Saturday, June 28, 2014

The American Military Mission to the Philippines Ends Successfully

           The United States military mission to the Philippines began shortly after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks to fight an al-Qaeda affiliate that had kidnapped several Americans, beheading one of them, in addition to numerous kidnappings and terrorist attacks committed against Filipinos. 

The soldiers trained and advised the Filipino military, only engaging in combat one time in self-defense, although one American soldier was murdered in a bomb blast by the Islamist rebels and others perished in an accident.  The American mission to the Philippines was a major success in the U.S-led War on Terrorism, as the Filipino military has gained ground against the jihadists, who have seen their numbers diminish dramatically. 

Most American soldiers will soon depart the combat zone, but a large percentage will be based indefinitely outside the zone elsewhere in the Philippines, where they will be on standby.  The U.S. and the Philippines also recently concluded a separate agreement allowing American soldiers to be based in the Philippines to defend it against Chinese aggression in the disputed Spratly Islands, the first time U.S. troops will be on Filipino soil in decades since they departed from the former American colony after the Cold War.  As I posted previously, the Filipino government had negotiated a peace deal with the main group of non-Islamist Muslim rebels who had fought a long guerilla campaign for independence, while Filipino troops have been routing Communist rebels.

The withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the Philippines is in sharp contrast to the Obama Administration’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, where no American troops remained afterward, and the announced plan to withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of this year, where a residual force will remain only temporarily – before either state was fully ready to defeat Islamist rebels without significant American help.  

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