War on Terror in the Philippines

Rick Moran
StrategyPage.com is reporting on some fierce fighting occurring on two islands in the southern Philippines involving two Muslim separatist organizations:
On Jolo and Basilan islands in the south, police and troops searched for weapons and Islamic terrorists, seeking to corner and destroy the remaining groups of Abu Sayyaf diehards based there. The last week saw a sharp increase in fighting on Jolo, accompanied by over 10,000 civilians fleeing areas they believed Abu Sayyaf was hiding in. Over sixty people have died on Jolo in the last few days, and two more battalions of troops were sent to the the island. About half the dead have been Abu Sayyaf and MNLF, the rest soldiers and civilians. Troops are trying to collect unregistered weapons, and locate bands of armed Abu Sayyaf. The local Moslem separatist group, the MNLF, has been unofficially siding with Abu Sayyaf. MNLF made peace with the government 11 years ago, but tensions remain, and the group has taken responsibility for ambushing and killing soldiers.
Abu Sayyaf is a group that probably received funding in the early 90's from al-Qaeda. when Bin Laden's brother in law was one of the leaders. And there is ample evidence of al-Qaeda meetings held in the Philippines prior to 9/11.

Other connections are tenuous at best and the fact that AS uses kidnappings and ransom to fund many of its activities probably separates it from al Qaeda today.

While most experts are unsure of any connection between Abu Sayyaf and al-Qaeda, there is no doubt that the group uses the tactics and rhetoric of Islamic terrorists to advance the cause of setting up a separatist Muslim state.

Since 2002, several hundred Americans Special Ops fighters and support troops have been assisting the Philppine government in their war against Abu Sayyaf. The counterinsurgency strategy we are employing addresses both the military and "hearts and minds" issues that we are currently using in Iraq. As of this year, we have helped remove 80% of Abu Sayyaf fighters from the island of Basilan while helping the population by giving them food, medical care, and other forms of assistance.

Asia is rapidly becoming a major battleground in the War on Terror. The Indian subcontinent, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines have all seen radical Muslim separatists using the tactics of al-Qaeda to achieve their goals of destabilizing pro-western governments and advancing the cause of radical Islam. Many analysts believe we are not doing enough to help these governments fight off the radicals. If so, it would be extremely short sighted on our part to fight the war in the Middle East while ignoring the growing threat of Islamism in Asia.

StrategyPage.com is reporting on some fierce fighting occurring on two islands in the southern Philippines involving two Muslim separatist organizations:
On Jolo and Basilan islands in the south, police and troops searched for weapons and Islamic terrorists, seeking to corner and destroy the remaining groups of Abu Sayyaf diehards based there. The last week saw a sharp increase in fighting on Jolo, accompanied by over 10,000 civilians fleeing areas they believed Abu Sayyaf was hiding in. Over sixty people have died on Jolo in the last few days, and two more battalions of troops were sent to the the island. About half the dead have been Abu Sayyaf and MNLF, the rest soldiers and civilians. Troops are trying to collect unregistered weapons, and locate bands of armed Abu Sayyaf. The local Moslem separatist group, the MNLF, has been unofficially siding with Abu Sayyaf. MNLF made peace with the government 11 years ago, but tensions remain, and the group has taken responsibility for ambushing and killing soldiers.
Abu Sayyaf is a group that probably received funding in the early 90's from al-Qaeda. when Bin Laden's brother in law was one of the leaders. And there is ample evidence of al-Qaeda meetings held in the Philippines prior to 9/11.

Other connections are tenuous at best and the fact that AS uses kidnappings and ransom to fund many of its activities probably separates it from al Qaeda today.

While most experts are unsure of any connection between Abu Sayyaf and al-Qaeda, there is no doubt that the group uses the tactics and rhetoric of Islamic terrorists to advance the cause of setting up a separatist Muslim state.

Since 2002, several hundred Americans Special Ops fighters and support troops have been assisting the Philppine government in their war against Abu Sayyaf. The counterinsurgency strategy we are employing addresses both the military and "hearts and minds" issues that we are currently using in Iraq. As of this year, we have helped remove 80% of Abu Sayyaf fighters from the island of Basilan while helping the population by giving them food, medical care, and other forms of assistance.

Asia is rapidly becoming a major battleground in the War on Terror. The Indian subcontinent, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines have all seen radical Muslim separatists using the tactics of al-Qaeda to achieve their goals of destabilizing pro-western governments and advancing the cause of radical Islam. Many analysts believe we are not doing enough to help these governments fight off the radicals. If so, it would be extremely short sighted on our part to fight the war in the Middle East while ignoring the growing threat of Islamism in Asia.