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The Philippines Have Taken On Crucial Importance: This Could Be A Big Win For Trump.

ArmchairPolitiicianTrumpSwampThePhilippines, June 19, 2017, by Brad Peery, WWW.ArmchairPolitician.US, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com

The Philippines have gotten recent notoriety in the U.S. for several reasons. A frosty relationship developed under Obama. President Rodrigo Duterte has a bloody first year in office, killing over 8,000 people in an anti-drug campaign, since last June. President Trump visited with president Rodrigo Duterte at the White House. The visit was supposedly soliciting support to oppose North Korean aggression. However, there are other reasons to have a relationship.

China is claiming the South China Sea as their territorial domain, and building islands, on which they are locating military facilities. China recently sent three naval ships to visit President Duterte, and they were well received at the President’s home town. President Duterte has reversed Philippine policy, and instead of using the U.S. as a partner to oppose China, is seeking Chinese investment.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations recently had a meeting at which the China South China Sea situation was not mentioned, despite The Philippines having some claims in the South China Sea. The U.S. has pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, weakening the U.S. in opposing China’s global trade ambitions, although The Philippines was not a member.

The Philippines has ISIS terrorist problems on the Muslim island of Mindanao, where a 60-day period of martial law was declared in mid-May. This area has entrenched poverty and poor education that has alienated them from the Philippines’ Roman Catholic majority, making them susceptible to radicalization. Ipsnlon Hapilon, with Abu Sayyaf, is the ISIS leader in the Philippine area.

The island of Mindanao has a population of about 22 million people, and has a number of terrorist organizations. As ISIS has lost territory in Syria and Iraq, fighters have gone to Mindanao, aided by porous borders and lax immigration policies. The Philipino army launched a raid on a terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf’s, hideout in the city of Marawi, a city of over 200,000. It was an attempt to capture the terrorist leader Ipsnilon Hapilon. Hapilon is on the U.S. most wanted list, and has a price tag of $5 million on his head. The group is known for kidnapping and beheading foreign tourists. They live off of ransoms and other illegal activities. The leader was not caught and the Maute group, another ISIS terrorist group was called in to join attacks in the city. About 500 terrorists attacked the city, and since then some have slipped out of the city. As of last week, they still held 20% of the city. They cut power and captured several facilities, including city hall, and a Catholic church. A priest and others were captured.

At the time of the attack, Duterte was in Moscow where agreements were to be signed. He met with Vladimir Putin, and asked the Russians to supply guns to fight the terrorists. He immediately came home, and declared martial law.

Over two-hundred have been killed, and a surprisingly well-armed terrorist organization has been hunted house-to-house. The deaths included 58 security forces, and about 200 terrorists, and a small number of civilians. The terrorists came from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Tens of thousands of residents were fleeing, and kidnappings have happened.

The Maute’s are reputed to be the force behind the attack. Omar and Abdullah Maute are part of an aristocratic land owing clan. They could have been planning to take control of Marawi, and were prematurely interrupted when the initial attack occurred by the Philippine army.

ArmchairPolitician.US Opinion:
The Philippines have become very important in many respects. They are developing investments from China, and seeking arms to fight ISIS from Russia. They are also the nexus of a thrust by ISIS to infiltrate the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia region. Those three countries have banded together to form a naval force to fight the terrorists, and their supply, ransom and hijacking activities. The U.S. Special Forces are aiding The Philippines in Marawai. The Philippines contact President Trump has opened up could be a major achievement in the South China Sea area.

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