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ISIS Is Gearing Up For A Comeback In The Philippines
The battle in Marawi City may have ended, but the war is not over.
This became evident on Dec. 15 after the Armed Forces of the Philippines said that ISIS-inspired groups in Mindanao were ramping up their recruitment drive to beef up their fighters for terror attacks.
During the “Bangon Marawi” news briefing in Malacañang, military pokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo said the military was monitoring the “intensified” recruitment activities of the remnants of the group once headed by terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and brothers Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute.
“The recruitment we are monitoring is from remnants of Maute/ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) group. We monitored [such recruitment]in the municipalities around Marawi, the immediate vicinity of Marawi,” Arevalo told reporters.
“They continue to intensify, in the sense that they do not stop their recruitment. They continue to encourage anyone to join their force. And of course, they continue to offer financial remunerations. They also use social media as a tool for their recruitment activities,” he added.
Arevalo cited in particular the group led by a certain Abu Turaife, who has been tagged by the military as Hapilon’s potential successor as IS emir in Southeast Asia.
While Turaife’s group has only 22 members, it was still deemed a “big threat” because of its capability to endanger the lives of the people in Mindanao, Arevalo said.
“We cannot underestimate them because they are only few. But maybe the 22 is what we could mention with certainty or report with certainty. But their ability to recruit, their mobility, the weapons that they have, and their capability to conduct terrorist activity cannot be measured by their number,” Arevalo said.
“They don’t need to be a large group. But then, the point we’re saying is, they are capable, among other reasons that they were cited [as basis]for the extension of martial law,” he added. “They are among those considered as a big threat because the group of Abu Turaife has leaning towards extremism.”
According to Arevalo, these extremist groups were seeking to recruit their relatives and “vulnerable” children.
“And that is what we are intensely working on to prevent them from continuing to recruit these vulnerable sectors of our society,” he said.
To counter the terrorists’ recruitment efforts, the government has launched several programs for the youth, Arevalo said.
“We are countering violent extremism dialogues with the youth. We also have youth leader summit. And just recently, we concluded the education tour of Muslim youth in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Our objective is to give our fellow countrymen, especially the youth, a chance to realize what is extremism [and]how recruitment is being done by these extremists,” he said.
“These are among the ways we see to promote unity and have a fruitful and mutual co-existence,” the military spokesman added.
Mindanao has been under military rule since May 23, when fighting broke out between the Maute terror group and government forces in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.
Under the Constitution, martial law may be declared for 60 days if there is an actual rebellion or invasion and when public safety requires it.
Upon the recommendation of President Rodrigo Duterte before the expiration of his martial law proclamation on July 22, Congress extended it to December 31, 2017.
Congress, in joint session on December 13, granted the President’s request for a one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao to allow the police and military to eradicate all terrorist groups and armed lawless elements in Mindanao.
With the additional extension, martial law will be in effect in Mindanao from January 1 to December 31, 2018.
©2017 The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The U.S. military will build 'facilities' to house at least 7,500 adult migrants, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to construct the facilities, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Chris Mitchell.
Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.
So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.
"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."
The Navy warship forged from World Trade Center steel has returned to New York for the first time in years
The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.
When an Air Force major called J.J. completed a solo flight in the U-2 in late August 2016 — 60 years after the high-flying aircraft was introduced — he became the 1,000th pilot to do so.
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In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.
"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.
"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."