MILF likely to mediate in Marawi siege? Highly sensitive issue. Civilian interest must:Iqbal. Swapping parents of Maute leaders with Priest likely.

MILF may mediate at Marawi

PICS: Inquirer .net

PICS: Inquirer .net

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With no settlement of the Marawi crisis in sight, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) emerged as a likely mediator. However, a tiger cannot shed its stripes.

As another terror outfit, it has its own needs for the proverbial pound of flesh. Rather, it had its conditions for taking on the coveted role. It was prepared to do so only in the interest of safety and security of civilians.

The chairman of the MILF peace implementing panel, Mohagher Iqbal, mentioned that none of the warring parties had approached them. Therefore, if they were to mediate, it would require a formal request from both sides.

Neither the Islamic State nor the government side had come forward with such a proposal. Iqbal stated that the civilian interest was essential; only then would their organization consider it.

The possibility arose on Sunday during a meeting of emissaries and Abdullah Maute facilitated by the Eid ceasefire. They were reportedly told by Abdullah that they may depart only if the MILF.

However, the arrest of the Maute parents seems to be a matter that is prompting such possibilities. A degree of helplessness and scheming between the MILF and the IS seems to be visible in these statements
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MILF seems to have devised this plan for killing two birds with one stone.
• Firstly, they gain prominence in the Moro circles for their role as negotiators,
• Secondly, they succeed in getting a face-saving deal for their Muslim brethren who may not come out alive,
• Furthermore, they score vital brownie points with both sides and
• They improve their public image and manage to increase their membership.

The security forces arrested separately Cayamora and Omenta, parents of the Maute brothers. In fact, they proved to be a precious catch.

The Islamic State, after kidnapping and killing so many, are appearing more human and compromising.
The invincible marauders, without appearing to bow down, are trying to find a way out of this mess. What better representative than another Muslim terror outfit to bail them out?

Do they know as to how many parents they massacred?

It would be foolish to negotiate and risk many more deaths for the sake of one popular priest.

A tough message needs conveying.

Otherwise, many more ISLAMIC STATES will continue to kidnap, rape, and massacre civilians. So, by using the MILF as negotiators, the cornered Maute have opened a door because the government is unrelenting.

Thus, MILF has emerged as the backdoors method for the murderers of Marawi who know that they are cornered. Iqbal never tried to save any Christians but he is eager to save the cornered Maute and their parents.

Their main role was that of rescuers as part of government-MILF Joint Coordinating, Monitoring and Assistance Center (JCMAC). They were instrumental in rescuing more than 200 people.

But, with the continuing siege of Marawi their role might become that of negotiators if all parties agree. Moreover, this is just the initial move by the obstinate Maute leaders.

Long history

But, the cooperation between MILF and the Government of the Philippines (GOP) does go back a long time. Throughout the long history of the Moro rebellion the MILF has been negotiating with the government.

This resulted in frequent interactions and a clearer understanding of each other’s positions. Hence, the result was the peace accord of 2014. Another instance of their interaction was the clearance from Central Mindanao of rebel hideouts.

The principle of Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) was the guiding force of this anti-terrorist campaign. Later, the cooperation continued through several missions of search and rescue.

Therefore, the government and the MILF do have a level of understanding on most of the issues.

Knowing the various issues in depth, Iqbal acknowledges the difficulties involved in mediating between the two parties.

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Umrao Singh
umraoz.wordpress.com
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson.
www.thephilippinepride.com
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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