Philippines: Moslems Got The Blues


September21, 2008:  Groups of rogue MILF fighters are wandering around the south, looking for food, and fighting back when they encounter police or troops. These MILF are trying to portray themselves as defenders of Islam, but are being caught in lies. For example, claiming that a clash with troops was triggered by an army attack on a mosque, when the firefight took place where there was no mosque. The rogue MILF groups (about ten percent of the total MILF) are improvising, but are unable to pull off this portraying themselves as  victims bit. In the last ten days, the army has seized several MILF camps, putting over a thousand of their inhabitants on the run. If these gunmen don't find a source of food, they will have to break up and individual gunmen will hide (or sell) their weapons and go back to their villages farther south (in majority Moslem areas).

Two weeks of fighting have left 500,000, mainly Christian, civilians refugees. Several thousand troops and police are clearing rogue MILF rebels out of the abandoned Christian areas, so the Christians can return home. Over 300 people have died so far, most (about 60 percent of them) MILF gunmen, 30 percent of them civilians and the rest soldiers and police. The MILF involved have been disowned by the MILF leadership (if only for getting themselves into a position they can't win).

The mainline MILF is trying to get the peace talks back on track. But the government is demanding the three rogue MILF leaders responsible for the recent raids into Christian territory be turned over first. The government also wants discussion of MILF disarmament, to avoid any future rogue operations, before resuming the political negotiations for an overall settlement. The MILF leadership is reluctant to go along with either of these demands, but is not in a good bargaining position. Most Moslems in the south are tired of the war, and its inability to accomplish much. This war between Moslems and Christians has been going on since the 1960s and has left more than 120,000 dead. The Moslems have gotten the worse of it, mainly because they are a small minority (5 percent) in the Philippines. But they claim "ancestral control" over a lot of territory in the south that has long been occupied by Christians (who control the national government and the security forces.)

September 15, 2008: On Basilan, Abu Sayyaf Islamic terrorists have kidnapped five aid workers (but later released three of them because troops were getting too close, too fast). Normally, aid workers are left alone because they are doing good things for local people. But some Abu Sayyaf believe these non-Moslem charities are the enemy, and fair game for kidnapping and ransom. In some cases, the NGO staff are considered suitable for use as human shields as well. In general, Abu Sayyaf, and Islamic terrorists in general, make life more difficult for everyone, especially foreigners or foreign organizations, even if they are Moslem.   




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