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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Next Failed State


By Erick San Juan
Yemen failed state. Who's next? (Ed.)
Yemen failed state. Who’s next? (Ed.)
After thirteen years, the United States has decided to reduce and eventually remove the Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF) troops from Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) headquarters in Zamboanga City. What could be the reason behind such decision?
Actually, it was in June 27, 2014 when the US announced the scaledown of the JSOTF through Department of National Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin when he said that “the task force will no longer exist, but many of the capabilities will remain,” under what it termed an “augmentation team”. In other words, they will never leave, in fact through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) they can use our existing military camps as their camps too. As what our friends from the progressive camp said – “The most likely scenario is that they will be relocating their operations in other parts of the country, thanks to the de facto basing pact known as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement,” by BAYAN’s Renato Reyes Jr.
Methinks that their next camp of choice will be the Oyster Bay inside the Ulugan Bay in Palawan as provided by EDCA through the ‘agreed locations’ provision.
What else is new? As what I have said for the nth time, the US will never leave this country because there are so many things more beneficial to them than to us.
The mere fact that they reiterated their intent of ‘deactivating’ the JSOTF, does it mean that they are ‘guilty’ of the accusations of some pundits that they really had a hand in the Mamasapano incident despite their denials and cover up? They might also have some casualties in the said ‘encounter’. Probably this is the best time to pull out the JSOTF so that they will not to be investigated in their supposed role in the Operation Exodus. It’s amazing how they can inter change the names of Oplan from Wolverine into Exodus and vice versa to confuse everyone.
But not so fast, Joe. According to Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon, he will file a resolution to call for a congressional review on the performance and activities of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P).
Ridon expressed particular concern over the revelation that in a span of 13 years, a total of 17 JSOTF-P officers died during their tour of duty.
He said that “of the 17, ten died in the helicopter crash in Bohol in 2002. But what of the seven others? What were the cause of their deaths?” Ridon asked, explaining that it is possible that some of these US servicemen died during combat operations.
“We have to emphasize that our Constitution bans direct combat involvement of US troops. If these US servicemen died in combat in Mindanao, then we are looking at cases of serious infringement of our sovereignty,” Ridon said. (Source: http://kabataanpartylist.com)
Uncle Sam really have some explaining to do, unless some solons will object to conduct such investigation from the US side. And many believe that these solons deserve a no vote if they will run for re-election. They are the virtual slaves of a perceived master and will never be patriotic enough to defend the sovereignty of this country!
In the midst of all of these, many observers and pundits are asking why the PNoy administration has to stage manage a ‘wag the dog’ scenario to cover the truth that the government should push through in getting and apprehending members of MILF instead of the relentless bombing of BIFF and ASG. Is the government afraid of the threat of retaliation from the MILF if the BBL will be derailed? Or there is a far greater reason than the violence that the PNoy administration is so eager to deliver the BBL (without changes)? Your guess is as good as mine.
And if this happens, we are really heading not only to the road to balkanization but worse, towards a failed state. According to our contact with the International Crisis Group, Philippines is now a candidate to be a failed state after Afghanistan and Yemen.
Remember that in Yemen there are “crucial elements of unrest that cannot be tied to religion or sectarian interests. Masking legitimate complaints related to uneven social development, broader participation in government, and corruption. Yemen, for example, ranked 161 out of 174 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perception Index, a ranking unlikely tied outright to sectarian divisions. The United Nations’ 2014 Human Development Report placed Yemen’s youth (15-24) unemployment rate at around 34%.” (From Asia Times online)
We are really looking for trouble if this insanity will not be preempted as soon as possible!

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