Saturday, January 21, 2017

Islamic terrorists in the Philippines find the going tough


Austin Bay points out that in the Philippines, President Duterte's tough anti-drug, anti-crime rhetoric is being matched by equally tough anti-terrorism measures.

The war on Islamic terrorism in the south continues with growing intensity. The government wants to end the years of Islamic terrorists sustaining themselves through kidnapping and piracy. The president told the military to shut down Abu Sayyaf by mid-year and do whatever was needed to get it done. The president discussed the major problems the security forces have encountered. First there is the ransoms. Military intelligence estimates that Abu Sayyaf took in over a million dollars a month from ransoms during the first six months of 2016 and that the Abu Sayyaf move into piracy off the south coast was based on the need to keep that money coming. Now the military has been ordered to ignore the presence of hostages when attacking or bombing Abu Sayyaf camps. He urged foreign nations to not pay the large ransoms, which have long been illegal in the Philippines. In the meantime foreigners are urged to avoid the southeastern areas of the Philippines, especially Sulu and Basilan, where the kidnappers (mainly Abu Sayyaf) are most active. Without those large and continued infusions of cash the Islamic terrorist activity sharply declines because all that ransom money makes it possible to outlaws like Abu Sayyaf to survive even though local political and religious leaders condemn them.

Martial law is also available as an option to ensure that Abu Sayyaf is done by Filipino Independence Day (June 12th). For most of 2016 the government has had 10,000 troops and police carrying out more aggressive operations against Abu Sayyaf and that has caused the Islamic terror group a lot of losses. Since July this has cost the Islamic terrorists nearly 200 men, most of them killed but about a third of them lost to capture, desertion and illness. These non-combat losses are a direct result of the constant pressure. The government has offered to hold peace talks with Abu Sayyaf, but on condition that the Islamic terrorist group cease all kidnapping activity. Abu Sayyaf has made it clear it would never do that because they need the cash to exist. Abu Sayyaf is feeling the pressure and captured members and documents, as well as intercepted messages indicate that the group is burning through their cash faster than expected because of the growing pressure from security forces and pro-government locals.

This last group has been growing as local civilians complain about the disruptions in their lives because of the increased efforts to shut down Abu Sayyaf. Some of the locals have been urging Abu Sayyaf to move or do something to give their traditional supporters some relief. Meanwhile a lot of locals are just quietly, often via some discreet (often anonymous) texting to the local military base (local police are less trustworthy) with useful information of Abu Sayyaf activities. This has forced Abu Sayyaf to release some hostages alive, without ransom, when the security forces get too close. This is especially true if the hostages are Moslems, It’s one thing to execute a foreign kaffir (non-Moslem) but casually slaughtering Moslem captives is not good for the image (of being protectors of Islam). Families of some foreign Moslems held hostage report getting phone calls from the kidnappers (who put their kin on the line to encourage cooperation) offering freedom for much less ransom if they can pay real soon.

There's more at the link.

I can't say I'm in favor of President Duterte's flagrant disregard of even the most basic of civil and human rights.  However, I have to admit that he's getting results in his war on drugs and crime - and those results have the resounding support of a good two-thirds of Philippines citizens.  I'd hate to live there under such a government, but if the people approve, he's probably going to go right on doing as he's done for some time now.  If he can produce similar results in the war against home-brewed Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, he'll doubtless become more popular than ever.

Peter

5 comments:

Will said...

If he really wanted to put a dent in their criminal activities, he would change the law to allow the citizens to carry arms. They already have a busy underground arms manufacturing industry that supplies citizens, but making it legal would be a big step in making them safer.

Andrew said...

Sometimes you have to become as the beast or even something worse in order to destroy the beast who is killing you.

The question is if the people achieve the goal of getting rid of the drug and crime gangs and the very negative influence of Islam, will they be able to reign in what they have become, to return to a more civil state?

The Philippines, being a small-ish nation of diverse land structure (lots and lots of islands,) is a good lab for what happens when a mostly Judeo-Christian society is disrupted by crime, corruption and destruction from internal and external forces. How they have handled it (poorly, see corruption), how they are handling it (can't trust the powers-that-be, go full vigilante), and how it all ends is something to compare, somewhat, to what may happen to this (the USA) country if crime, corruption and destruction work their way into the fabric of this nation.

Much like the Vigilante Committees of San Francisco in 1856 were formed to stop crime, corruption and assault by outside forces, the people of the Philippines have done the same. Now, let us see if the Philippines, once they achieve whatever goal they want, can do as the people of San Francisco did and stand down, remains to be seen.

HMS Defiant said...

I support the president. He has a valid point that has always vexed the strict republicans. War to the knife involves a knife and a huge willingness to use it. Abu Sayaf, at this point, is lucky that he hasn't just decided to exerminate all the moslems with the same wild abandon used on all the drug shiite infesting the country. I don't actually know what the purpose of all those horrible pogroms was but suddenly deciding that exterminating muslims for the crime of being muslim is starting to make sense.*

How scary is that?

*no, not talking about Trump. I mean the president of the Philippines. I'm former navy, virtually all of my electricians over the decades were college graduates of the Republic.

Simon Maguire said...

I'm sorry but when when I went on that link all I could see is Moro Islamic Liberation Front which on that page is put as "MILF fighters" or just "MILF". It does not even say what it means good job I googled "MILF fighters" and not "MILF".

Mark Matis said...

You might have found it more interesting if you HADN'T included the "fighters", Simon Maguire. Unless, of course, you were at work, or Momma was lookin' over your shoulder...
}:-]