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
> items against U.S. military intervention in the Philippines and
> 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
> Mindanao, the Visayas and Luzon. In 2006 and beyond, BAYAN USA
> organizations will continue to educate ourselves among a community
> for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines. We recognize the
> connection between the inability of millions of Filipinos to survive
> 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
> control and extraction of valuable resources.
> We recall a long history of foreign military influence over the
> government and unequal economics relations with the U.S. Since the
> 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
> condition aggravates the already difficult living conditions faced by
> Filipinos and immigrants in the U.S. who are targeted along with
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> combat operations," US Embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop said. "The
> 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
> Sayyaf rebels and bandit groups are active, fell apart because of
> that the Americans may join local combat in violation of the
> 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
> 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
> insurrectionists resisting American rule in the early 1900s.
> The military has been struggling to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf at times
> covert US non-combat assistance on Jolo. But a few hundred
> guerrillas have endured numerous offensives and continue to threaten
> impoverished island and nearby regions.
> The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for high-profile kidnappings and
> bomb
> attacks.
> A US commander, Col. James Linder, said the Americans will be armed
> will
> have adequate security. "There is a threat there and its dangerous,"
> 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
> exercises would be held.
> A smaller US contingent will hold month long military exercises with
> Philippine troops in Carmen town, in North Cotabato province,
> Jan.
> 15, Lussenhop said.
> The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a large separatist group
> 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
> in peace talks with the government. Military officials continue to
> some group members of harboring Indonesian militants and providing a
> training ground for them.

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