By THE INTERNATIONAL COALITION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has drawn praise from US anti-war activists and peace advocates for his recent statement likening the violence in Mindanao to the crisis in the Middle East, and that in both cases, America has used the rhetoric of anti-terrorism and Islamophobia to intervene and create a crisis situation.
“It is not that the Middle East is exporting terrorism in America. America imported terrorism,” Duterte stated last Friday to an audience of Muslim Filipinos during the Mindanao Hariraya Eid’l Fit’r 2016 in Davao City. Duterte cited US invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein as an example of war and destabilization, that along with intervention in Libya and Syria, has left the region in acute crisis.
“Thank you, President Duterte, for having the courage to tell the truth,” responded Chicago-based Joe Iosbaker of the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC).
“It is indisputable the US government created Al Qaeda, created ISIS,” Iosbaker continued. Osama Bin Laden was trained by the CIA in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda in Syria was provided training and weapons by the U.S. to wage a war against the legitimate government in Damascus. Turkey, a U.S. puppet, has facilitated ISIS flow of weapons and recruits in Syria. Saudi Arabia, a U.S. puppet, armed Al Qaeda in Iraq, and they armed Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria. If the U.S. did not want Al Qaeda and ISIS to get this support, they could have ordered their puppets to stop. The order never came.”
In 2002, the Bush administration declared the Philippines, in particular Mindanao, the so-called “Second Front” to the Global War on Terror, claiming groups such as the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiah have links to Al Qaeda and ISIS. In Mindanao, a Muslim minority, the Bangsamoro, are continuing to fight an armed struggle for self-determination and in defense of their mineral and oil-rich territory from corporate extraction.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 11 out of the 20 poorest provinces in the Philippines are located in Mindanao, with the highest poverty incidence in the Bangsamoro territories
Iosbaker will be traveling to Mindanao this July 16-24 as part of a 100+ US delegation to events sponsored by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, or ICHRP, including a fact-finding mission in Zamboanga, where the US stationed its special forces for 13 years as part of the Global War on Terror.
“The US invasion of the Middle East and continuing military presence there is about US control over the world’s largest oil deposits and other minerals. It’s the same in Mindanao, home to over $1 trillion worth of untapped natural minerals and oil, making the Philippines the 5th most mineral-region in the world,” Iosbaker continued.
“Just like the Filipino people, the American people want peace and genuine development in the Philippines. Right now, at the root of the socio-economic crisis and unrest in the country is impoverishment resulting from US economic policies and militarism, funded by US tax dollars. I applaud Duterte’s push to resume formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which seeks to address the roots of the armed conflict in the country. Americans don’t want our tax dollars funding crisis and bloodshed in the Philippines.”