Dollars vs Jihad: How the US Tries to Win Hearts & Minds" of Islamic Terrorists in the Philippines…

New Roads and Buildings against jihad?  Are Americans really such suckers for LOVE..?


Curbed in Towns, Philippines Islamists Take to the Forests

New York Times

LAMITAN, Philippines — Early this decade, American soldiers landed on the island of Basilan, here in the southern Philippines, to help root out the militant Islamic separatist group Abu Sayyaf. Now, Basilan’s biggest towns, once overrun by Abu Sayyaf and criminal groups, have become safe enough that a local Avon lady trolls unworriedly for customers.

Mews Links:

Still, despite seven years of joint military missions and American development projects, much of the island outside main towns like Lamitan remains unsafe. Abu Sayyaf members, sheltered by sympathetic residents, continue to operate in the interior’s dense forests, even as the United States recently extended the deployment of troops in the southern Philippines.

Last month, Abu Sayyaf guerrillas killed 23 Philippine soldiers in a battle in the south of Basilan. This month, on the neighboring island of Jolo, Abu Sayyaf members, reinforced by a contingent from Basilan, killed eight soldiers in fierce fighting that displaced thousands of civilians. More than 40 insurgents were killed, though at least 10 were believed to have belonged to a different Muslim separatist group.


Root Cause!

“We haven’t been able to eliminate the root cause of the problem,” said Maj. Armel Tolato, the commander of a Philippine Marine battalion here, explaining why Abu Sayyaf had not been eradicated. “It cannot be addressed alone by the military. It’s derived from the dynamics here, political and cultural. It’s very complex.” In an interview at a base shared with American troops, he said: “We’re just dealing with the armed elements. We might kill them. But there are young ones to take their place.”

Basilan, like many other Muslim and Christian areas in the southern Philippines, has a long history of political violence, clan warfare and corruption. Experts believe that Abu Sayyaf has been protected not only by friends and family, but also by friendly political and military officials.

It received support from Al Qaeda in the early 1990s and is believed to be sheltering leaders of the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah. But as most of its original leaders have been killed or captured, Abu Sayyaf and its new recruits are said to be motivated less by radical Islamist ideology than by banditry, especially the lucrative kidnappings for ransom for which it has become known.

Last month, after consulting with the Philippine government, the United States decided to extend the operation of its force in the southern Philippines, known as the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines and composed of 600 elite counterinsurgency soldiers. The announcement drew angry responses from left-leaning politicians and news media; American officials declined to be interviewed for this article.

Since establishing the task force in 2002, the United States has provided the Philippines with $1.6 billion in military and economic aid. Much of that, including $400 million from the United States Agency for International Development, has been funneled into Mindanao in the southern Philippines, where Abu Sayyaf and another Muslim separatist group operate.

Some 1,300 American soldiers first arrived in 2002 in Basilan, which has a population of less than half a million, to support the Philippine military against Abu Sayyaf. Today, a force of 600 soldiers remains, spread out here and in the region, supplying its Philippine counterpart with intelligence, training and technology. According to the agreement with the Philippines, the American soldiers are prohibited from engaging in direct combat.

The Americans have also been directing development assistance here, including building roads, bridges and buildings; improving cellphone service and encouraging local businesses; training teachers and wiring schools for the Internet; and providing temporary medical and dental clinics.

But American troops have typically let their Filipino counterparts deal with the residents, thereby burnishing the image of the Philippines military, which has long been viewed as an occupying force in the south’s Muslim areas. “More people are doing business in Basilan because there’s much less fighting and kidnapping now,” said Wilma Amirul, 30, the Avon saleswoman, who was taking the morning ferry here from Zamboanga, the nearest city on the mainland. “Before, even the poor were kidnapped for ransom.”

Ms. Amirul, who has been selling cosmetics in Zamboanga for six years, said she started coming regularly to Basilan five months ago to expand her clientele. Another passenger, Jose Wee, 63, a candle manufacturer, said he now visited Basilan freely to sell his products — an indispensable item because of the frequent blackouts here. “The situation is good now, but maybe for the meantime only,” he said. “If the Americans leave, the Abu Sayyaf might regroup.” [*] [worrisome that such comments are heard all over] [certainly suggests the US must be in the protection business for foreseeable future, a depressing thought] [*]
Under a deep blue sky with low-lying clouds, the ferry arrived in Lamitan, fringed with white beaches and palm trees, dotted with simple houses made of wood or concrete. Soldiers guarded 30 checkpoints along roads into town.
Lamitan, along with Isabela, the provincial capital, is the only town on the island with a sizable Christian population. Roderick H. Furigay, 47, the mayor of Lamitan and the only Christian among Basilan’s 12 mayors, strongly backed the American presence because he believed the Philippine military lacked “adequate capability.” He called himself the “No. 1 target” of Abu Sayyaf — “threats are like breakfast to me” — as he toured the American-financed projects around town, accompanied by bodyguards.
“Peace here in Basilan is so elusive,” Mr. Furigay said, adding that poor governance created an environment in which groups like Abu Sayyaf grew. “Most of our leaders in Basilan are not really sincere. Most of them are holding their positions just to enrich themselves.” He said that because Abu Sayyaf’s leadership had been decimated, the group’s members were now motivated by “grievances.”
“There’s little ideology,” he said, estimating that Abu Sayyaf’s core members numbered fewer than 20 in Basilan.
That assessment was shared by other islanders, including those less welcoming of an American presence. Al-Rasheed M. Sakkalahul, Basilan’s vice governor, estimated that only 10 were longtime, ideologically driven members. But he said they were able to mobilize about 100 supporters in a conflict.
“All the rest are ordinary bandits, even civilians without any training on how to handle firearms,” Mr. Sakkalahul, 52, said at his office in Isabela. “They join Abu Sayyaf so they can divide ransom money from kidnapping victims.” [peculiar] [but not unlike the jihadis in India’s prison for Thanksgiving attacks in Mubai—he and friend were criminals looking for way to make living] [*] He said that given those circumstances, he was skeptical of the American force’s presence here and complained that he had not been given facts about the mission. “You are my visitor in my house,” Mr. Sakkalahul said. “You just enter my house without even knocking on my door. What is your purpose in coming?”
Maj. Ramon D. Hontiveros, a spokesman for the task force’s Philippine side, said it was trying to “work through local politicians” and “keep the military footprint as small as possible.”
He said, “The Americans come with a lot of baggage, but the new roads and buildings they’ve brought here will outlive any controversy.”

10 thoughts on “Dollars vs Jihad: How the US Tries to Win Hearts & Minds" of Islamic Terrorists in the Philippines…”

  1. Phillipines – both the President of the Phillipines and the Chief of the Phillipines Military Staff have both said that though the fight and insurgency by Abu Sayyaf is difficult, dangerous and serious, it is not the number one threat to the country – as it is an insurgency in the south. That the communist agitation, terrorism and infiltration is still the most serious threat. Neither should, of course, be taken lightly.

    It is always necessary to have accuracy when one opens their mouth.

  2. I believe the jihadists, solker.

    At least they’re not pathological liars like you who waste my time with absurd denials and childish argumentum ad absurdum….

  3. * It is always necessary to have accuracy when one opens their mouth.

    Especially when claiming to be DHH / Solkhar, ex-RAN, country NSW,
    ex-Geelong, ex-Dutch diplomat, ex-political officer, not to mention
    blaspheming snitch for the Moroccan Interior Ministry.

    Spin it, Solkhar!

  4. you make me laugh there solhkar.
    If we want to win there in PI, all you have to do is gather up all the imams, line them up shove a pigs foot in their mouth, make the entire village and town watch, hang them,, thus no more muzzy problem, rinse and repeat as neccessary.

  5. “I believe the jihadists”

    We know you support and promote the jihadists, wahhabists, salafists and Choudry’s as being Islam. I am starting to think you are in fact there for them…….. so much for being the expert on Islam.

    Was it not you, the so called expert who said that the Qur’an was not made until 200 years after Mohammed? LMAO

    1. “We know you support and promote the jihadists, wahhabists, salafists and Choudry’s”

      No I don’t, I oppose them just like I oppose pathological liars and da’awa doctors like you who spend days and nights trying to pull the Islamic wool over the eyes and ears of suspicious, irritated unbelievers.

      The truth will out, solker!

  6. Everything about Islam is a fraud, solker.

    What does it prove if the koran was glued together 20 years, 50, 100 or 200 years after the slave trading pedophile kicked the bucket?

    Does it prove that his hallucinations are from ‘allah’ or does it prove that it is a guidebook for all time and places?

    It proves nothing.

  7. Deflections there blog-owner,

    It is you who claims to know Islam better than Muslims themselves, Imams and anyone else.

    Thus what you say is the age of the Qur’an matters a great deal, it shows your expertese or not, which is obvously not. You do not know Islamic holidays, you do not know how many ways Al Qods (Jerusalem) is mentioned in the Qur’an – in fact you are asking me!

    I do not prostheletize, having nothing to gain other than truth. I do not support radicalism, I condemn terrorism so my agenda is what? Only one single one, point out that it is not Islam but the acts of men.

    What is your agenda? You attack the faith, you provide in fact less credible arguments, you quote sources with a known agenda and thus poison the reliability of that information and you confess to supporting the aims of the late Rabbi Kahane which supports the annexation if not taking over by force of the Palestinian Territories.

    Your blog is a sham simply because of the links you and agenda you have and try and conseal along with the style and BS posted. I have made my agenda clear from the point and though you love to claim it, there is not one lie amongst my words and you have failed to identify any, because claiming “Robert Spencer said so” does not work.

  8. Another day, another solker.

    “there is not one lie amongst my words”

    No solker, you don’t lie. You just don’t tell the truth.

    I’m outta here.

    Knock yourself out, solker!

  9. Hearts, minds sink in Afghan sewers

    The folly of nation building

    T IS, by all accounts, a model of Australian engineering. Taxpayers spent at least $1.3 million on it and they are still paying for workers to run it. It could save lives and win hearts and minds. But it has never been used.
    The sewage treatment plant, built on the outskirts of Tarin Kowt, the capital of Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province, has been cited as a showpiece for Australia’s aid effort in one of the poorest places on earth.
    But the plant’s expansive treatment ponds are empty. The tanker-truck meant to take waste from septic tanks has never been used and has been immobilised for months because of either vandalism or what the Department of Defence says are ”mechanical problems” that will take up to six more weeks to repair.
    With the truck idle, so, too, are the two Afghan workers hired to run the plant and whose salaries are paid for by Australian taxpayers through AusAID, the government’s international development agency. Now, a new aid project is under way, involving the American agency USAID, aimed at getting some use from the Australian project that was designed to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans and win hearts and minds in the battle against the Taliban.
    The ADF and AusAID refused requests by The Sunday Age to speak to an official involved in the project, which was built by Australian army engineers.
    The aim was to improve sanitation in a province where fewer than 10 per cent of the population have access to safe drinking water and where diarrhoeal diseases kill one in every three children before they turn five.
    But problems with the project appear to indicate that delivering aid to Afghanistan is one thing – building the capacity of Afghan institutions to manage the aid is another.
    In a written response to questions, Defence said construction of the plant was completed in January last year, the tanker-truck was purchased in April last year, and ”access improvements” were completed in March this year.
    It said the facility had yet to become operational because the truck had developed mechanical problems. Repairs would take another four to six weeks, meaning the repairs will have taken at least three months.
    The Sunday Age understands at least some of the mechanical problems are due to vandalism.
    Australia’s aim is to have the local government running the project on a user-pays basis.
    American aid consultants have now proposed building more public toilets in the town, which has a population of about 10,000 but fewer than 200 septic tanks, which are not emptied and discharge into the water system.
    Another proposal is to divert effluent from one of the ponds at the unused treatment facility to fertilise a plantation to grow trees for firewood.
    An American consultant who recently visited the plant said it was ”beautifully constructed”.
    He said: ”I hate to see something like this go either unused or misused.”

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