The Fire Next Time
One of the things I learned from conversations with Philippine cops, of which there will be more in my forthcoming article at Pajamas Media due out Wednesday, is the fear that the Islamic insurgency is going to pull off the Big One. The creation of the Rajah Solaiman Revolutionary Movement, which consists largely of Christian converts to Islam, augmented possibly by members of the Philippine Left, has given the al-Qaeda affiliated groups the ability to operate outside their traditional strongholds in Mindanao. The recent successes by security forces against the Abu Sayyaf are the cumulative results of painstaking capability building. And now, we see that the security forces are looking ahead -- though not with enthusiasm -- to the possibility of the Big One: US training RP cops, others against gas attacks.
The United States is training Philippine police, firemen, health workers and other civilian personnel on how to respond to attacks using Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), including chemical, biological and radiological, the US Embassy announced Monday. The three-week course is ongoing at the Philippine Public Safety College in Taguig City, sponsored by the US state department's Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program.
The recent successes against the Abu Sayyaf leadership are encouraging. But the game is far from over.