ISIS Fighting in the Philippines

 

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It began on Tuesday. The Philippine government received word that Isnilon Hapilon, the emir of the local ISIS branch in The Philippines, was in the city of Marawi to meet with other militants. Government forces moved in to try to capture him, and that’s when things … went badly.

Firefights erupted and now Marawi, a city of 200,000 people, is in the midst of “clashes” between government forces an unknown number, definately several hundred, ISIS fighters. They have taken over buildings, including the city hall, city jail, and a medical center.

President Duterte responded by cutting short his foreign trip (he was actually visiting Russia) and declaring martial law for 60 days in Mindanao. “I will not hesitate to do anything and everything to protect and preserve the Filipino nation,” he said. “I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people.”

The Philippine constitution empowers the President to declare martial law for a period of 60 days to deal with invasion or rebellion. It can be revoked by the Parliament within a 48-hour window (which has passed already) and is subject to review by the nation’s Supreme Court.

However, considering that Duterte has openly endorsed extrajudicial killings to deal with the nation’s drug problem, that he’s promising to do “anything and everything,” may mean things could get … messy.

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Published in Foreign Policy, Islamist Terrorism
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  1. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    There isn’t a corner of the world that remains free from the clutches of this JV team and their horror show.  They must be stopped.

    • #1
  2. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    The Daily Shot: Firefights erupted and now Marawi, a city of 200,000 people, is in the midst of “clashes” between government forces an unknown number, definately several hundred, ISIS fighters. They have taken over buildings, including the city hall, city jail, and a medical center.

    The Daily Shot: However, considering that Duterte has openly endorsed extrajudicial killings to deal with the nation’s drug problem, that he’s promising to do “anything and everything,” may mean things could get … messy.

    I posit that anything duterte does in response to an act of war is not what made things … messy.

    • #2
  3. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    There isn’t a corner of the world that remains free from the clutches of this JV team and their horror show. They must be stopped.

    The local ISIS branch used to be its own separate insurgency called Abu Sayyaf before they pledge allegiance to ISIS central in 2014.  They’re something of a cross between organized crime and a jihadist group.

    • #3
  4. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Stina (View Comment):
    I posit that anything duterte does in response to an act of war is not what made things … messy.

    Yeah, but Duarte isn’t constrained by law or decency.  He basically declared it open season to kill drug dealers.  If he declares nation wide martial law and is not held in check by the Parliament of the Supreme Court, things could spiral out of control.

    • #4
  5. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Stina (View Comment):

    The Daily Shot: Firefights erupted and now Marawi, a city of 200,000 people, is in the midst of “clashes” between government forces an unknown number, definately several hundred, ISIS fighters. They have taken over buildings, including the city hall, city jail, and a medical center.

    The Daily Shot: However, considering that Duterte has openly endorsed extrajudicial killings to deal with the nation’s drug problem, that he’s promising to do “anything and everything,” may mean things could get … messy.

    I posit that anything duterte does in response to an act of war is not what made things … messy.

    I would posit that Duerte is a bit off his rocker, and that we should be weary of endorsing or cheering anything he does. This is a man who thinks addicts need to be killed to solve the drug problem. Not dealers, but addicts.

    • #5
  6. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    a bit off his rocker

    A bit!?

    • #6
  7. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    An entity taking up arms inside one’s country is unacceptable, and given it is ISIS it is doubly unacceptable.   ISIS must be annihilated.  I hope he does it and shows the world how.

    • #7
  8. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It was predictable.  The central government has been fighting Islamic resistance in Mindinao since the days of Spanish rule, why not join the franchise.    Neither is it new to Manila, or other semi political regional leaders,  to kill drug dealers or others bothersome or embarrassing people.

    • #8
  9. ST Inactive
    ST
    @SimonTemplar

    Manny (View Comment):
    I hope he does it and shows the world how.

    Winning the peace, baby.

    • #9
  10. Joe P Member
    Joe P
    @JoeP

    What really needs to happen is that someone needs to cut the head off of this particular viper. In Syria. Otherwise there’s going to be more two-bit organizations getting material support from a defacto petrostate in the civil war zone and the regional powers that benefit from its existence.

    • #10
  11. ST Inactive
    ST
    @SimonTemplar

    Yet another account, from the 1938 book Jungle Patrol, attributed the deed to someone other than Pershing:

    It was Colonel Alexander Rodgers of the 6th Cavalry who accomplished by taking advantage of religious prejudice what the bayonets and Krags had been unable to accomplish. Rodgers inaugurated a system of burying all dead juramentados in a common grave with the carcasses of slaughtered pigs. The Mohammedan religion forbids contact with pork; and this relatively simple device resulted in the withdrawal of juramentados to sections not containing a Rodgers. Other officers took up the principle, adding new refinements to make it additionally unattractive to the Moros. In some sections the Moro juramentado was beheaded after death and the head sewn inside the carcass of a pig. And so the rite of running juramentado, at least semi-religious in character, ceased to be in Sulu. The last cases of this religious mania occurred in the early decades of the century. The juramentados were replaced by the amucks … who were simply homicidal maniacs with no religious significance attaching to their acts.

    • #11
  12. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    A close friend was sent with his Marine unit to the Philippines to assist in clearing out some Muslim  insurgents back in the late 1970’s.  It was never acknowledged that Marines took part or that the US helped at all.  A couple of insurgent villages were completely destroyed along with all the residents.  There were no more problems from that area for about 10 years or so.

    • #12
  13. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    There are zero solutions to militant Islam that conform to normal morality.

    PI will either be cleaned up or be a cesspool.   The lunatic in charge may be the answer.

    • #13
  14. Drusus Inactive
    Drusus
    @Drusus

    Pilli (View Comment):
    A close friend was sent with his Marine unit to the Philippines to assist in clearing out some Muslim insurgents back in the late 1970’s. It was never acknowledged that Marines took part or that the US helped at all. A couple of insurgent villages were completely destroyed along with all the residents. There were no more problems from that area for about 10 years or so.

    And if this happened on American soil? A cell within a particularly Muslim dense city turns radical, you are okay with burning that city to the ground?  (N.B. I’m not saying that is your position, I’m just trying to determine the boundaries of what you seem to be putting forth here. Clarification is welcome.)

    • #14
  15. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    DocJay (View Comment):
    There are zero solutions to militant Islam that conform to normal morality.

    I reject this notion.

     

    • #15
  16. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    Drusus (View Comment):

    Pilli (View Comment):
    A close friend was sent with his Marine unit to the Philippines to assist in clearing out some Muslim insurgents back in the late 1970’s. It was never acknowledged that Marines took part or that the US helped at all. A couple of insurgent villages were completely destroyed along with all the residents. There were no more problems from that area for about 10 years or so.

    And if this happened on American soil? A cell within a particularly Muslim dense city turns radical, you are okay with burning that city to the ground? (N.B. I’m not saying that is your position, I’m just trying to determine the boundaries of what you seem to be putting forth here. Clarification is welcome.)

    First, let’s stipulate that your “active cell” is causing violence and death in the rest of the city and surrounding area as were those in the Philippines.

    Then, no.  Not the whole city.  How about just bulldozing the particularly dense Muslim neighborhood that supported the “cell”?  Of course, the murderers should be executed in public.

    The point here is that there is a support structure that terrorists require.  The support structure must be addressed.

    I used to frequent a Dunkin’ Donuts for a cup of coffee and a donut each morning on the way to work.  I love Dunkin’ donuts coffee and donuts. It was operated by middle-easterners as many Dunkin’ stores are.

    One morning, I went in and noticed a small new sign.  “We support C.A.I.R.”  I told the owner/manager that I knew that C.A.I.R. was a sponsor of terrorism and that I would not be shopping there any more.  Apparently, many others from the area did as well.  I heard that the sign came down in a few days.  I didn’t go back.

    I don’t know if the owner was unaware of what C.A.I.R. does or if he actually believed in its mission.  I was not going to help him support a terrorist-friendly organization.  It was about all I could do but it was something.

    • #16
  17. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    There are zero solutions to militant Islam that conform to normal morality.

    I reject this notion.

    Your rejection of the notion does not make it untrue.

    • #17
  18. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    There are zero solutions to militant Islam that conform to normal morality.

    I reject this notion.

    I reject your rejection.

    • #18
  19. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    • #19
  20. Snirtler Inactive
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    Pilli (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    There are zero solutions to militant Islam that conform to normal morality.

    I reject this notion.

    Your rejection of the notion does not make it untrue.

    So few comments, yet so many oversimplifications. Where to begin? I’ve been monitoring the news coming out of the Phils since I saw Fred’s post this morning.

    Don’t want to put words in Doc’s & Pilli’s mouths, but presumably you call for unrestrained force against these ISIS lackeys in the Phils? How about some perspective instead?

    Marawi City is a relatively urbanized area with a population of 200,000–about the size of Little Rock, AK; Montgomery, AL; or Glendale, CA. According to the Phil Dept of Social Welfare and Development, about 30,000 have evacuated the city. About 170,000 residents remain. Surely their well-being counts for something in the calculation to go all out against the Islamic militants that have infiltrated the outskirts of the city.

    A spokesperson for the Phil Army’s 1st Infantry Div, Lt Col Herrera, has explained they are trying to conduct a “surgical operation” to root out the militants that involves as little collateral damage as possible.

    It sure is comfortable for us here commenting on the Internet to try to quarterback a military action a whole ocean away and advocate suspending all norms of morality. It’s reasonable, rather than yellow-bellied for the Phil Army to take action to hunt down these terrorists, while doing their utmost to preserve the lives of the 150,000 or so remaining residents and their property–their homes, schools, and livelihoods. If individual lives and property matter, that calls for observing normal rules of morality in war–in this particular instance (not just generally)–instead of rejecting them.

    • #20
  21. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Pilli (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    There are zero solutions to militant Islam that conform to normal morality.

    I reject this notion.

    Your rejection of the notion does not make it untrue.

    I should’ve written more.  You know, like how horrifying and untrue that sentiment is.

    • #21
  22. Snirtler Inactive
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    Pilli (View Comment):

    Drusus (View Comment):

    Pilli (View Comment):
    A close friend was sent with his Marine unit to the Philippines to assist in clearing out some Muslim insurgents back in the late 1970’s. It was never acknowledged that Marines took part or that the US helped at all. A couple of insurgent villages were completely destroyed along with all the residents. There were no more problems from that area for about 10 years or so.

    And if this happened on American soil? A cell within a particularly Muslim dense city turns radical, you are okay with burning that city to the ground?

    First, let’s stipulate that your “active cell” is causing violence and death in the rest of the city and surrounding area as were those in the Philippines.

    Then, no. Not the whole city. How about just bulldozing the particularly dense Muslim neighborhood that supported the “cell”? Of course, the murderers should be executed in public.

    This is armchair, speculative talk. To judge what’s going on in the Phils, we should know the facts on the ground.

    Hapilon. a leader within the Abu Sayyaf group (active since the 90s and gained infamy initially for its kidnap-for-ransom activities) has pledged allegiance to ISIS, but was already reported to have been seriously wounded in an airstrike in Jan 2017.

    The point here is that there is a support structure that terrorists require. The support structure must be addressed.

    The military has been on his tail since. He left his normal base of operations in Basilan (340 miles southwest of Marawi) to team up with the Maute group, an emergent group of radicals that also claims solidarity with ISIS. Though Hapilon must have had sympathizers in Marawi City, it was local residents that made known to officials that he was holed up in an apartment somewhere. It’s thanks to their information that the military operation was launched in the first place. Marawi City is more than 99% Muslim.

    So yes, let’s keep seeing every Muslim as the enemy. Do people really think we can do without Muslims serving as allies, intelligence sources, mediators with the community and ordinary people in the fight against terrorism?

    • #22
  23. Drusus Inactive
    Drusus
    @Drusus

    Pilli (View Comment):

    Drusus (View Comment):

    Pilli (View Comment):
    A close friend was sent with his Marine unit to the Philippines to assist in clearing out some Muslim insurgents back in the late 1970’s. It was never acknowledged that Marines took part or that the US helped at all. A couple of insurgent villages were completely destroyed along with all the residents. There were no more problems from that area for about 10 years or so.

    And if this happened on American soil? A cell within a particularly Muslim dense city turns radical, you are okay with burning that city to the ground? (N.B. I’m not saying that is your position, I’m just trying to determine the boundaries of what you seem to be putting forth here. Clarification is welcome.)

    First, let’s stipulate that your “active cell” is causing violence and death in the rest of the city and surrounding area as were those in the Philippines.

    Then, no. Not the whole city. How about just bulldozing the particularly dense Muslim neighborhood that supported the “cell”? Of course, the murderers should be executed in public.

    The point here is that there is a support structure that terrorists require. The support structure must be addressed.

     

    Just to address my hypothetical, it’s okay in your vision of how this should be handled to rob American citizens of their Constitutional right not only to life, but to due process? I understand the impulse for strong action, but I’m really struggling with what you seem to be suggesting here.

    • #23
  24. Snirtler Inactive
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    Some perspective.

    1. The latest reports confirm 21 dead–13 Islamic militants, 5 soldiers, 2 police officers, and a security guard (presumably a civilian). I haven’t seen figures of civilian casualties from the crossfire.
    2. I’ve searched but I haven’t found confirmed estimates of how many militants there are. After the 13 dead, the Army spokesman mentioned another 4o at large. CNN reported 100 militants remain–not sure how they got their estimate. So as of yesterday, between 40-100 were roaming around three barangays in the city.
    3. A barangay is the smallest political-administrative unit; these units comprise towns and cities. Marawi has 96 barangays.

     

    So far, the conflict is confined to less than 5% of the city. For the sake of the populace, I hope it stays that way. This crisis is unlikely to be the end of the city. It won’t be the end of the Philippines. It doesn’t augur the end of the world.

    To Pilli’s suggestion that they bulldoze the Muslim neighborhood that supported the cell harboring Hapnilon and the Maute group, the barangays in Marawi each have a population between 500-6000 residents and a ballpark average is 1000 or so residents/barangay. Sitting where we are, we find it easy to be cavalier about the potential loss of the life and property of the 3000 in the affected barangays.

    • #24
  25. Snirtler Inactive
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    I posit that anything duterte does in response to an act of war is not what made things … messy.

    Yeah, but Duarte isn’t constrained by law or decency. He basically declared it open season to kill drug dealers. If he declares nation wide martial law and is not held in check by the Parliament of the Supreme Court, things could spiral out of control.

    Because Duterte is off his rocker, the best thing that can happen is for the Phil military to wrap up this operation immediately and successfully, subduing Hapilon and his group–so that Duterte has no pretext to extend martial law.

    • #25
  26. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Snirtler (View Comment):

    Pilli (View Comment):

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    There are zero solutions to militant Islam that conform to normal morality.

    I reject this notion.

    Your rejection of the notion does not make it untrue.

    So few comments, yet so many oversimplifications. Where to begin? I’ve been monitoring the news coming out of the Phils since I saw Fred’s post this morning.

    Don’t want to put words in Doc’s & Pilli’s mouths, but presumably you call for unrestrained force against these ISIS lackeys in the Phils? How about some perspective instead?

    I prefer to always destroy militant Islam with the least amount of collateral damage but to unquestionably win first and foremost.  My perspective is to win at all costs since I believe the battle vs militant Islam to be existential.

     

    It sure is comfortable for us here commenting on the Internet to try to quarterback a military action a whole ocean away and advocate suspending all norms of morality.

     How this and similar issues pan out will determine how these actions take place in Europe and the US.   Once again, losing is not an option, work back from there.

    It’s reasonable, rather than yellow-bellied for the Phil Army to take action to hunt down these terrorists, while doing their utmost to preserve the lives of the 150,000 or so remaining residents and their property–their homes, schools, and livelihoods.

    Of course.

    If individual lives and property matter, that calls for observing normal rules of morality in war–in this particular instance (not just generally)–instead of rejecting them.

    I disagree.  Winning matters.  Work back from there to the least immoral path.  There is no winning versus militant Islam in playing by normal rules.  Ever. 

    I’m bowing out now.  If we disagree then we disagree.   Take care.

     

    • #26
  27. Damocles Inactive
    Damocles
    @Damocles

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    I posit that anything duterte does in response to an act of war is not what made things … messy.

    Yeah, but Duarte isn’t constrained by law or decency.

    Would you mind posting a couple of isis execution videos?  Maybe the one where they hang the guys upside down before they’re decapitated, or the one where they set the guy on fire in the cage.

    You should read Dictatorships and Double Standards.

    • #27
  28. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Damocles (View Comment):
    Would you mind posting a couple of isis execution videos? Maybe the one where they hang the guys upside down before they’re decapitated, or the one where they set the guy on fire in the cage.

    ISIS is beastial. But that doesn’t mean you throw law and decency out the window to fight them.  Our values, are what separates us from them.

    Once you go down that road, it’s not long before you can rationalize anything as absolutely necessary.

    And yeah, Duarte should be held to a different standard.  He’s the popularly elected head of state of of an allied government.  That’s what makes his war on drugs so upsetting.

     

     

    • #28
  29. Snirtler Inactive
    Snirtler
    @Snirtler

    DocJay (View Comment):

    Snirtler (View Comment):

    Don’t want to put words in Doc’s & Pilli’s mouths, but presumably you call for unrestrained force against these ISIS lackeys in the Phils? How about some perspective instead?

    I prefer to always destroy militant Islam with the least amount of collateral damage but to unquestionably win first and foremost. My perspective is to win at all costs since I believe the battle vs militant Islam to be existential.

    It sure is comfortable for us here commenting on the Internet to try to quarterback a military action a whole ocean away and advocate suspending all norms of morality.

    How this and similar issues pan out will determine how these actions take place in Europe and the US. Once again, losing is not an option, work back from there.

    It’s reasonable, rather than yellow-bellied for the Phil Army to take action to hunt down these terrorists, while doing their utmost to preserve the lives of the 150,000 or so remaining residents and their property–their homes, schools, and livelihoods.

    Of course.

    If individual lives and property matter, that calls for observing normal rules of morality in war–in this particular instance (not just generally)–instead of rejecting them.

    I disagree. Winning matters. Work back from there to the least immoral path. There is no winning versus militant Islam in playing by normal rules. Ever.

    I’m bowing out now. If we disagree then we disagree. Take care.

    Doc, we do disagree–on the fundamental notion of winning “at all costs”, but I appreciate the civil response.

     

    • #29
  30. Damocles Inactive
    Damocles
    @Damocles

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Damocles (View Comment):
    Would you mind posting a couple of isis execution videos? Maybe the one where they hang the guys upside down before they’re decapitated, or the one where they set the guy on fire in the cage.

    ISIS is beastial. But that doesn’t mean you throw law and decency out the window to fight them. Our values, are what separates us from them.

    Once you go down that road, it’s not long before you can rationalize anything as absolutely necessary.

    And yeah, Duarte should be held to a different standard. He’s the popularly elected head of state of of an allied government. That’s what makes his war on drugs so upsetting.

    Are we talking about isis, or about drug users? I believe all drugs should be sold freely from retail stores, so my opinion about killing those customers is likely to be different from killing isis losers.

    • #30
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