Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Attack on the Philippine Mall

I'm told there's an impending break in the identity of the bombers who hit a Manila mall.

Update. Ok. Here it is. "A spokesperon from the group Rajah Solaiman said that the group was behind the explosion at Glorietta 2 in Makati City that killed nine people yesterday. In a text message that was sent to ABS CBN, a certain Sheik Oman said the group was responsible for the blast and that they have scattered bombs in various public places if one of their members Amad Santos is not released within the next 24 hours."

In the Fire Next Time, which I wrote in January of this year, I wrote:

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.

That article in Pajamas Media has this further amplification:

Asked if higher headquarters and the political bigwigs in Manila understood the gravity of the situation he answered, "Why should they care? All they care about is the circuses that get them elected." Then he added ominiously, "They don’t think there’s a threat to Manila, but I tell you there is. There’s a supply of Muslim converts among overseas workers flowing back from Saudi Arabia. Filipinos working there are pressured to accept Islam. Sometimes they are even offered money. And as to threats the big one may be coming." To hear him tell it, the Rajah Soliman Revolutionary Movement, consisting largely of converts and which had Jemaah Islamiyah connections, were planning to explode a large bomb in Manila. "They were aiming for a one-ton bomb. We took down a safehouse in Fairview in Manila with 600 kilos of ammonium nitrate explosive in 2005. They were that close."

The Mindanao-based counterterrorism official echoed a conversation I had with a senior policeman in Manila. The metropolitan cop thought a spreading network of Islamist cells in Luzon and the Visayas meant that radical Islamic terrorists could now operate in traditionally Christian parts of the Philippines. "I’ll say one thing more. We’ve observed technical exchanges between the Communist New Peoples Army and the Islamist rebels."

I can't be a 100% sure whether the Rajah Soliman people were behind the mall blast in Manila, which I think, was of a size that might have done more damage had it been better tamped; it may be that the Rajah Soliman group merely wants to claim responsibility to obtain the release of their jailed member, but it's certainly a possibility. More information should be forthcoming as the investigation proceeds.

As it did in Thailand, the Muslim insurgency will eventually come to the capital city. The blasts came to Bangkok. Why should they not come to Manila? I know there will be those, especially in the Philippine Left who will absolutely refuse to believe the capital will be attacked by Islamic insurgents. It may even prove to be true that the Islamists bought the explosives from the corrupt Armed Forces of the Philippines or had confederates within them, just as the Taliban have in Pakistan. But it's the mastermind that counts.

If Rajah Soliman Group is behind the attacks, that would indicate that the Islamic insurgency in the Philippines has become qualitatively different. It means the existence of a strike force based on Christian converts, some recruited while working as contract workers in Saudi Arabia, and with links to the Communist New People's Army. Such a force could move essentially undetected on Luzon. These dangers have long been understood by Filipino cops but denial and an addiction to shambolic solutions has blinded the Philippine political leadership to them.

I have little confidence Manila can wake up in time. It's far more probable that they will continue to believe in whatever conspiracy theory suits their political book and jabber away until the next time. Because there will be a next time.


Blogger Teresita said...

Just as we have our moonbats who say 9-11 was an "inside job", Several opposition politicians and Arroyo critics had suggested the government may be responsible for the bombing to divert attention from scandals plaguing her administration

(There's no such thing as terrorists, see, only corrupt politicians playing "wag the dog")

10/20/2007 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Jihadist said...

The leftist-Islamist alliance has reached its inevitable bloody crescendo. And it's only beginning.

10/20/2007 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

It takes a special kind of mind to ignore the obvious simplicity and accept the complicated absurdity.

10/20/2007 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

execute all members of Amad Santos in prison at once, then stitch up into pig skins and throw into the shark infested ocean..

do this NOW...

rinse and repeat for as long as any scum is still visible

10/20/2007 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Why do they use terror in the first place? Obviously it works to achieve their objectives, or at least they will believe it will. Lately it’s hard to argue that it isn’t working for them; not with a straight face anyway.

I think we have listened to the siren song of reasonableness in the face of unreasonable men for too long.

10/20/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Just got finished watching a show about the take down of Alvin Talau of Abu Sayyaf back in 2001. At the time he had some american hostages.

He did pretty well in his home haunts of Basilin Island but less well across the straights in the less familiar mountains of Mindanao outside Zambonga City.

The competent force against Talau was a group of Philippine marines. But three times when they got close to him--the Philippine army interceded and bungled the take down. One American and one Philippine hostage were killed in such an attack. The Philippine army wanted the glory of the take down and they took precedence on land.

A guy from the CIA aided the Philippine marine detachment--at times attaching tracking devices to his phone & backpack.

The Philippine marines got their chance to take down Talau without army interference when Talau attempted to cross the straights back to Basilin Island in his boat the kingfisher. The boat was painted with infrared beacons. So it could be easily followed at night. The tv show included footage of the infrared signature of the Kingfisher taking off from shore and motoring a kilometer offshore. The marines were concerned that the kingfisher was so close to shore that the Abu Sayyef group might be able to swim ashore. So they came up behind the boat flicked their search lights on it, and rammed it midship and cut it in two. Alvin Talau swam under the marine boat and came up firing. The marines turned as a man and cut him in two with their guns. His body sank. It was never recovered.

A high school friend of Alvin's said that he was such a bad guy that likely he figured the only way he could get to heaven was by way of Jihad.

10/20/2007 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Tilau AKA Abu Sabya. I hope they showed the overhead video of Sabaya getting into his outrigger. Spooky to watch those men taking their last steps on earth.

If I ever get the chance to convince the Philippine Marines to grant access, I'd like to tell the story of their Scout Snipers. They were so poor they couldn't afford sniper rifles so they basically rebuilt M-16s into more accurate versions called the MSSR.

The Scout Snipers played a role in the battle for Central Mindanao because the Islamic forces had their own snipers, trained in Chechnya.

10/20/2007 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Sanity Inspector said...

Did you see this? U.S. special forces are again being based in the Philippines.

10/21/2007 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Tilau AKA Abu Sabya. I hope they showed the overhead video of Sabaya getting into his outrigger. Spooky to watch those men taking their last steps on earth.
Yeah the show included that footage. Those ghostly white figures walking on the beach. Those ghostly whites have shown up before in footage taken in iraq. Different people.

My guess would be that the latest violence from returnees from saudi arabia will likely draw cia surveillance for use by philipine counter terrorist outfits. But likely they won't get sniper rifles -- unless they buy them.

On the other hand I don't think the people coming back from saudi arabia will have serious sniper skills. That tends to be a country skill. The returnees won't be country folk. The stillness of the country enables a quiet in the soul combined with a kind of birdy concentration that city folk won't have or even begin to understand.

Well, I take that back. I don't have any country in me. Except both my folks were raised on farms before going away and I still have country cousins who I keep up with.

So I can begin to understand that quiet.

10/21/2007 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The pendulum may be swinging against violent jihadis. Th WA Times reports on a Pew Research poll in Pakistan:
In August, the Pew Research Center released polling data suggesting that by one very important measure, Pakistanis may be wearying of the lunatic jihadists in their midst: Only 9 percent of Pakistani Muslims polled this year agreed that suicide attacks are "often or sometimes" justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies; another 9 percent said they are "rarely" justified, while 72 percent said this kind of violence is never defensible. (By way of contrast, three years ago 41 percent of Pakistani Muslim respondents told Pew "that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians were 'often' or 'sometimes justified' in order to defend Islam from its enemies, while only 35 percent felt that such attacks were never justified.")

10/22/2007 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Problem is, the madrassa graduates, Taliban/Al Q training camp graduates, aggrieved tribes, and many in the military, aren't part of that majority, and they are growing also!

10/22/2007 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

PBS - frontline: saudi time bomb?: analyses: madrassas
A madrassa is an Islamic religious school. Many of the Taliban were educated in Saudi-financed madrassas in Pakistan that teach Wahhabism..
The Madrassa Myth - New York Times
There is little or no evidence that the Muslim religious schools produce terrorists capable of attacking the West.
Pakistan's Islamic schools in the spotlight

10/22/2007 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Spooky to watch those men taking their last steps on earth.
When I think "spooky" I tend to think "black helicopter"

10/22/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Christian theology says that even men like Hitler Stalin and Mao, if they had repented their sins and accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior--they would have gone to heaven.

Christian theology also says that the only way to heaven is by way of Jesus.

If the story of Tilau is correct then he was wrong on his theology too. But likely his take was willful. After all what's the fun in repentance? Tilau looked to be in his prime. He had missionaries with him who would have told him the truth.

Tilau was wily. I wondered why, after swimming under the patrol boat he didn't just continue to slip off into the darkness and swim ashore. Some of the men on the Kingfisher were pulled out of the water alive.

I sometimes think that there are times in most men's lives when they are given the choice: either a.)remain who you are and die.b.) change who you are and live.

How to properly evaluate that choice.

Yikes I gotta get some work done today.

10/22/2007 08:52:00 AM  

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