Wednesday, August 02, 2006

THE PHILIPPINES' TOO

THE PHILIPPINES' TOO
Enclave Of Global Islamic Movements

Hundreds of Philippine troops have clashed with suspected Islamist


The Abu Sayyaf has been linked to Al-Qaeda

Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani has been sighted on the island of Jolo

Hundreds of Philippines troops clash with Islamist fighters after bombing their base in the south of the country. Helicopter gunships and fixed-wing aircraft fired rockets and dropped bombs on the base of suspected members of Abu Sayyaf. The military has launched a new offensive against Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah, an Indonesian-based group, in the southern Philippines.

A military spokesperson said: "We've been tracking these groups for months," a spokesman told reporters in Zamboanga City. "The time is now. We've located them and we're going to finish them off."
Heavy fighting broke out after the bombing on the remote island of Jolo in Sulu province. Two soldiers were wounded in the operation, which involved 500 troops. The leader of Abu Sayyaf, Khaddafy Janjalani, and a number of fighters belonging to Jemaah Islamiyah, another Islamist group, have been seen on Jolo in recent months, military officials have said.

US perspective * (the "war on terror")

The presence of the leadership of both Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah on the island raised concerns that they might be planning attacks against Philippine and US troops based there as part of a counterterrorism training operation. Australia has recently given the Philippine $10 million toward efforts in defeating these guerilla groups. After September 11, 2001, the US sent additional troops to the Philippines (The US maintains many bases on the islands and are key in its strategic fleet) in its campaign on 'terror.'

The two Islamist groups are continuing to plot bomb attacks in southeast Asia, military intelligence authorities have said. Abu Sayyaf is blamed for the country's worst terrorist attack, the bombing of a ferry near Manila in February 2004 that killed more than 100 people. The group wants a separate state for the minority Muslim population in the Philippines.

Jemaah Islamiyah is fighting for an Islamic State that includes Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines, and southern Thailand. The Abu Sayyaf has been linked to Al-Qaeda.

CNN has also reported heavy fighting.

Manila, Philippines (AP) -- Philippine military helicopters fired rockets at the
southern jungle hideouts of Al Qaeda-linked groups as more than 1,000 troops
launched a fresh offensive against the militants, officials said Wednesday.

Helicopter gunships fired rockets late Tuesday in the vicinity of Indanan town. A military statement said Abu Sayyaf leaders were reportedly converging in the area. Ground troops also were involved in the assault. There were no reports of casualties, but Saban confirmed that about 1,000 residents were moved to safety.

Elsewhere, hostilities broke out in the province of Sulu on Tuesday, August 1, 2006, as the military launched an operation against suspected bombers in Bali, Indonesia identified only as Dulmatin and Patek, the military Southern Command said Wednesday. Five Abu Sayyaf rebels and a guide were killed and five soldiers wounded, as clashes continued in a remote area of Indanan town. Indanan was the scene of sporadic gunbattles and shelling late last year, forcing thousands of villagers to evacuate.

"We have been planning and working for months to find and track the terrorist leadership in Sulu and the time is now," the military statement quoted SouthCom (Southern Command) chief Maj. Gen. Gabriel Habacon as saying. "Those individuals will either give up, be captured or be killed through our action," Habacon said. "This will not be a quick battle, but it will be one where we will be decisive and victorious."

The Abu Sayyaf group -- on a US terrorist list -- carries out ransom kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, including a February 2004 attack that gutted a ferry and killed 116 people in one of Southeast Asia's worst terrorist attacks. Previous U.S.-backed offensives have reduced the number of guerrillas from about 1,000 several years ago to an estimated 400. However, recruitment and training continues in the various bases these groups control. While, gov't authorities have complained about teen agers being recruited by these groups.

Some of the groups in the Philippines include, The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) Jemaa Islamiyah, (JI). JI claimed responsibility for the Bali bombings, in 2002 that killed 202 people. The JI is also blamed for the Davao airport and wharf bombings in the southern Philippines in 2003. The attacks left 38 people, including an American passenger, dead.
All these groups are strictly monitored by military and paramilitary troops, and many of the leaders have been captured or killed. Nevertheless, when members are compromised, arrested or killed they are replaced and the group continues its struggles.

The captured -- several high-level guerillas -- include Jeqi aka, Zaqqi, Gumbahali Jumdail, Rasam Mohammad, GammalBaharan aka Tapay, Toting Craft Hanno aka, Jakaria, Galib Andang, Alhamar Limbong and Hamsiraji Sali; nonetheless, the gov't has been unable to destroy these groups.

Gulf Times is reporting that kidnappers, suspected to be Abu Sayyaf rebels, were demanding 10mn pesos ($194,175) in ransom for the release of two hostages, a business woman and her son, who own a bakery and a pawn shop. gulf-times.com article

The Philippines gov't also fights against insurgents in the eastern part of Mindanao, where the New People's Army (NPA) is prevalent. The NPA is a Marxist group. Here is an overview of the Philippines' main rebel groups:

* ABU SAYYAF GROUP (ASG):
- Based in the southern Philippines, Abu Sayyaf ("bearer of the sword" in Arabic,) have undertaken a violent campaign of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings, in their fight for a separate state for the Muslim minority who make up five percent of the 80 percent Catholic republic.

- Formed in 1991, when it split from the Moro National Liberation Front, the ASG is the smallest Filipino militant group, with around 400 core fighters. The US lists it, and the Philippines communist party, as terrorist organizations

- It is blamed for the country's worst terror attack, a 2004 ferry bombing that killed more than 100 people. It is thought to have stronger international ties than the other Philippine groups. In 2005, the US State Department recorded growing cooperation between al Qaeda's regional network, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), and ASG. Its first leader fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, and early finance came from a Saudi businessman. (I've also heard Iran might be financing/arming too)

- The militant Rajah Sulaiman Movement, based in Manila and northern Luzon, and composed of Christian converts to Islam, are reportedly ASG's vehicle to move into urban areas.

* MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT (MNLF):

- The Muslim separatist Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) started fighting for an independent Moro nation in 1968.

- A 1996 peace deal with the government created the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the west of the island. MNLF leaders have been installed as governors, but some 450 breakaway MNLF members have continued to attack army troops. The colonial Spanish term for followers of Islam, "Moro" or "moors," has been reclaimed by Filipino Muslims. It highlights the country's pre-Christian national identity -- Islam predates its 16th-century arrival by a few centuries.

* MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT (MILF):

Members of MILF

- MILF has a stronger religious emphasis than the MNLF, from which it split in 1977, but the same avowed end-goal of a separate state for five to six million Muslims.

- Some 12,000 MILF militants live in southern Mindanao, the second-largest, most easterly, and poorest of the 7,107 islands.

- Analysts say MILF's 2001 peace deal, still being negotiated with Manila, distanced it from the JI extremists. But sporadic MILF attacks on troops are continuing 40 years of fighting that has killed over 120,000.

* NEW PEOPLE'S ARMY (NPA):\

- The ranks of the Maoist military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), have swollen from a small core in 1971 to around 10,000 members, mostly based in Mindanao.

- Aiming to overthrow the government through revolution, the primarily rural-based guerillas target and kill security forces, politicians, judges, and government informers.

- After peace talks with Manila stalled in 2001, the US added the CCP to its list of terrorist organizations.

The Philippines is more a less, a colony of the US. The US took the Philippines, as well as, Cuba and Puerto Rico from Spain in 1898. As mentioned above, Spain controlled the islands after the Moors left it. The Philippines helped US forces fight the Spanish and were promised independence but they were betrayed by imperialist designs. Many in the elite still speak Spanish and much of the names of Filipinos are Spanish. The gov't declared English its official language in 2004, even though, not all Filipinos speak English. In fact, there are tens of tens of languages spoken in the thousands of islands.

The guerillas combating the Philippines gov't represent a growing movement of politically motivated armed groups around the world. These movements appear in such diverse places as Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Aden, Nairobi, Dar-Es-Salaam, Israel (occupied), Malaysia, Chechnia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kashmir, Indonesia, the Philippines, southern Thailand, Somalia, Istanbul, Iraq, Afghanistan. Mumbai and now, Lebanon. There is an Islamic party in all the Muslim nations, which the pro-Western gov'ts keep under tight control, yet simmering. All these movements are Islamic and armed in the background while, colonialization, hegemony and client States always, loom in the foreground.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home