United States gives a helping hand.
PICS: phillipine star and Inquirer.net
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In the tragic siege of Marawi in the south of the Philippines, the nation has learnt quite a few lessons. The United States, its closest ally has come to the same realization regarding the chinks in the Filipino armor.
Hence, it has dawned on Uncle Sam that it needs to fulfill its obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty. This is an occasion where the United States has risen to provide logistical support without physical intervention.
Moreover, as the siege gets longer, the United States has provided armaments that are appropriate to the ground situation.
Now, a United States defense official has indicated that things are likely to change for the better. The insights drawn from the Marawi attack have seeped into the Trump mind.
The siege of Marawi exposed the vulnerabilities and unprepared status of their ally in the most glaring manner. It also justified President Duterte’s allegations against the United States last year.
Duterte, in his rage, had accused the US of not doing enough as an ally. Hence, the wisdom of Duterte has come to the fore.
Furthermore, talks for upgrading Filipino capabilities to counter such eventualities are at an advanced stage according to the anonymous official. Surveillance drones and adequate training to Filipino forces could start soon.
The official clarified that these advanced weaponry was essentially for self defense of US and allies. The drones will provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).
However, the Philippines’ Department of National Defense denied any plans to strike IS-inspired terrorists. Pentagon sources clarified that military assistance is as requested by the government of The Philippines.
The Philippines being a sovereign nation, the United States does not pursue unilateral activities.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is likely to recruit 20,000 additional soldiers subject to approval by congress. These soldiers are to defend the people from the rising Islamist insurgency particularly in the south.
Thus, the emergence of the Islamist militants pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group was a wake-up call. That it resulted in the death of more than 700 lives shows the element of surprise.
The marauding, kidnapping militants captured Marawi City waving the black Islamic State on May 23. The President promptly imposed Martial Law in the entire Mindanao Province.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that the United States is providing logistical support and direction without physically intervening. He called the situation tragic.
The United States defense forces have nearly 500 personnel stationed in The Philippines. Most of them are drawn from Special Operations and regular soldiers.
They provide most of the intelligence inputs to the Filipinos.