Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2828.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2828
2007-08-17 11:23
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO3020
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2828/01 2291123
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 171123Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7944
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002828

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2017
TAGS: PTER MOPS PINS RP
SUBJECT: MEASURED MILITARY RESPONSE HELPING TO PRESERVE PEACE EFFORTS

REF: A. MANILA 2733

¶B. MANILA 2732
¶C. MANILA 2714
¶D. MANILA 2688

Classified By: Charge Paul W. Jones for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. While the Philippine armed forces continue
efforts to track down Abu Sayyaf terrorists on Basilan and
Jolo, operations are being kept limited and focused in an
effort to fulfill President Arroyo’s directives to contain
casualties and preserve two key peace processes. Despite
high levels of tension on the two islands, few armed
encounters have actually occurred since the July 10
beheadings and August 9 ambush that left a total of 40
Philippine soldiers dead. Vice chief of general staff Romero
told visiting SFRC staffer Keith Luse that the military is
targeting individuals, not organizations. Meanwhile, the
government is pressing forward with plans to resume peace
talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Aug. 22
in Kuala Lumpur, convene a tripartite review of the peace
agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and
accelerate economic development initiatives. These more
nuanced actions by the government and military — and the
more restrained response by Muslim insurgent groups —
suggest a clear understanding on both sides of the harm that
major military operations would pose to Mindanao’s difficult
security and economic situation. At the same time, the
military is conducting aggressive pursuit operations on the
island of Jolo against high-value terrorists, many of whom
dispersed after military operations began August 13. End
Summary.

————————–
Preserving Peace Processes
————————–

¶2. (C) President Arroyo issued a six-point security
directive to Philippine armed forces intended to balance the
government’s firm security response to the Abu Sayyaf Group
with an effort to foster peace processes with the MILF and
MNLF. Arroyo’s General Order No. 7, shared with us by a
senior official, contained the following points:

— Keep Basilan and Sulu operations firmly controlled to
minimize civilian casualties and respect ceasefire guidelines
in close consultation with the International Monitoring Team.

— Hold urgent talks with the MILF under Malaysian auspices
to contain and resolve the Basilan/Sulu situation. (Note:
Those talks are now slated for Aug. 22 in Kuala Lumpur. End
note.)

— Brief the Organization of Islamic Conference Committee of
Eight on Mindanao developments underlining limited military
operations and continuing peace and development efforts.

— Harness the Bishops-Ulama Conference and other religious
and civil society groups for peace efforts, with other
national leaders joining them in prayers and a peace rally in
Mindanao.

— Accelerate development initiatives in the Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao, especially high-profile public
works and social programs, including health, housing, jobs
and Muslim education.

— Hold the first peace and security assembly in Bohol to
demonstrate the government’s resolve to achieve peace.

——————————-
National Security Council Brief
——————————-

¶3. (C) During an August 14 National Security Council (NSC)
meeting in Malacanang Palace, Arroyo briefed the directives
to top security officials and legislators, including new
Defense Secretary Teodoro, Armed Forces chief Esperon,
National police chief Calderon, House Speaker Jose de
Venecia, Senate President Villar, and local leaders from
Basilan and Sulu. Arroyo appealed for setting aside “selfish
politicking” to ensure lasting peace in Mindanao. (Note:
Some senators, including former armed forces head Rodolfo
Biazon, have announced plans to launch probes of the July 10

MANILA 00002828 002 OF 002

Basilan incident and the August 9 ambushes on Jolo. End
Note.)

¶4. (SBU) Following the NSC meeting, a presidential spokesman
told the press that the government was preparing for the
resumption of MILF peace talks in Malaysia, and the
tripartite review of the nearly 11-year-old MNLF peace
agreement. “There is broad support for the President’s
affirmation of the prime importance of preserving the
ceasefire and advancing the peace process,” the spokesman
said.

—————–
Gun Ban Announced
—————–

¶5. (SBU) Meanwhile, in an effort to minimize the chance for
clashes, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Esperon announced a gun
ban on Basilan and Sulu August 14. “It is easier to
distinguish among combatants when there is a gun ban. When
you do not abide by the gun ban, then you could be considered
the enemy,” commented Esperon. The ban covers civilians,
and, ostensibly, members of paramilitary “civilian volunteer
organizations” often associated with local politicians, in
addition to MILF and MNLF members who leave their camps or
controlled areas in possession of firearms.

———————————
Military Ops: Limited and Focused
———————————

¶6. (C) Task Force Comet on Jolo continues to conduct
aggressive, focused pursuit operations against terrorists who
dispersed after initial military assaults on their locations
beginning August 13. The military now holds key terrorist
sanctuaries in Eastern Jolo, reducing the ability of
terrorists to operate freely. Sources indicate Abu Sayyaf
terrorists may be running low on ammunition. On Basilan, in
contrast, the military is holding positions and supporting
local police serving arrest warrants for the beheadings on
July 10. Despite the high level of tension, very few armed
encounters have occurred. The only armed clash on Basilan
following the July 10 beheadings was on August 6; no
casualties were reported. On Jolo, there has been only one
armed encounter since the August 9 killing of 25 Philippine
soldiers.

¶7. (C) All high-value targets on Jolo have dispersed as
sweep operations by Marine and Army forces continue in the
Maimbung and Patikul areas. Still unconfirmed are press
reports that Abu Sayyaf Group leader Umbra Jumdail (a.k.a.
Dr. Abu) and Jemaah Islamiyah member Dulmatin were wounded in
armed encounters with the Philippine military.

————————————–
Briefing Scheduled on MILF Peace Talks
—————————————

¶8. (C) President Arroyo and the Cabinet Security Cluster are
scheduled to receive a briefing Aug. 17 from the Office of
the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process. The key issue
to be discussed will be the government’s proposal on
territory to be included in as-yet undefined Muslim
self-governing region, a key topic when MILF peace talks
resume Aug. 22, said Sullivan.

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/

JONES

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.