Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines

Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Conflict supported by
Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines
partof= the War on Terrorism, Insurgency in the Philippines

caption=Philippine and US soldiers
date=January 15, 2002 - ongoing
place= Mindanao, Philippines
notes= Causes:
Islamic insurgency in the Philippines,
September 11, 2001 attacks
result=Conflict ongoing.
flagicon|Philippines Pro Government Militia
flag|United States small|(advisors)
combatant2=flagicon image|Flag of Jihad.svg Moro Islamic Liberation Front

commander1=RP Forces:
flagicon|Philippines Hermogenes Esperon Jr
flagicon|Philippines Brigadier General Ramiro Alivio
U.S. Advisors:
flagicon|United States Ltg. Martin Dempsey Small|(acting CENTCOM commander)
Flagicon|United StatesGen. David Petraeus small|(incoming CENTCOM commander)
flagicon|United States Bill Coultrup
commander2=flagicon image|Flag of Jihad.svg Khadaffy Janjalani
flagicon image|NPA.png Jose Maria Sison
strength1=18,000 Filipinos
Unknown CAFGU (Militias)
500 American advisors
strength2=2,000 (ASG)
11,000 (MILF)
7,000 (NPA)
200-300 al-Qaeda
casualties1=386 Filipino soldiers killed,
15 US soldiers killed(1 killed in action),
20+ policemen killed
Unknown militia casualties
casualties2=822 killed, 145 captured
notes= Causes:
Islamic insurgency in the Philippines,
September 11, 2001 attacks
Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines (OEF-P) is part of Operation Enduring Freedom and the U.S. Global War on Terrorism [cite web
title=Flashpoint, No bungle in the jungle
] . About 500 U.S. military personnel are advising and assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the Southern Philippines.

Special Operations Command-Pacific (SOCPAC) troops are the core of Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines (OEF-P), an operation which supports the Government of the Republic of the Philippines counterterrorism efforts. With U.S. advice and training, the AFP and civilian authorities have improved theirability to coordinate and sustain counterterrorism operations. U.S. andPhilippine forces have also worked together under the new Security EngagementBoard framework – the primary mechanism for consultation and planningregarding non-traditional security threats – to complete humanitarian andcivil assistance projects and improve living conditions in the southernPhilippines. As a result of their combined efforts, support for terrorists haswaned markedly.

Deployment first began January 2002 and involved more than 1,200 members of United States Special Operations Command, Pacific (SOCPAC), headed by Brig. Gen. Donald C. Wurster. SOCPAC's deployable joint task force HQ, Joint Task Force 510 (JTF 510), directed and carried out the operation.

The mission was to advise the Armed Forces of the Philippines in combating terrorism in the Philippines. [cite web
title=Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines
] Much of the mission (Exercise Balikatan 02-1) took place on the island of Basilan, a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf. The mission is not to be confused with Balikatan 02-2, which took plac

In 2005 and 2006 renewed fighting between the government forces and Abu Sayyaf guerillas allied with the New People's Army (NPA) hit the south of the Philippines. At the end of 2006 the NPA is estimated to have 7,000 fighters while Abu Sayyaf has 2,000.

In August 2008, a cease-fire deal which had been holding barely since 2003 seemed to have colapsed with Muslim rebels going on a rampage in villages in the south, hacking to death 44 civilians. The rampage started in retaliation to military operations against the rebels. The military responded to the killings with a wide-scalle operation which resulted in the capture and destruction of some 15 rebel camps. 17 Filipino soldiers and 5 pro-government militiamen were killed along with at least 141 rebels in the fighting between August 11 and August 25, another 64 soldiers were wounded. At least another 60 civilians were killed in the military offensive, 20 of them in the town of Piagapo. [Citation
title=Philippines dissolves panel in talks with rebels
author=Jim Gomez
publisher=Yahoo News
date=4 September 2008
] [Citation
title=Over 180 killed so far in Philippine fighting
date=27 August 2008
publisher=Yahoo News


Armed Forces of the Philippines

Elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are deployed in Mindanao to deal with Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah.

United States Armed Forces

The United States has provided the Philippine government with advisors, equipment and financial support to counter Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah.

Abu Sayyaf

The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is deemed a "foreign terrorist organization" by the United States government. Specifically, it is an Islamist separatist group based in and around the southern islands of the Republic of the Philippines, primarily Jolo, Basilan, and Mindanao.

Since inception in the early 1990s, the group has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and extortion in their fight for an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, with a claimed overarching goal of creating a Pan-Islamic superstate across the "Malay" portions of Southeast Asia, spanning, from east to west, the large island of Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago (Basilan and Jolo islands), the large island of Borneo (Malaysia and Indonesia), the South China Sea, and the Malay Peninsula (Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand and Burma).

The name of the group is Arabic for "Father" (Abu) "of the Sword" (Sayyaf).

Jemaah Islamiyah

Jemaah Islamiyah is a militant Islamic terrorist organization dedicated to the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy in Southeast Asia, in particular Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, the south of Thailand and the Philippines.

Jemaah Islamiyah is thought to have killed hundreds of civilians and is suspected of having executed the Bali car bombing on October 12, 2002 in which suicide bombers killed 202 people, mostly Australian tourists, and wounded many in a nightclub. After this attack, the U.S. State Department designated Jemaah Islamiyah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Jemaah Islamiyah is also suspected of carrying out the Zamboanga bombings, the Rizal Day Bombings, the 2004 Jakarta embassy bombing and the 2005 Bali terrorist bombing.

Financial links between Jemaah Islamiyah and other terrorist groups, such as Abu Sayyaf and al-Qaeda, have been found to exist. [Citation
title=Funding Terrorism in Southeast Asia: The Financial Network of Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah
author=Zachary Abuza
publisher=National Bureau of Asian Research
date=December, 2003
] Jemaah Islamiyah means "Islamic Group" and is often abbreviated JI.

Balikatan training exercises

The Balikatan training exercises are a part of Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines which is mainly a series of joint training exercises between the Philippines and the United States. These training exercises are mainly taking place in Mindanao, the Spratly Islands, Tarlac, and other parts in the Philippines. The Balikatan training exercises are focused on joint training and counter-terrorist training aimed on strengthening relations between the Philippines and the United States. The Balikatan training exercises are also aimed on training Philippine forces to fight the Abu Sayyaf, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

There have been allegations in the Philippine press and elsewhere that visiting forces from the United States appear to have become a permanent fixture in the landscape of Zamboanga City and other crisis-torn parts of Mindanao. Philippine presidential executive secretary Eduardo Ermita has responded to these allegations by saying, that the U.S. soldiers "... all look alike so it’s as if they never leave," going on to say that they "... are replaced every now and then. They leave, contrary to the critics’ impression that they have not left". These remarks were made in response to statements made by Edgar Araojo, a political science professor at Western Mindanao State University, that the country had surrendered its sovereignty. In specific response, Ermita said, "Our national sovereignty and territorial integrity are intact", going on to point out that the Balikatan exercises had bolstered national and regional security, and to say that terrorists and communist rebels were "common enemies of democracy, therefore there is nothing wrong with cooperation" between the armed forces of the US and the Philippines. [Citation
title=Palace: GIs all look alike
author=Michael Lim Ubac
publisher=Philippine Daily Inquirer
date=7 September 2008

References and notes

See also

* Military history of the United States
* Military history of the Philippines
* Operation Alavar

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