By Tony Cartalucci | 15 June 2017
LAND DESTROYER REPORT — In an all too familiar pattern, militants proclaiming ties to the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) have once again found themselves aiding US foreign policy, this time in the Philippines where the Philippine government has been increasingly seeking closer ties with Beijing at the expense of Washington’s longstanding influence in the Southeast Asian state.
Militants have conducted a large scale military operation seizing parts of the southern Philippine city of Marawi where they have carried out a variety of atrocities and hoisted ISIS flags. Located on the southern island of Mindanao, the city is only slightly removed from Al Qaeda affiliate Abu Sayaff’s primary area of operation on nearby Jolo and Basilan islands.
Abu Sayaff and other regional affiliates have received much of their funding and support from one of America’s oldest and closest Mideast allies, Saudi Arabia, with whom the US has just recently sealed another unprecedented arms deal.
It is now reported that the US military is aiding Philippine troops in attempts to retake the city, highlighting just how ISIS has been used as a pretext to justify Washington’s continued influence in the nation — and particularly — the presence of US military forces in Southeast Asia.
AFP would report in an article titled, “US troops on the ground in war-ravaged Philippine city: military,” that:
US troops are on the ground helping local soldiers battle Islamist militants in a Philippine city, a Filipino military spokesman said Wednesday, giving the most detailed account of their role.
The small number of US soldiers are providing vital surveillance assistance and, although they do not have a combat role, are allowed to open fire on the militants if attacked first, spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said.
AFP also noted that:
The issue of US troops in the Philippines has become extremely sensitive since Rodrigo Duterte became president last year and sought to downgrade his nation’s military alliance with the United States in favour of China.
However, the fact that the militants are funded and supported by US ally Saudi Arabia, and that the Islamic State itself was admittedly a creation of US and Persian Gulf interests, their sudden and spectacular appearance in the Philippines just as US-Philippine ties were at their lowest and impetus to finally remove America’s presence from the nation at its highest, indicate that the recent mayhem is more than convenient coincidence. […]