Wednesday, March 21, 2007

US troops in Philippines defy old stereotype |

US troops in Philippines defy old stereotype |

'In southern islands, the US has helped the Philippine Army for more than five years to stem Muslim insurgency.'

Presented as a 'good news' story, this article provides an overview of US support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in their battle against insurgents. While the initial fears were of the return of permanent American bases in the Philippines, the complexity changed over time.

On the one hand, there has been a certain US success in winning the hearts and minds of local populations with their focus on development projects and humanitarian assistance- while providing counterinsurgency training to the Philippine Army.

Despite being able to publicize their 'benign intentions', some hearts cannot be one over: 'Mr. Muarip says that his brother, a Muslim who favors adoption of sharia Islamic law in Mindanao, is skeptical of US largesse and rejects the deployment in the Philippines. Other critics say that the arrival of US troops, whatever their intentions, stirs anxiety among Muslims.'