A HALF CENTURY OF INSURGENCY: THE ONGOING EFFORTS OF THE PHILIPPINES TO QUELL THE INSURGENCY IN THE SOUTH
Mitchell, Eric L.
Malley, Michael S.
Mabry, Tristan J.
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The Southern Philippines has remained embroiled in insurgency for nearly 50 years. This thesis traces the insurgency through three distinct phases: the first two phases represent an ethno-nationalist insurgency, and the latest phase results from a qualitative shift toward a Pan-Islamic insurgency. While the Philippine government successfully ended the first two phases, the third phase of insurgency is composed of disparate groups that are linked to global jihadist organizations. Using a comparative study of Russia's counterinsurgency efforts in Chechnya, this thesis examines why the Philippine government has not yet successfully ended the decades-long insurgency. The Philippine and Chechen cases have numerous similarities, showing a comparable pattern of insurgency. However, the two countries waged drastically different counterinsurgency campaigns, and the two cases have divergent outcomes. This thesis finds that Russia's "Chechenization" strategy, which decentralized the counterinsurgency and pushed counterinsurgency functions down to the local level, was the cornerstone of its success. In the Philippines, counterinsurgency efforts have remained mostly centralized under the armed forces of the Philippines, with no serious effort made to localize them. This suggests that the Philippines may need to consider employing a localization strategy in order to defeat the current insurgency.
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