Philippines: Family Feuds Frustrate Peace Deal


July 25, 2011: The government believes it is winning its war against Moslem separatists (MILF and 10,000 gunmen), communist rebels (NPA, with 4,000 armed men) and some 300 Abu Sayyaf terrorists. MILF is trying to work out a peace deal, as it struggles to maintain its unity. The NPA is getting weaker and weaker, despite its high level of violence. NPA members are turning into gangsters, which has caused increasing tension, and violence, within the organization. Thus the NPA wants to talk and try to work out a peace deal. Abu Sayyaf are on a mission from God, and will fight until they die (or just get tired of it all and desert, which happens often.)

The growing infighting among MILF factions (usually based on tribal or territorial affiliation) is causing uncertainty about MILF ability to enforce any peace deal. For years, the government has been demanding that MILF exercise more control over rogue factions, but the discipline problems just get worse.  Another problem the MILF leadership don't want to talk about is fighting corruption. It's widely believed that any peace deal will result in the MILF leaders having control over a lot of taxpayer money, and a lot of that cash will mysteriously disappear. That's happened before in the Moslem south, and the government has not forgotten.

July 23, 2011: A meeting of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) officials agreed that there was unity in opposing Chinese claims to all the resources in the South China Sea. American representatives repeated assurances that the U.S. would back ASEAN in this.

In the south, police seized semi-retired Abu Sayyaf leader Kanneh Malikilivo. He had been sought for a decade.

July 20, 2011: NPA rebels ambushed a prison transport bus and freed an NPA leader and took four prison guards captive. Elsewhere, a group of fifty NPA gunmen ambushed an army patrol, killing one soldier.

July 11, 2011: In the south, Abu Sayyaf kidnapped two American tourists and a Filipino relative.

July 9, 2011:  In the last few days, several clashes with NPA rebels left six dead.

July 6, 2011: On Sulu island, a policeman was killed during a clash with Abu Sayyaf.


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