|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Jun 12, 2017 04:06 AM EDT|
(Photo : Philippine Army) Philippine Army soldiers fighting in Marawi.
The unhinged rantings of psychotic Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte are being blamed for triggering the ongoing Battle of Marawi that has endured far longer than the government expected, and has again exposed his grave shortcomings as a thinking person.
Some political pundits are saying the Battle of Marawi could have been prevented if Duterte had listened to reason and not dared Muslim terrorists to burn Marawi City in late 2016. These same terrorists triggered a bomb in Davao City in September 2016 that killed 14 persons. Durterte was mayor of this city before he ran for Philippine president.
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The Battle of Marawi is another chapter in the Maute Group's bloody saga that began in 2013 with its founding by two brothers, Abdullah and Omar, who were petty criminals before they decided to change their fortunes by pledging allegiance to the Islamic State that same year.
The group's base of operations is Lanao del Sur, whose capital is Marawi City.
The group fled to the hills after losing their stronghold at the town of Butig in this province to the Philippine Army in February 2016. In November, the Mautes asked the government for a ceasefire, a decision which found favor with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The AFP has its hands full trying to contain other Muslim terrorist groups in Mindanao Island such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Fighting Force and the terrorist Abu Sayyaf bandit group, as well as the communist New People's Army, which made Mindanao its base of operations.
Duterte, however, waffled between agreeing to or rejecting the peace talks. In early December, Duterte said he would "befriend" the Maute group to prevent further violence.
Duterte also said he doesn't want "to wage a war against Filipinos," which is why he urged the terrorists not "to force (his) hand to do it."
On Dec. 12, however, Duterte dashed hopes for a ceasefire in a rambling speech delivered before Filipino and foreign businessmen in Makati City where he also boasted of his stupidity because he got grades of "mostly 78, 79" when he was in high school and college.
"And they demanded that we stop the offensive. They are in the forest. I don't know where and I said they would stop fighting, provided we stop the offensive or not, they said that they will go down upon Marawi to burn the place.
Which is what the Mautes, reinforced by other Muslim terrorists groups, did on May 27.
From 300 to 500 Islamic terrorists are believed to have staged the attempted takeover. Their bid to seize most of the city failed, but Philippine Army and Philippine Marine soldiers are faced with the bloody task of rooting out the remnants of this force.
Duterte's insane focus on his murderous drug war that has killed over 9,000 Filipinos -- most of whom were slaughtered by death squads consisting of policemen from the Philippine National Police -- blinded him to the dangers posed by Islamic State in Mindanao, according to political analysts
"The government has largely been in denial about the growth of ISIS and affiliated groups," said Zachary M. Abuza, a professor at the National War College in Washington who specializes in Southeast Asian security issues.
"Duterte has been preoccupied with his campaign of gutting the rule of law by using police and other security forces for the extrajudicial killing of drug pushers."
The Islamic State has urged fighters who can't get to Syria to fight in Mindanao, according to some western intelligence sources. Fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia, Chechnya, Yemen and Saudi Arabia were among those killed in the battle for Marawi.
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