Asia-Pacific

Jun 20, 2017

What is Islamic State doing in the Philippines?

We are a month into the siege of the country’s biggest Muslim city, Marawi, by groups who have aligned themselves with the so-called Islamic State.

Michael Sainsbury — Freelance correspondent in Asia and <em>Little Red Blog</em> Editor

Michael Sainsbury

Freelance correspondent in Asia and Little Red Blog Editor

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Even if he is not battling a serious disease as is strongly rumoured, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had good reason to disappear last week between his no-show for the country’s Independence Day on June 12 and the celebration of Father's Day six days later.

A month into the siege of the country’s biggest Muslim city, Marawi -- in Duterte's home province of Mindanao -- by groups that have aligned themselves with the so-called Islamic State (also called ISIS), the country’s military has been unable to seize back control (they have revised the completion date for this twice). It’s now a vague “we are confident we will accomplish our military objective soon”. Duterte has refused to negotiate, preferring to kill and bomb his way to what will be a very hollow victory.

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