There is not much news about the anti-terrorist operation in the Philippines now. Either the Philippine army achieved considerable progress in the fight against Abu-Sayaaf terrorist group, or the government of this country does not have anything to boast of. But there is an impression that the latest suggestion is more likely to be real.
The USA is still increasing the military presence in the Philippines. Two thousand seven hundred military men were going to arrive in the Philippines on April 19. They are officially going there to participate in the military exercise, the goal of which is to prepare for the UN peacemaking operations. The exercise will start on Sunday, April 21, on the main island of the country – Luzon. There is another terrorist group that operates on this island, but it is not connected with Muslim extremists – the New People’s Army (NPA). This is the armed group of the Maoist communist party of the Philippines. So here is another goal of the anti-terrorist operation. It seems that the Philippine government is going to gain the support of Americans in order to get even with that group.
Moreover, Americans have their own claims as far as the Philippine Maoists are concerned. NPA militants have killed ten American citizens since 1997, both civil and military men. By the way, the operation against Maoists may bring up certain difficulties for the Philippine authorities in their relations with China. For the time being there is no information, if the NPA guerrillas have China’s support, although it used to be like that before. NPA has been running its activities for long, because this organization was set up in 1969.
The inability of the Philippine government to solve the problem of terrorism in its own country has reasonable grounds. The majority of the Philippine population is very poor. So, it is not surprising that extremists’ ideas are rather popular among the people of the Philippines.
Nevertheless, America is not likely to be planning the significant increase of its military group on the Philippine islands. Even the presence of 600 American military men (they arrived this January) causes great dissatisfaction amid both the local population, and even the official government. Needless to mention that the USA is not making anti-American sentiments grow in this strategically important region. But Washington is carefully watching the development of the anti-terrorist operation in the Philippines, and it is ready to dispatch more troops over there.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov