The Head Side of the Coin: A Smarter Way to Fight the Moro Secessionists in the Southern Philippines
Wright Flyer Paper no. 42
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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This paper examines the counterterrorist strategy employed on the Island of Basilan during Operation Enduring Freedom- Philippines OEF-P and discusses its potential applicability in the current Moro Islamic Liberation Front MILF insurgency. The strategy used the principles found in the Diamond Model, the counterinsurgency COIN model that Dr. Gordon McCormick developed. The Diamond Model establishes the interactions of four key players in an insurgency environment, pinpoints the people as the center of gravity, and demonstrates how either the insurgent or the counterinsurgent can take actions as each competes to win the peoples support. The US forces dispatched to the island province used it as a framework to advise and assist the armed forces of the Philippines in building up its capability and to launch civic action initiatives aimed at isolating the local people from the influence of the local terror group, the Abu Sayyaf. This paper provides a thorough examination of the root causes of the MILF conflict. It shows that the Muslims in the southern Philippines have been subjected to a long history of attempted subjugation, forced assimilation, and dislocation from their ancestral territories. It also shows why the MILF rose in arms to seek an independent homeland for the Moro people. The MILF symbolizes the hopes and dreams for a better future of all Muslims in the Philippines. The Moro people aspire for a better future and see these aspirations being achieved only if they rule independently of the national government. Because of this lofty goal, a COIN strategy that provides them temporary improvements in their living conditions may not be enough to wean their support from the MILF.
- Unconventional Warfare