«Rien n'est plus facile que de dénoncer un malfaiteur; rien n'est plus difficile que de le comprendre» ---Fédor Dostoïevski

samedi 23 août 2008

Série Spéciale (6/7): Insurrection Moro aux Philippines

Avant-dernier billet de cette série sur l'insurrection Moro. Aujourd'hui, je traite de l'organisation: nombre de membres, structure, personnages-clés, ...

Précédemment: 1- Background, 2- La nature de l'insurrection, 3- La stratégie, 4- L'environnement, 5- Le soutien populaire
Aujourd'hui: 6- L'organisation
Demain: 7- Soutien externe

Philippines Army intelligence figures estimate the number of active members in the MILF at 12,000 . A majority of them are simple guerrillas; a minority is part of the leadership. The MILF is organized according to a very hierarchical structure. Hashim Salamat was the top leader until his death in 2003. On the top of the organization, there is the Central Committee. Just below, military and political affairs are separated in different committees. Lower in the structure are the internal security forces, the intelligence network, internal brigades, commanders of camps…At the very bottom of the structure lies the local commanders and their personal small units .

Before 2000, the MILF possessed with its camps structure a very clear and efficient organization. The central committee had its headquarters in camp Abu Bakar. There was an academy to form warriors and schools to form future leaders. There was a real shadow government ready to take over power once the independence was reached. In those camps, troops ensured security through multiple checkpoints, and self-sustainability was ensured thanks to the support of local population. The large autonomy enjoyed by the MILF made them look to the population as a real alternative to the rule of Manila.

However, it all changed after 2000 and the offensive of the AFP against the camps. Now, the central committee and the leaders are forced to hide again. The shadow governments are only locals, and the MILF rules only small areas. Hence, they lost an important part of their credibility to the eye of the population. Moreover, the succession to Hashim Salamat has not been smooth.

Apparently, Salamat had designated Alim Abdulazziz Mimbantas, commander of the Internal Security Force and intelligence network, as his natural successor. But after three weeks, Mimbantas gave up the leadership to his rival, Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim, former vice-chairman for military affairs. Beyond the difficulties to maintain the succession smooth, Murad was facing two problems: he was even less good at unifying the different Moros ethnies than Salamat; and he seems to have lost a lot of power on local commanders. The gain of autonomy by local leaders started under Hashim’s authority in the aftermath of the 2000 offensive.

It took Murad two years to consolidate his power to the point where he had enough support to negotiate an agreement with the government. However, a new generation of hard-liners starts to question the legitimacy of the old leadership and their capacity to win the revolution . If the MILF had to accept a compromise with Manila, offering more autonomy but no independence to Mindanao, it is possible that a new splinter group will appear, eventually with deeper ties with Jihadi groups.

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