Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/07/07MANILA2358.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2358
2007-07-12 08:44
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO0342
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2358 1930844
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 120844Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7392
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 002358

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR J5
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (TOOLAN/REDMON)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/12/2017
TAGS: PTER MOPS PINS RP
SUBJECT: JOINT COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE ARMED CLASHES IN BASILAN

REF: MANILA 2344

Classified By: Pol/C Scott Bellard for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. A new joint committee will investigate the
situation on Basilan in the wake of the tragic July 10
encounter between some armed elements and the Armed Forces of
the Philippines, and will work to restore peace on the
ground. The determination of both the Philippine government
and the MILF to continue collaboration there is a welcome
sign that this incident was an aberration rather than a new
pattern of old behavior. End Summary.

¶2. (C) According to Philippine Government Peace
Negotiations Panel Executive Director Ryan Sullivan, the
Philippine Government-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
Joint Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities
(CCCH) will conduct a “thorough investigation” of the July 10
armed encounter in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan that left 14 Philippine
Marines dead, 10 of whom were beheaded (reftel). He
described Tipo-Tipo, Basilan as an “MILF stronghold” within
an “extremely complex” social, political, and security
environment, in which kinship often “blurred the lines” among
the MILF, Abu Sayyaf Group, and Moro National Liberation
Front (MNLF).

¶3. (C) Sullivan confirmed that the two peace panels had
agreed to request Malaysia’s approval for participation of
International Monitoring Team (IMT) members in a fact-finding
mission. At present, a seven-man IMT contingent — two
Libyans and five Malaysians — in Zamboanga City has no
mandate to operate on-the-ground in Basilan under the
existing Terms of Reference. Sullivan underscored the need
for an expanded IMT area of responsibility now to include
Basilan as well as southern Palawan.

¶4. (C) MILF Peace Panel Chairman Mohaqer Iqbal publicly
denied any ASG role in the armed clashes with the Philippine
Marines on July 10. While admitting Basilan was a “unique
place,” MILF Peace Panel member Michael Mastura separately
claimed that too few facts were yet available to assess
accurately what effect the fighting and beheadings on July 10
would have on the peace talks and peace process, as well as
exactly who was responsible. Mastura, a former Congressman,
opined that members of the Philippine Congress might usefully
participate in a committee investigating the incident.

¶5. (SBU) On the ground in Basilan, armed skirmishes in
Tipo-Tipo have ended, but tensions remain high. There are
calls within the Armed Forces of the Philippines for
retaliation, while others are urging a moderated response, at
least until more facts are clear.

¶6. (C) Comment: As in other parts of Mindanao and the Sulu
Archipelago, personal ties and loyalties often count for more
than institutional “membership.” It remains unlikely that
any senior MILF leaders would have authorized this encounter,
especially given its quick time-fuse and in light of other
more promising developments in the preparations for a new
round of informal peace talks, as well as in the overall
peace process on the ground, notably on Basilan over the past
five years. More probable is that some elements associated
with the MILF, along with other lawless elements on Basilan
— probably including some from the ASG — over-reacted with
alarm and undue force to the unexpected entrance of
Philippine Marines into their “zone,” leading to this tragic
encounter. The determination of both the Philippine
government and the MILF to work together to investigate and
to restore calm in the area, as well as in other parts of
Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, is a welcome sign that
this incident was an aberration rather than a new pattern of
old behavior.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/
KENNEY

   

 

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