Sunday, January 28, 2007

Australian-Philippine Military Cooperation Mooted

Australia wants to send military observers to Central Mindanao under an agreement pending before the Philippine Senate. (Australian )

Australia has already promised 30 river boats to aid local forces in their search for armed rebel groups linked to JI and the allied local kidnap-for-ransom group, Abu Sayyaf. While The Philippines and Australian military would like to conduct large-scale military exercises, the number of troops allowed will depend on the political support in the Senate. Up to five JI members are believed to be operating terrorist cells in the area, in league with dozens of renegade MILF commanders, who are violating the group's 2005 disavowal of links with terrorists. Cotabato City and the surrounding areas in Mindanao are seen as a "doormat for terrorism", in the words of the former US ambassador to the Philippines Richard Done, or the "next Afghanistan".

The situations vis a vis the Islamic insurgency in the Philippines remains serious. And the article above indicates that the battle is far from over. Don't let the victory lap by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Davos fool you. Her achievements have largely consisted of taking credit for the hard work Filipino, American and Australian personnel have been embarked upon while Manila engages in its carnival politics. The Philippine government still refuses to crack down on the corruption and inefficiency which saps its military; the local Left continues to obstruct any efforts by allies to help the soldiers in the field; terror cells from abroad are still infiltrating in, sometimes using the overseas worker flow as a cover; the Communist guerillas have embarked on a de facto alliance with the Islamists. And many of the rebel supporters and their leftist allies are politically untouchable.

The Philippines is one the fringes of the War on Terror. Yet it should be recalled that the September 11 tactics were developed there. The good news in that archipelago is that there are a lot of good guys willing to take on the enemy. The bad news is that there are a substantial number of corrupt officials who are willing to do anything for convenience and greed and who will stint at nothing -- including selling their country down the river -- to line their pockets.


Blogger John Samford said...

I was hoping that we would go full bore in the P.I. before taking a crack at the Iraq-Iran-Syria front.
While the Philpino Government is just as corrupt as any government, which palm to grease is better understood because of the long history between the Philipines and the US.
When I was there last, my favorite jeepney drive was a former Scout, who would give me a 50% dicount, which worked out to be standard fare for a local. My tagalog was passable back then, which helped.
There would have ben logistic advantages also. Okinawa is just a short hop away and With the Ozzies and the nips gaurding our flanks, it would have been much rougher on the terrs then Iraq is.
But the US Army is wedded to 'center of gravity' and attrition warfare, so any move in the P.I. would have been mostly Marines and Navy/Air Force. That would have left the perfumed princes in green no battlefield other then the Pentagon. Can't have that, can we?
Iraq would have been a good move, IF we had did Iran the next year. As it is we are caught between stools, so to speak.
25,000 US Marines in the PI doing the bug hunt thingie would have made a BIG difference. A couple of carrier groups offshore would have been nice too. By now that would have ben mostly done, and there would be no war fatigue here in the states beyond the standard "no war, no way" groups.

1/28/2007 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

It's going to be hard to root out corruption in an oligarchy. The people in power are only able to STAY in power because of their ability to keep the right people happy by giving them access to opportunities to make money, and to use the power of government to hamper their enemies.

And don't think it doesn't happen in the US too, and for the same reasons. Just not at as extensive a scale (yet)

1/29/2007 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

It does. Instead of 'bribes' we have 'fees'. Only the nomenclature differs. Normally you pay the fee to a lawyer, who then does the nitty gritty arrangements, that work better if they don't see the light of day.
As Dirty Harry "What 1.2 million real estate scam" Reid has just found out. It looks like the Democrats efforts to put the chocks in front of Presidnt Bush's troop increase via a back room deal is toast. The Repugs want it debated in open session, where every Senator will go on the formal record, which means they will be held to account for their votes. They don't want to do that because they all know that losing in Iraq means fighting next in America. It would be political suicide to vote for fighting on American soil. Not even Biden is that stoooopid.
On the other hand their purse strings are held by a few rich Moonbats who want the battle of Iraq to be lost more ten life itself.

1/29/2007 01:42:00 PM  

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