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Balikatan war games to be held in Sulu (Abu Sayyaf's territory!)
INQ7 ^ | April 8, 2003 | Julie Alipala and Martin P. Marfil

Posted on 04/08/2003 3:48:30 PM PDT by Steel Wolf

It's final: Balikatan war games to be held in Sulu

Inquirer News Service

Modified version

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The new Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Narciso Abaya has confirmed that the controversial Balikatan 03-1 joint military exercise with the United States is to be held in Sulu after all.

But defense and military officials have apparently left open-ended the issue of whether or not US forces would be deployed in those parts of the province that are deemed as "too hostile."

"The presence of US forces in hostile areas may be minimized or they may not be deployed in these areas at all," said the new AFP chief, as he prepared to bow out as commander of military forces in the south based in this city.

At the turnover of command later Tuesday from outgoing AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Dionisio Santiago to Abaya, the new AFP chief announced the two-fold mission he had set for himself: to whip the AFP into a "mission-effective" organization and one that is composed of men and women who are "credibly trained and equipped."

Abaya said a modified version of the planned exercise could be held in Sulu in May or June for a period of six months. This was decided at a meeting last week with Gen. Joel Weber, commander of the US Marines in Okinawa, Japan.

Abaya said the modified Balikatan 03-1 would be a "bigger exercise" than the Balikatan 02-1 held last year in Basilan as it would involve all Philippine troops now deployed in Western Mindanao.

The new joint exercise, which was supposed to have been held early this year, was scrapped by US and Philippine defense officials last month in the face of strong objections from Sulu leaders and residents who are said to be still deeply resentful over US Army atrocities during the pacification campaign there at the turn of the century.

Militant groups and politicians were also critical of reported plans to deploy US troops in combat operations as this was violative of the Constitution.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Japan; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: abusayyaf; afp; balikatan; counterterrorism; japan; philippines; specialforces
Looks like the game is back on. After our decisive victories in Iraq, the Philippine government has warmed up to the idea of letting us into Sulu to help out. Insha Allah, within a few months, the Abu Sayyaf Group will be an unpleasent memory.
1 posted on 04/08/2003 3:48:31 PM PDT by Steel Wolf
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To: Steel Wolf
Insha Allah

Going Native ? LOL!

Our Filippino friends and allies have been absorbing too many blows recently. Despicable civilian-killing stuff. I hope we have some tricks reserved for Abu Sayyaf that will get the proper respect and attention.

How are we doing in eliminating the source of funding for these cretins ?

2 posted on 04/08/2003 4:08:03 PM PDT by happygrl (Praying without ceasing)
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To: Steel Wolf
No doubt we've got spooks picking targets as I type. Different ops though, the host government will get all the credit for the very fine shooting. JMHO.....
3 posted on 04/08/2003 4:14:32 PM PDT by eureka! (Bless our Troops and Allies.........)
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To: eureka!
This is a *training* mission, to help get the Armed Forces of the Philippines up to par, and to *advise* them as how best to deal with terrorists. I'm shocked, shocked, that you'd imply that we'd actually kill any ourselves.
4 posted on 04/08/2003 4:16:33 PM PDT by Steel Wolf (Like water in a bucket.... calm but deadly...)
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To: Steel Wolf
The best "training" is by example. ;^)
5 posted on 04/08/2003 4:18:37 PM PDT by eureka! (Bless our Troops and Allies.........)
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