Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
ISIS Just Suffered A Major Defeat In The Philippines
With more than 1,000 dead and after nearly five months of fighting, Marawi City is free from the stranglehold of terrorists.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi on Oct. 17 following the deaths of the top two Islamist State-linked terrorist leaders who attacked the city.
Duterte made the announcement during his seventh visit to troops in the war-torn city.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby declare Marawi City liberated from the terrorist influence that marks the beginning of the rehabilitation of the city,” Duterte told government troops who fought the Maute group. "My problem now is the many wounded. Some are injured and heavily wounded. I can guarantee you. I am telling you, no one will be left behind. Everyone will have a place."
With Duterte were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Año.
Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group who is on the United States’ most wanted list of terrorists, and Omarkhayam Maute were killed in military operations on Oct. 16. The two led a series of attacks in Marawi after government troops tried but failed to serve an arrest warrant against Hapilon in May.
In this photo released by the 4th Civil Relations Group, Civil Relations Service Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine military chief Gen. Eduardo Ano holds pictures of dead militant leaders during a press conference at a military camp in Marawi, southern Philippines on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The last two surviving leaders of a deadly siege in the southern Philippines, including a top Asian terror suspect, were killed Monday in a push by thousands of troops to retake the last pocket of Marawi city still held by pro-Islamic State militants, top security officials said. Officials said that Isnilon Hapilon, who is listed among the FBI's most-wanted terror suspects, and Omarkhayam Maute were killed in a gunbattle and their bodies were found Monday in Marawi. (4th Civil Relations Group, Civil Relations Service Armed Forces of the Philippines via AP)Photo via th Civil Relations Group, Civil Relations Service Armed Forces
Inspired by ISIS, the Maute group set out to establish a province in the southern Philippines with Hapilon as emir.
This act of rebellion prompted Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao. Congress extended the proclamation until the end of 2017.
In a statement released following Duterte’s declaration, Año said the “small number” of the remaining terrorists could now be considered a “law enforcement matter.”
“[It] does not constitute serious threat to hinder the succeeding phases of national government programs. What remains now is mopping up operations against Maute-ISIS stragglers in a small area,” Año said.
“We can now begin the next phase which is damage assessment which is part already of rehabilitation and reconstruction [phase of Marawi City],” he added.
During the “Mindanao Hour” news briefing on Oct. 17, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said Hapilon and Maute’s deaths did not mean that lawless acts in Marawi City have ended, noting that around 20 individuals were still held hostage by the terrorists.
“Our operations in Marawi continue to progress positively and the successful operations conducted yesterday early dawn was one of the most positive developments that we have ever had in the last number of months. But this does not signal the end of the hostilities nor the end of the fighting in Marawi because there still remains to this date a space occupied by armed elements and the existence of hostages,” he said.
According to Padilla, there are around 20 local and foreign pro-Islamic fighters left in the battle area, including financier Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, who is considered by the military as a high-value target.
He said Mahmud topped the list of six to eight foreigners who had joined the ISIS-linked terror group and were still alive.
“There also is still in existence about 20 to 30 armed elements, stragglers if you may call them…And among these are about six to eight foreigners, foreign terrorists to include the notorious foreign national, a Malaysian, by the name of Dr. Mahmud who was the financier of the Marawi siege,” Padilla said.
Security officials have considered Mahmud as the local extremists’ financier and recruiter who helped them have a direct link with the IS group and laid siege to Marawi.
The military spokesman said the government was not discounting the possibility that Mahmud could be anointed as the next extremist leader in Marawi.
“On the issue of leadership, we are not sure if Dr. Mahmud would be designated [as the next leader of the terror group in Marawi]. We will know in the next few days, based on the developments,” Padilla said. “That’s why our goal in our continuing operation in other parts of Marawi is to hunt him down and his other accomplices."
U.S. Marine Sgt. Alexander Paque, an engineer with Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and a Philippine Marine demonstrate Military Operations in Urban Terrain training on Katungkulan Beach during exercise KAMANDAG in Ternate, Philippines, Oct. 3, 2017.Photo via DoD
Meanwhile, Malacañang appealed to the remaining terrorists to cease fighting and instead come back to the “road of peace.”
“With terrorist leaders gone, we call on all fighters to cease further resistance and violence and return to the road of peace,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said during a news conference.
“This is also the call of our Muslim leaders, our imams, ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front), MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) chiefs, and the leaders of Muslim nations and this is the plea of your families, friends, and communities. Let us restore peace and rebuild our land,” he added.
The Palace official assured the public that the military would intensify its efforts to hunt down other terror organizations in the country.
“We commend our forces for their battlefield advances now nearing total victory. Hundreds of hostages were saved with no violations of rights and religion,” Abella said.
“This has laid a strong foundation for peace and recovery. We will intensify offensives across Mindanao to counter further attacks and to wipe out ISIS cells seeking to exploit people’s grievances for evil,” he added, using another name for IS.
As of Oct. 16, the death toll in Marawi crisis has risen to 1,057, including 847 Islamist terrorists, 163 security troops, and 47 civilians.
Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo called on all Filipinos to “come together to move our country forward towards a peaceful, prosperous and secure future.”
“This is the time to channel our time and harness our energies to restore normalcy in the war-torn city and serve people’s aspirations for a comfortable life for all,” she said in a statement.
“The declaration of [the President]marks the beginning of the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi. Our ground commanders will determine if it is safe for residents to return to the city as there may still be traps and unexploded ordnance in some areas. We will defer to their assessment and await their recommendation,” she added.
On Tuesday, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said it was ready to start the immediate rehabilitation of Marawi as soon as government forces have taken full control of the city.
“We have ordered all engineers concerned to prioritize the assessment of the area and make sure that all necessary procedures are taken cared of even before the on-ground rehabilitation starts,” DPWH chief Mark Villar said.
Villar issued the order following the arrival at the Port of Iligan of 47 sets of heavy equipment donated by China for the recovery phase of the devastated Islamic city.
©2017 The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.