You’d want a coronary heart of stone to not pity President Duterte proper now — he’s combating three wars, and he can’t presumably win any of them.
First, there’s his conflict on medication. As quite a few consultants, diplomats and former heads of state have advised him, as quickly as you name this a ‘war’ you’ve already misplaced. That’s not just my opinion, it’s historic truth.
Then, there’s the latest abandonment of peace talks with the communists. Quite justifiably, I believe, the president has responded to their determination to extend assaults in response to martial regulation by saying: “No more talk, let’s fight!”
He’s been very affected person to this point, and fought his election on a transparent coverage: As a self-described “leftist”, who was tutored by commie-in-chief Jose Sison at college, he held out his hand to the rebels, even stuffing his cupboard with Maoists and promising to implement the modifications they search.
However, his open hand has been met with a clenched fist. Whatever anyone’s view on martial regulation, having the Islamic State looking for a stronghold in your nation is a much bigger fear. This ought to have been a time for the reds to step down, and maybe even supply help to authorities forces. They might even have used such a smart strategy as a lever in future peace talks.
But no, as an alternative they doubled down on their assaults, even concentrating on a convoy of the Presidential Security Group — a part of the “fascist” armed forces that has by no means beforehand engaged with the New People’s Army.
So, the 50-year insurgency appears to be like set to proceed, maybe one other half century. The president tried his greatest to win the peace by holding out an olive department, nevertheless it was just thrown again in his face.
Now each of these two wars are a stroll in the park on the subject of the newest incarnation of the centuries-old Muslim insurgency in Minanao.
Many are questioning why the armed forces are nonetheless struggling to liberate Marawi two months after home militants and overseas jihadis first unfurled the black flag of IS over the metropolis.
Sure, it might have been finished in days. Simply order a full evacuation of civilians, then bomb it into rubble. Job finished, proper?
Well, no. That would just sow dragon’s enamel into the wealthy soil of Muslim resentment. The navy offensive has been massively hampered by a dedication to not destroy the metropolis’s mosques and different holy locations — although these are identified to be lethal nests for snipers.
Already, the injury finished by aerial bombardment is being exploited by islamists — and is definite to take root in the minds of at the very least a few of the estimated half 1,000,000 (primarily Muslim) folks displaced by the battle.
As reported right here this week, counter-terrorism consultants have warned that the protracted nature of the siege is inspiring different would-be jihadists and, more and more, making folk-heroes of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists holding out in the metropolis. So it’s a traditional lose-lose state of affairs.
Even authorities help for the evacuees is having a unfavorable impact. Whether true or in any other case, experiences are circulating that they’re being given non-halal meals help.
Not solely this, however some monumentally silly Christian evangelists have been handing out “hygiene kits” — full with Bibles translated into the native language.
It’s not obscure how a Moro particular person, with the lengthy heritage of resisting “Crusaders” and restricted info by way of their social media bubble, might simply be radicalised.
And, sure, it’s occurring, as we reported right here yesterday.
So what can the president presumably do to win this conflict? If he goes in exhausting, he loses. If he takes a sluggish and regular surgical strategy, he loses. Either manner, islamist keyboard warriors will reap a harvest of radicalised Muslims prepared to affix the trigger.
So, what can he do?
Of course! Follow by along with his long-held promise to advertise a completely autonomous ‘Bangsamoro’ area. A brand new self-governing homeland for Muslim Filipinos. And that’s what he’s finished this week.
At least then the drug sellers, communists and Islamic fanatics might be anyone else’s drawback… at the very least for the time being…