first published on June 28, 2017 by Will
Isobel Yeung of Vice News embeds with Philippines special forces troops as they navigate the contested streets and alleyways of Marawi under constant threat of ISIS sniper fire.
As you can see from the video, Filipino troops are disciplined and well-trained. They come from a strong military culture. In contrast, the ISIS fighters show little training by not aiming their weapons, and instead relying on religious psychobabble chants while fighting. Yet, as we’ve seen time and time again, winning a war against insurgents hiding amongst the local population is no easy task, if not impossible.
Although the Philippines military has been dealing with Islamic insurgencies for decades, it’s different this time as the enemy is no longer just an organically homegrown force. They are getting funded and bolstered in manpower from a well-established international terror organization… the Islamic State. ISIS made a gamble by investing in this war, betting that the social conditions were right for the local Muslim population to accept and support a foreign-led Sharia shadow government. In the coming months, we will be able to see if the Islamic State disease sticks.