Philippines:US role vs. Abu Sayyaf stressed as ‘Love… not War’
I must admit the editors of the French based International Herald Tribune might be playing a bit too far – with the headline – but indeed – a story I did a few months back showed a different path taken in the Southern Philippines versus the Abu Sayyaf by the US JTSOF and JUSMAG units in the area than that taken elsewhere.
American troops rout terrorists in southern Philippines with love …
International Herald Tribune, France – INDANAN, Philippines: US Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Valls had used his M-16 in Iraq, but here on the Philippines‘ restive Jolo island, he is fighting with a labor of love — helping paint school buildings and pave a dusty road.…
Anti-US sentiment dwindles in southern Philippines Reuters India
Balikatan troops show off Philippines achievements Stars and Stripes
So far it is mostly technological support, Medical missions, civic action projects, road building, and leaving the fighting to local forces. A model that has produced fewer causalities than any other theater in the War on terror.
Most analysts agree that the US styled full action and air ground warfare techniques would have escalated the conflict and perhaps even brought in groups who are at ideological odds with the ASG and JI.
One must be reminded that the weapons available to the Extremists here – the IED’s, Mortars, even RPG’s, landmines, and, rockets. Firearms outnumber people in many of the communites where the anti-extremists actions have happened.
But the ‘White gloves over a iron fist’ US posture has taken here is something that has allowed many of the armed groups to not take sides with groups like the Abu Sayyaf or Jemaah Islamiah.