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Abu Sayyaf: Target of Philippine-U.S. Anti-Terrorism Cooperation
Larry Niksch (au)
A historic Muslim resistance to non-Muslim rulers in the Philippinesbroke out into massive rebellion in the 1970s. Two large resistance groups, a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fought the Philippine government into the 1990s and entered into tenuous truces in 1996 and 2001 respectively. Abu Sayyaf emerged in 1990 as a splinter group composed of former MNLF fighters and Filipinos who had fought in Afghanistan. Abu Sayyaf resorted to terrorist tactics, including executions of civilians, bombings, and increasingly kidnapings for ransom. Abu Sayyaf had links with Osamu bin Ladenís Al Qaeda organization in the early 1990s, but these links reportedly dwindled in the late 1990s. The remaining Abu Sayyaf leadership established links with Jeemah Islamiah (JI), an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Southeast Asia that had begun to use Mindanao for training and organizing terrorist strikes. Abu Sayyaf also established links with Rajah Solaiman, a radicalMuslim group made up of Filipinos from the northern Philippines who had converted to Islam. Together, these groups carried out major bombings after 2003. Contents of this report: The Philippine Response to September 11; Historic Muslim Insurgency; Abu Sayyaf: Origins, Strength, and Operations; Connections to Al Qaeda and Jeemah Islamiah; Links to the MILF; Philippine Government and AFP Policies and Operations; The 2002 Balikatan Operation: U.S. Support Role on Jolo Island and in Western Mindanao; Implications of U.S. Military Involvement.
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