Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/09/06MANILA3914.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA3914 2006-09-15 09:56 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO4191
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3914/01 2580956
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 150956Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2997
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 9423
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 2867
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//OSD/ISA/AP// IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003914

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR PM, S/CT, AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (LAWLESS/TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/2016
TAGS: PTER PREL MOPS MCAP RP
SUBJECT: SEPTEMBER 15 UPDATE ON JOLO OPERATIONS

REF: A. MANILA 3790
¶B. MANILA 3670
¶C. MANILA 3560
¶D. MANILA 3401
¶E. MANILA 3352
¶F. MANILA 3299
¶G. MANILA 3218
¶H. MANILA 1396

Classified By: (U) Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C/REL AUS) SUMMARY. The Armed Force of the Philippines
(AFP) is showing no let-up in its seven-week old effort to
capture or kill the Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah
terrorist leadership on the island of Jolo. While the
operation is far from over, the Filipino military can point
to several “success stories” so far, including effective
joint operations, improved re-supply, better combat
leadership, and improved use of intelligence. USAID
assistance and Joint Special Operations Task
Force-Philippines civil military operations with the AFP
before the start of the campaign helped separate terrorists
from the population and diminish support for their cause. We
believe that the AFP will ultimately emerge from “Operation
Ultimatum” as a more capable force. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (SBU) The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) campaign
to capture or kill the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Jemaah
Islamiyah (JI) leadership on the island of Jolo is now in its
seventh week, with the AFP showing no sign of giving up its
relentless pursuit of the terrorists. The AFP currently has
6,000 troops on the island, including a Special Forces
battalion.

¶3. (S/REL AUS/PHIL) Although press reports continue to
speculate that the terrorists have either been killed or
escaped by sea, we have a high degree of confidence that they
remain on Jolo. According to the latest AFP information, ASG
leader Khadaffy Janjalani and JI operatives Dulmatin and Umar
Patek are in the vicinity of Luuk in southeast Jolo, an area
in which Janjalani has family ties and where Dulmatin
initially found sanctuary when he arrived on the island in
November 2005. The ASG’s Abu Solaiman is thought to be still
in or near Jolo City, while there are unconfirmed reports
that ASG sub-commander Radulan Sahiron has moved toward the
coast in south central Jolo. The Philippine Navy, with U.S.
intelligence and surveillance support, is maintaining a close
maritime blockade around the island, and has stopped and
searched 1604 vessels since the August 1 start of “Operation
Ultimatum.”

¶4. (C/REL AUS) Throughout the last several weeks, the AFP
has demonstrated tenacity and dogged willingness to track the
terrorists. It has kept its troops in the field and engaged
in a series of aggressive patrols, raids, and attacks.
Although bloodied on several occasions in contacts with the
enemy, most notably on September 4 when a Philippine Marine
Force Reconnaissance platoon suffered six dead and 21 wounded
in close quarter combat with a larger ASG force, the AFP has
continued to take the fight to the terrorists. While the
operation is far from over, we would cite several “success
stories” already:

— Effective Joint Operations: Since the pre-dawn amphibious
assault on August 1, AFP Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine
units have shown they have the ability to coordinate and
successfully conduct joint actions. In one operation, a
U.S.-trained Light Reaction Company sniper in a Philippine
Air Force helicopter disabled a fleeing ASG vessel and forced
the terrorists to abandon it.

— Re-supply of Troops in the Field and Ships at Sea: Unlike
previous operations, the AFP has managed to re-supply its
troops in the field and its ships at sea. Joint U.S.
Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) and Joint Special
Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) personnel have
worked closely with their AFP counterparts to identify
blockages in the supply train and move food, ammunition,
medicine, and other supplies down to the units that need
them. Joint Task Force 515 and JSOTF-P have assisted the
Philippine Navy with critical maintenance of its patrol

MANILA 00003914 002 OF 002

vessels that has helped keep the maritime cordon intact.

— Aggressive Combat Leadership: BG Raphael, the Task Force
Comet Commander on Jolo, and MG Cedo, the Western Mindanao
Commander, have demonstrated aggressive leadership. Both
officers are highly receptive to input from JSOTF-P advisors
and have embraced rapid planning principles. All major AFP
maneuver elements and command staffs include a JSOTF-P
liaison team and have proven ready to accept U.S. advice.

— Disruption of Terrorist Operations: The AFP forced the JI
and ASG out of a well-entrenched base camp that included a
sophisticated bomb-making factory (see septel), successfully
disrupting what was apparently a series of bombings intended
to produce mass civilian casualties.

— Better Use of Intelligence: US-supplied intelligence is
now integrated into and helping to shape AFP planning. From
Chief of Staff Esperon on down, the AFP appears to have begun
to accept the doctrine that “intelligence drives operations.”

— Improved Training: Before the start of operations,
JSOTF-P personnel engaged in a series of subject matter
expert exchanges, including live fire, that exponentially
increased combat efficiency at the squad and platoon level.
Coupled with earlier security assistance training of the
Light Infantry Battalions and Light Reaction Companies, these
exchanges have resulted in improved performance and
confidence in the field and in combat.

— Enhanced Medical Support: Improved combat lifesaver and
casualty evacuation training honed during bilateral training
events, like Joint Combined Exercises for Training, Security
Assistance Mobile Training Teams, and other exercises with
U.S. counterparts have contributed to this increased combat
confidence. Backed up by U.S. medical evacuation support,
the AFP has shown a greater capability to get its casualties
more quickly from the battlefield to the hospital.

¶5. (C/REL AUS) Underlying all this was the intensive civil
military operations campaign begun with JSOTF help in January
2006, and boosted by Balikatan and the visit of the USNS
MERCY, which helped separate the terrorists from the
population and diminish support for their cause. Closely
linked to the over $4 million annual USAID infrastructure,
health, education, and renewable energy projects, the series
of medical, engineering, dental, and veterinary missions did
much to convince the population to stay neutral during the
present fighting. The AFP has been able to operate in
previously denied areas, and a number of civil volunteer
organizations are actively cooperating in the hunt for the
terrorists.

¶6. (C/REL AUS) A media outreach effort, launched conjointly
with the civil military operations campaign, contributed to
building the legitimacy of and confidence in the AFP and to
diminish fears of the American presence on Jolo. AFP
officers openly state that U.S. forces are providing
intelligence and other assistance to their operation — a far
cry from their previous hesitation to admit any U.S. role, or
to refer to U.S. assistance as an “exercise.”

¶7. (C/REL AUS) “Operation Ultimatum” is far from over.
However, we believe that the new, more confident AFP we are
seeing will emerge from the operation more capable of
fighting the much longer war on terrorism in the Philippines.

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

   

 

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