Philippines: Rebels In Search of Drama

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January 4, 2006: Another year of communist and Islamic rebellion has left nearly 3,000 dead. This was a war of small battles. There were 1,455 armed clashes, which left 723 men of the security forces dead, 61 percent because of clashes with the NPA. Among the various rebel groups, the NPA lost 1,180 people, Abu Sayyaf 171, MILF 118 and the Misuari Breakaway Group, 16. The MILF has been working out a peace deal for most of the year, while the Abu Sayyaf was more smoke than fire (a bunch of renegade MILF men more interested in loot than ideology). The NPA are hard core communists, who have lost most of their overseas support because of the worldwide war on terror. Reduced to banditry, the NPA has lost a lot of popular support, and is now willing to negotiate a peace deal.

January 1, 2006: In the first clash with the NPA of the new year, three soldiers were killed. The NPA is undergoing a bit of internal dissent over whether or not to negotiate with the government. Being a revolutionary is not as popular as it used to be. Yes, there is still plenty of corruption and economic problems to rebel over, but generations of fighting, without much to show for it, has discouraged a lot of potential recruits. Rebel leaders are casting about for some kind of dramatic move that would get the revolution moving again.

December 31, 2005: Communist NPA rebels ended the year by destroying another telecommunications tower. This was the 23rd such tower, belonging Globe Telecoms, the NPA has destroyed. The NPA will keep attacking a company until the company agrees to pay "revolutionary taxes." More and more organizations are fighting, rather than paying. This is making it difficult for the NPA to maintain its force of 8,000 gunmen.

 

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