- Manila will have to use military force and offer talks to stop IS advances in the Philippines
- The city of Marawi in the south of the Philippines has been engulfed by a deadly, ongoing siege since late May, when government forces began to take on heavily armed militants linked to the Islamic State. Local media estimate the death toll to be above 300.
- Over 200,000 residents have fled what has effectively become an urban battlefield. While Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte quickly declared martial law across the island for 60 days, some say the blame rests with the political leadership for ignoring the rise of the IS, and especially Mr. Duterte’s decision last year to reject a ceasefire offer from the Maute group.
- Now this group is on the front lines in the fight against the Philippine military in Marawi.
- Marawi is on Mindanao, the country’s second largest island, rocked by armed insurgency for years.
- Similarly, Malaysia faced its first IS attack last June when a grenade injured eight people at a nightclub near Kuala Lumpur.
- As the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, Indonesia is concerned that IS members could easily traverse the poorly policed waters between itself and the southern Philippines.
- While the U.S. no longer has military bases in the Philippines.