Friday, January 13, 2006

No combat for US troops in Sulu

Below is a recent article on elevated U.S. troop presence in the
> Philippines. Please stay posted for further updates and community
action
> items against U.S. military intervention in the Philippines and
related
> human rights violations which continue to intensify under the Gloria
> Macapagal Arroyo Regime.
>
> BAYAN USA calls for an end to U.S. military funding of millions of
our own
> tax dollars to arm, train and maintain 5000 troops in Sulu and
throughout
> Mindanao, the Visayas and Luzon. In 2006 and beyond, BAYAN USA
> organizations will continue to educate ourselves among a community
unified
> for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines. We recognize the
> connection between the inability of millions of Filipinos to survive
in
> our
> country and the occupation of that land by the Armed Forces of the
> Philippines. The AFP is of course led by U.S troops to impose land
use
> control and extraction of valuable resources.
>
> We recall a long history of foreign military influence over the
Philippine
> government and unequal economics relations with the U.S. Since the
1890s,
> a
> then emerging U.S. empire has successfully continued to keep the
> Philippines
> locked on a course of economic and political crisis along with social
> unrest
> for more than 100 years. We are also clear that this historical
colonial
> condition aggravates the already difficult living conditions faced by
> Filipinos and immigrants in the U.S. who are targeted along with
Mexicanos
> and other foreign born residents that feel the harsh impact of racist
> immigration profiling and policies.
>
> BAYAN USA calls for strengthened international solidarity among all
> peoples
> and nations facing imperialist wars of aggression in the Middle East
> especially Iraq and Palestine where we see the most concentration of
U.S
> military presence and resulting onslaught of war torn repression and
> violence.
>
> End U.S military intervention in the Philippines, Iraq and Palestine
> National Liberation and Democracy in the Philippines, Haiti and
Colombia!
> Long Live International Solidarity!
>
> ------
>
> No combat for US troops in Sulu
> The Philippine Star 01/05/2006
>
> American soldiers who are in the Philippines for the RP-US
"Balikatan"
> military exercises in Sulu will not join any combat operations, the
> spokesman of the US Embassy said yesterday.
>
> "American troops don't participate in any Armed Forces of the
Philippines
> combat operations," US Embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop said. "The
goal
> is to help AFP develop sustained anti-terrorism capability and better
> inter-operability with US forces."
>
> More than 5,000 American soldiers will hold joint counterterrorism
> exercises
> in areas where al-Qaeda-linked militants operate.
>
> The bulk of the Americans will join thousands of Filipino soldiers in
> their
> largest annual war maneuvers on Jolo Island in Sulu that start on
Feb. 20
> and will last two weeks.
>
> An earlier plan to fly in US troops to Jolo, where al-Qaeda-allied
Abu
> Sayyaf rebels and bandit groups are active, fell apart because of
concerns
> that the Americans may join local combat in violation of the
Philippine
> Constitution.
>
> Security for the Americans and opposition to the war drills by Muslim
> villagers have been nagging concerns on Jolo, labeled as a "no-man's
land"
> due to a surfeit of unlicensed guns, frequent bloodshed and a bitter
> history
> with American forces.
>
> Muslim activists still cite violent US campaigns to quell restive
native
> insurrectionists resisting American rule in the early 1900s.
>
> The military has been struggling to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf at times
with
> covert US non-combat assistance on Jolo. But a few hundred
mountain-based
> guerrillas have endured numerous offensives and continue to threaten
the
> impoverished island and nearby regions.
>
> The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for high-profile kidnappings and
deadly
> bomb
> attacks.
>
> A US commander, Col. James Linder, said the Americans will be armed
and
> will
> have adequate security. "There is a threat there and its dangerous,"
he
> said.
>
> In an apparent bid to win the hearts of Jolo villagers, he said the
> exercises would focus on humanitarian projects, including medical
> missions,
> construction of schools and excavation of wells and assured no
live-fire
> exercises would be held.
>
> A smaller US contingent will hold month long military exercises with
> Philippine troops in Carmen town, in North Cotabato province,
starting
> Jan.
> 15, Lussenhop said.
>
> The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a large separatist group
which
> has
> been linked to the regional Muslim militant group Jemaah Islamiyah,
has a
> presence in the sprawling region.
>
> The rebel front has denied links with foreign terror groups and is
engaged
> in peace talks with the government. Military officials continue to
accuse
> some group members of harboring Indonesian militants and providing a
> training ground for them.

No comments: