On Security

After the Siege of Marawi, Another Fight Plays Out

Ben West
Global Security Analyst, Stratfor
Oct 26, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
Philippine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana (center) raises his fist in victory as President Rodrigo Duterte declares the end of the siege of Marawi City on Oct. 17.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte proclaims victory over the Islamic State in Marawi on Oct. 17, nearly six months after militants overran the city. Now that the jihadist group's influence in the region is diminishing, the long-standing rivalries in the southern Philippines will come back to the fore.

The military operation in Marawi City is officially over. After six months of urban combat that killed hundreds of Philippine troops and hundreds more militants -- including Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and at least one of the brothers behind the namesake Maute group -- President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi "liberated." A few days later on Oct. 23, the Philippine defense minister announced that security forces had cleared the last militants from the city. The siege of Marawi City was arguably the most ambitious and successful exploit to date for jihadists in the southern Philippines, and its end represents an important benchmark in the country's centurieslong struggle against insurgency. Though Philippine security forces have won the battle in Marawi, their war on militancy is far from finished....

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