This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ferreting Out Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao

"Radullan is a fairly committed Jihadist who has spent an extensive part of his life fighting on Jolo Island. Everyone puts it [the abduction of two Canadians, a Filipina and a Norwegian for ransom, the subsequent beheading of one of the captives, John Ridsdel] on him."
"[But Sahiron] is more a tribal elder than an active insurgent these days. It was Sawadjaan's Tanum group which grabbed John. It was his group which held him, it was his group which killed him. In that culture, I am sure Sawadjaan was directly involved in John's actual murder or would have been on hand for it."
"[Sahiron and Sawadjaan are] ruthless monsters. I have seen pictures and videos of what they do and I wish I hadn't."
"If you are young and unemployed, somebody will hand you a gun. But this is not an intense movement. It mostly conducts hits and runs on the military. If any infrastructure comes, their days would be numbered."
"Every day they [the remaining three captives, Canadian Robert Hall, Filiopina Maritess Flor, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad] remain out there is bad for them. From the four videos taken of them we can see how bad their situation is. Each time they are more gaunt. It is barbarism."
Marc Singer, director of business intelligence, Manila office, Pacific Strategies and Assessments Inc.
Militant Video via The Associated Press
Militant Video via The Associated Press   A militant video shows Canadians John Ridsdel, right, and Robert Hall being held captive.
"A region's long-term kidnapping threats are best dealt with through political, military and law enforcement solutions directed at the perpetrators, rather than placing additional burdens on the families of the victim by restricting negotiations or further endangering their lives through a rescue attempt."
"The most dangerous moments during a kidnapping incident are the first few minutes of the abduction and the next most dangerous time is during an attempted rescue."
Pacific Strategies and Assessments: The Myth of 'No Negotiations'
The Air Force and Navy have deployed helicopters to assist soldiers on the ground on an operation against the Abu Sayyaf, the Western Mindanao Command said. File photo

And that attempted rescue is now been carried forward, part of the Philippine military's offensive against Abu Sayyif the fanatical Islamist group in the Philippines that has for decades confronted the government of the Philippines and carried out forays attacking military bases, abducting Filipino citizens and foreigners for profit through offering their release on payment of ransom. In some instances, killing those whom they take  hostage, in the time-honoured manner of how Islam treats its enemies; beheadings.

'No negotiations' with terrorist groups extorting vast sums of money from governments for the release of their captured nationals is indeed a ruse practised by governments claiming to be immune from the kind of criminality that demands payment to support their terrorist agenda. But there are negotiations going forward in just about every instance, some using foreign intermediaries through whom money is funnelled, and others quasi-governmental appointees to act in lieu of government.

No Western government feels comfortable seeing its citizens become victims of barbaric slaughter; it does not play well in the larger community which feels that government has an obligation to protect and come to the rescue of its citizens. The cynical ploys used by government heads to baldly state that their governments will not engage in supplying terrorists with the wherewithal to continue their exploits convinces no one, least of all the very terrorists who receive the funding and release their captives.

And although many intelligence groups and personalities scoff at the links between militant Islam and Abu Sayyif, a group they claim has limited knowledge and vision of Islam, but is criminally motivated through self-interest, claiming affiliation with and allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL itself is delighted to take credit for inspiring the action of a far-off link to their caliphate, spreading the divine word of Islamic conquest.

Apologists in the West who 'understand' the motivation of young Muslim men to lend themselves to jihad, claiming that poverty and lack of education move them toward enlisting in a group whose modus operandi is to stifle any possible vestiges of humanity in their recruits, in the greater interests of instilling terror in non-Muslims to enable their marauding conquests with their targets shrinking in fear from their formidable reputation for savagery, overlook that just as many jihadists are well educated and from well-off backgrounds.

A reputation for ruthless terrorism works to instill fear in the West, and in the East as well. It worked for ISIL when facing and challenging their sectarian counterparts in the Iraqi military who broke ranks to shirk from confronting Islamic State in Mosul and elsewhere. The Philippines' brand of jihadism is comprised of a relatively limited number of dedicated fighters. The military is in possession of weapons of modern warfare, including helicopters, artillery and gunships that can be deployed for the use of their thousands of soldiers.

The weapon that the Muslim insurgents finds most useful is the dense jungle they find haven in, and the Muslim-majority population among whom they mingle who will not betray their presence and from among whom they are able to operate to advantage. The advantages of surprise and of savage intent are also invaluable assets to guerrilla groups like jihadists. When state militias meet non-state fighting groups like jihadis and they use the same brutal tactics, they are condemned by civilized rules of conflict.

The simple fact is an abhorrent menace to civilization must be eradicated. And to do that is to deploy all means to take the advantage of numbers, and when conflict ensues the rule of law sometimes fades because those meeting in combat with ruthless killers who believe that their religion has given them full consent to destroy what they believe is an offence to Islam, have little choice but to respond in kind to be fully effective. Descending, in other words, almost but not quite to the level of brutality employed by jihadis.

Handout    A poster showing Rudullan Sahiron, a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group responsible for the murder of Canadian hostage John Ridsdel in the Philippines.

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