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Dyer: Duterte’s disregard for law fuels crisis

3 0 0
03.07.2017

A month ago, hardly anybody outside the Philippines had ever heard of Marawi. Now it’s the latest front in the war against Islamic State. More evidence, if you needed it, that the terrorism associated with Islamic State will go on long after Mosul and Raqqa have been liberated and “Caliph Ibrahim” (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) has been killed or captured.

“We have actually preempted the establishment of a wilayat (a province of Islamic State),” said Ernesto Abella, the spokesperson of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, which is definitely overstating the case. The response of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was slow and clumsy, and government policy has been lax and inattentive.

It’s not even clear that the attempt by the Maute group of Islamist fighters to take over Marawi, an unimportant city of 200,000 people in the centre of Mindanao island in the southern Philippines, was a bid to create a “wilayat” of Islamic State. It is necessary to control some territory to declare a wilayat, so they had a motive, but this fight started almost accidentally.

The fighting broke out in the city after a failed attempt to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, a leading figure........

© Sarnia Observer