Countering the lingering threat of the Abu Sayyaf group
Cohn, Stephen C.
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This thesis will argue that the most effective strategy for eradicating the U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), is to bolster the current peace talks between the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The MILF has been providing support and sanctuary to the ASG which has hindered U.S.-Philippine counter-terror operations. This thesis will explain why a shift in U.S.-Philippine strategy is required by examining what historical circumstances led to the creation of the ASG; the supporting-supported relationship between the MILF and ASG; and lastly, the effectiveness of the U.S.-Philippine response to the ASG from 2001-2007. If the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the MILF succeed, they will lead not only to a loss of critical MILF support to the ASG, but will also allow the AFP to hunt down and eradicate the remaining ASG in areas that had previously been untenable. Successful execution of this strategy will bolster regional stability in Southeast Asia by defeating one of the targets of the Global War on Terror as well as diminishing one of the places of refuge utilized by other international terrorist organizations.
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