Did you know many American’s felt the Philippines abandoned us in Iraq. They allowed the terrorists to blackmail them into withdrawing their troops. Many Filipinos never understood why their country was involved in Iraq in the first place. Iraq, after all, was an “American problem”.
Let’s look at the facts. Angelo De La Cruz, an overseas worker in Iraq, was kidnapped by the terrorists. They threatened to kill him unless the Philippines withdrew their military forces from Iraq. After offering the terrorists a 6 million dollar ransom, which was refused, President Arroyo reluctantly withdrew her troops. Thankfully the terrorist kept their word and Mr. De La Cruz was released and returned safely to the Philippines.
Now for the rest of the story.
The terrorist actually “shot themselves in the foot.” They lost much more than they gained from this small blackmail scheme. The fifty-one man Philippine military unit, commanded by BG Jovito Palaran, was only involved in humanitarian projects. Like their role in Vietnam, they were helping the people not killing them. When the Philippine troops were “forced” to leave, the Iraqi people were angry with the terrorists NOT the Filipinos or the Americans.
The question remains should the Philippines have been in Iraq in the first place? Beyond the fact that Filipinos have a long history of humanitarian service to individuals and nations around the world, they may have a personal stake in this war.
When the bomb went off in Mindanao, three people were killed. It had been triggered by a cell phone call. Later a second bomb was discovered in Zamboanga City and that same cell phone “trigger” was captured. What does this have to do with Iraq? On that “trigger” cell phone was a call to Iraqi diplomat Husham Husain from the Abu Sayyaf. Is Mr. Husain the Abu Sayyaf’s connection to Al Quida? I do not know, but Philippine Intelligence saw fit to throw him out of the country. If the terrorists win in Iraq, not only does America lose but so do the Philippines.