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New Communist Army and other guerrilla groups

Muslim guerrillas on Mindanao

Various government security forces






 Spanish empire


As in Central America, chronic land hunger and feudal landowners set up during Spanish colonial times causes continuing guerrilla activity.

Population pressure causes chronic land hunger.

But there are constant threats of coups by dissatisfied military officers. In the last 13 years all these have been headed off, but one may succeed in the future.

As in Central America there are semi-official death squads and freelance militias.

There is a separatist Muslim guerrilla group on the island of Mindanao (Moro National Liberation Front) which is fighting for Muslim autonomy, at one time supported by Libya and other Islamic states, including Iran and Pakistan.

The historical background of this war is that Spain conquered the territory of the Sulu Sultanate based in Borneo but with sovereignty of parts of Mindanao. From 1945 Christian settlers from the islands to the north moved into Mindanao.

United States involvement
The United States Air Force had to leave its main base in Luzon following the eruption of Mt Pinatubo. There was an agreement to remove the remaining US forces during 1992. As the US forces protected the government from military coups there is some doubt about what will follow.

An unknown number of US forces are assisting the fight against the Muslim rebels, suspected of having received assistance from Osama bin Laden and his associates.

Oil and natural gas have been discovered in Mindanao. No doubt the potential wealth will complicate this war.

Last revised 2/10/09


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