American Troops In Mindanao As Rebel Targets: Dangers Of A Wider Conflict?
Military authorities officially described it as a “small explosion” with one report describing the material thrown in the direction os American troops at the Zamboanga City pier as nothing but a “pillbox.”
But why where the US GIs unloading supplies sufficiently provoked to indiscriminately fire their automatic weapons?
Thankfully no one was hurt but several nearby businesses sustained gunfire damage.
It is difficult not to conclude that the Americans were targeted even as no group claimed responsibility.
Consider, however this story just three days ago from the communist National Democratic Front:
The US position was echoed by Philippine Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro who arrived from a five-day visit to the US after meeting Gates and CIA Director Leon Panetta aimed at bringing “to a high gear” the defense and security cooperation between the US and Philippines.
“US imperialism has become ever more arrogant and overbearing in asserting its imperial power over the Philippines,” said Madlos. “It is trampling on Philippine sovereignty with utter impunity emboldened by the outright puppetry and servility of the Arroyo government.”
The US military has established its permanent presence in the country through the auspices of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Under the VFA, it has succeeded in permanently stationing the 600-force Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) in several areas in Mindanao. Additionally, several thousand US soldiers have been allowed to enter the Philippines purportedly to participate in the annual Balikatan joint military exercises.
US military forces have been increasingly involved in counter-guerrilla operations. Its troops are engaged in electronic and sattelite surveilance as well as provide battlefield logistical support. Teams of US soldiers have been seen embedded in AFP units in combat field operations as well as in tactical command posts (TCPs).
“The patriotic people of Mindanao do not welcome the permanent presence and intervention of US troops in Mindanao and elsewhere in the Philippines,” added Madlos. “They are not deceived by the so-called humanitarian operations being conducted by the US that aim to camouflage their military interventionism.”
“The NDF-Mindanao calls on the people and all revolutionary forces in Mindanao to intensify their struggles against the interventionist troops of the US. Unite with the rest of the Filipino people in demanding an end to the permanent presence of US troops,” added Madlos.
Is it not entirely possible that yesterday’s “small esxplosion “ WAS a test mission?
Could this not presage a widening of the conflict in the deep South with the extended deployment there of the elite 600-man Joint Special Operations Task Force being a magnet for rebel attacks?
No conclusion is being made by this writer, but the questions must be asked.