Know When To Walk Away, Know When To Run
Filipino Muslim rebels may quit the "peace process" over the alleged noncompliance of Manila with the Tripoli Agreement. The Moro National Liberation Front, which signed the agreement is angry at Manila's attempts to negotiate a superseding agreement with the rival Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Zachary Abuza, a scholar at the Jamestown Foundation said Jamestown Foundation that:
The MNLF, while stating that they "supported the peace process of their Muslim brothers," made clear that the agreement could not come at the expense of, nor supersede, the 1996 "Final Peace Agreement." The MNLF's genuine unwillingness to work with the MILF is based on the false perception that they are still the vanguard revolutionary force of the Moro people. The MILF, for their part, see the MNLF as corrupt sell-outs. MNLF members have told this analyst that they doubted that the two organizations could ever really share power. It need not be zero-sum as the two organizations have a fairly clear demarcation in terms of ethnicity and territory.
Readers of this site will remember a few weeks ago that the MNLF held the entire Philippine negotiating team hostage. They "peacemakers" were subsequently released after paying a ransom which was later characterized as a lodging "fee". But the entire incident highlights the treachery that characterizes the "peace negotiations" whose continuation is now in doubt. The two basic problems of the peace process are the absence of a single authoritative organization to speak for the Moro "nation"; and the desire of the Government of the Philippines to promise what they cannot concede in the absence of a military capability to defend what they cannot give up. The corrupt Arroyo government cannot fight a counterinsurgency without cleaning up its corrupt practices. Unwilling to give up the graft, it relies instead on American aid to make up the difference in capability. It has tried to appease all comers; the Left wingers who demand restrictions on the Americans; the Moro rebels when it can. Anything to keep the show going, especially if the US taxpayer can make up the difference. But now their markers are being called in and all the cracks which have been so carefully papered over will start to widen. Along with the insurgency in southern Thailand, the Muslim insurgency in the Philippines is one to watch