clan militia, in an attempt to control a local election, two years ago.

On Basilan, more troops and police are being moved in for a major offensive against Abu Sayyaf and their allies (more renegade MILF men, which is how Abu Sayyaf started out in the 1990s.)

November 21, 2011: In the south, a MILF brigade commander and one of his officers were killed during a violent feud with a rival MILF brigade. These MILF brigades (or "base units") are usually organized around existing clans. In the south, clan militias and clan feuds are an old problem which the heavily armed MILF has made worse.

November 19, 2011: In the south, a home-made NPA landmine wounded four soldiers.

November 18, 2011: In the Central Philippines (Northern Samar) police found and captured a camp used by twenty NPA rebels. Taking these camps is one way to cripple the leftist terrorist operations.

The government is doing something new in the perennial efforts to reduce corruption by arresting former senior politicians. Thus former president Gloria Arroyo was arrested for electoral fraud, a charge that can result in a life sentence. She was earlier prevented from leaving the country for medical care. This arrest will lead to a major political battle, which could be accompanied by gunfire and bombs.

November 17, 2011:  The U.S. and the Philippines signed a new defense agreement that provides more training and equipment for Filipino forces, and assurances of American support if the Philippines is threatened by China. This is a serious matter, as China is claiming areas, 80 kilometers off the Philippines coast, where oil exploration is going on. China, in effect, claims all of the South China Sea, and is increasing sending out warships and combat aircraft to scare away any potential opposition.

November 15, 2011:  On Basilan, troops captured three Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

November 12, 2011: In the south, a grenade was thrown at a military checkpoint, wounding four soldiers, one militiaman and two civilians. The leftist NPA was suspected. The NPA continues its extortion campaign against businesses in the south, and its intimidation attacks against the security forces.

November 8, 2011: Some 945 kilometers south of the capital, police found and disabled four roadside bombs. The design of the bombs was similar to that used by an Islamic terror group (Jemaah Islamiyah) that is still being pursued throughout the region.

Peace talks with the NPA are stalled because the leftists insist that several of their leaders be let out of prison before negotiations can continue.

November 7, 2011: For the last week, fighting between MILF factions has left several dozen people dead or wounded. This is basically a clan war, as clans in the south often have militias or combat units associated with MILF. Nasty feuds are another old tradition down there.

 

 

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