Three weeks ago, I wrote a column entitled, “ISIS’ rise and terror should tell us to junk and bury BBL now.”
There I pointed out that the two Islamic armed organizations differ in their approach. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) strategy is the Maoist style of raising a conventional guerilla army that would demand from the central government the right for Muslims in the Philippines to form their own independent state.
The Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is also using that strategy, but on a grander and faster scale, using the billions of dollars it receives as financial support from its Saudi Arabian sympathizers and revenues from the oil wells it has seized and taken over.
The MILF’s difference from the ISIS, though, is that the Middle East jihadist organization openly espouses, finances and undertakes horrible terrorist attacks that kill mostly civilians, as in their recent carnage in Paris and California, and mass beheadings of people outside of their faith. At least the MILF claims that’s not the way it operates.
Both, though, have the same goal – the establishment of an Islamic state. That of ISIS is the medieval grand vision of a global caliphate. That of the MILF, is a Bangsamoro (which translates to Moro Nation) at the heart of Mindanao, disguised at this stage as merely an autonomous entity with an “asymmetric” relationship with the Philippine nation state.
What President Aquino and his bleeding-heart negotiators refuse to see in their obsession for the Nobel Peace Prize is that to set up an Islamic state isn’t just a fervent dream for Muslims. It is an injunction for every Muslim to contribute to the establishment of such an Islamic state.
That is the reason why there is no autonomous entity anywhere in the world under Muslim leadership. For an independent state to allow the creation of such a Muslim-dominated area would mean its political dismemberment: the Muslim rulers in such an entity would use their territory to strengthen their army for their eventual secession. We would have been the only suckers in the world to have fallen for such lies by the MILF.
What I did not expect when I wrote that article was that the ISIS was not just in touch with the MILF to recruit potential jihadists. They have also been directly going to the Muslim masses to attract jihadists for training to fight both in Mindanao and in the Middle East.
The London-based Daily Mail the other day had a major feature on ISIS’ operations in the Philippines, with several accompanying photos, as well as embedded videos. The article’s title: ISIS unveil the Philippines as their new breeding ground for jihadis with their latest propaganda video featuring a secret Filipino jungle training camp.
The text of the article is, however, short as it is mainly a video-based report:
The Philippines has become the latest ISIS target for expansion after the jihadi group released its first propaganda video of a terror training camp in the Filipino jungle.
“Several jihadi commanders are shown urging Filipinos to travel to Syria to join ISIS before revealing the group have already started their own terror camp in the Philippines.
The footage shows the ‘soldiers of the Caliphate in the Philippines’ working on their fitness and agility by completing a series of assault course drills.
A small group of recruits, each wearing similar black clothing and masks, are shown climbing up rope ladders, crawling under barbed wire and practicing with weapons.
The Filipino government has long said that support for ISIS in the Philippines was limited to local bandits claiming allegiance to the group.
However, the latest propaganda video suggests that the jihadi group has earmarked the Philippines as a potential site for establishing further new bases.
The new video comes after eight members of a criminal gang that pledged allegiance to ISIS were killed in a firefight with the military in the southern Philippines last month.
The hour-long battle took place in Palimbang, a remote town in the south – home to the predominantly Catholic nation’s Muslim minority and the scene of decades of conflict.
The bandits were from Ansar al-Khalifa, a small group that declared its support for ISIS in a video circulated on the Internet last year, regional military spokesman Major Filemon Tan said.
The larger Abu Sayyaf group has also pledged its allegiance to ISIS and is holding at least four foreign nationals hostages.
The group is demanding millions of dollars in ransom for their safe release and have released several videos threatening them with execution.
Tan told AFP that five black flags similar to those used by Islamic State fighters were recovered from the bandits after the clash.
Criminal gangs operate kidnap for ransom and extortion activities alongside Muslim and communist separatist campaigns in the restive south.
While the relatively new Ansar al-Khalifa had extorted from businessmen and stolen cattle from farmers, it had no proven links with Islamic State – also known by the acronym ISIS – national military spokesman Colonel Restituto Padilla said.
‘This group is trying to ride on the popularity of the ISIS, but they’re not really ISIS,’ he told AFP. ‘We view them as mere criminal gangs.’
Tan said the military was verifying intelligence reports that one of the eight killed was an Indonesian national.”
We really should thank Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for heroically resisting this stupid Administration’s massive steamrollers (and ATM machines) that would have created an “ISIM” in the south – the Islamic State for Islands of Sulu and Mindanao. Most of those who voted for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in the House of Representatives were, of course, Liberal Party members, including vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo.