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Philippine president blames U.S. for Middle East violence

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    In this June 30 file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his speech before a solidarity dinner with the poor event at a slum area in Manila.

MANILA » The new Philippine president blamed U.S. intervention for the bloody conflicts in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries in his latest criticism of Manila’s closest security ally.

President Rodrigo Duterte suggested in a speech today that intrusive policy was to blame for attacks on U.S. soil, saying, “It is not that the Middle East is exporting terrorism to America, America imported terrorism.”

“They forced their way to Iraq … look at Iraq now, look what happened to Libya, look what happened to Syria,” he told the Muslim community in southern Davao city in a ceremony marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. “People are being annihilated there including children.”

The former Davao mayor has said he would be a leftist president who would chart a foreign policy not dependent on the United States.

He has pointed out the benefits of nurturing friendly relations with Beijing, including a Chinese offer of financing railway projects in the Philippines. The country has had frosty ties with China under Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, who bolstered security ties with the U.S. to deter China’s assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.

Despite his remarks, there has been no indication that he would move to change the country’s robust defense ties with the United States.

The treaty allies hold largescale combat exercises each year and signed a 2014 defense pact that allows the U.S. military to temporarily base troops and build and operate facilities in Philippine military camps. China has criticized the pact.

In the Philippines, Duterte has given allies of communist rebels at least two key posts in his Cabinet as part of an effort to forge a peace deal with the insurgents, who are labeled terrorists by Washington.

Duterte’s speech centered on his plan to open peace talks with two large Muslim rebel groups in the southern Mindanao region, homeland of minority Muslims in the largely Roman Catholic nation. Duterte’s plan includes shifting to a federal system of government that would give more autonomy and resources to impoverished regions like Mindanao. He called on Muslims to back his efforts.

“As a nation, we must sit down,” he said. “Why will we kill each other?”

In the case of Abu Sayyaf militants, Duterte said he would not lump them with criminals, saying “these were the guys who were driven to desperation.” He did not say how he would try to deal with the extremists although he has warned them in recent weeks to stop a wave of ransom kidnappings or face “a reckoning one of these days.”

Washington and Manila list the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organization that has carried out for bombings, kidnappings and beheadings over the last three decades.

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  • “However, when the military killed Leoncio Pitao, they killed not only a terrorist commander, but also Rodrigo Duterte’s personal friend. “I’m sad because Ka Parago was my friend“, the grieving mayor said in July 2015. He added that, far from being a terrorist, Pitao was “a dreamer“, one who should be “admired” and “respected” for his “communist ideology“.

    So Duterte organized a hero burial for his terrorist friend in Davao City. On 10 July 2015, NPA membres marched on the streets of Davao. Mayor Duterte allowed NPA to use the city-owned gym for the wake of Pitao.”

    Duterte is a known terrorist supporter but he will also try to shake down the US for more money, wait for it.

    • China said it is going to build rail roads in all, what, 32 african nations too. didn’t germany build rail roads all over europe back in the day after great britain built railroads all over the country to burn all that coal they were shoveling out of the ground. germany was the most unregulated nation in the world while china is the most heavily regulated country in the world. better that the us forget the philippine islands, that was seventy five years ago that they mattered to the us strategically. china’s coal burning power plants are choking the mega cities with polluted air. Coal burning choo choo trains everywhere?

  • Frankly…the most refreshing statements ever made by a foreign country’s president…let us leave the area and instead deal with China directly and unilaterally. Treat China as it should be treated, as the powerhouse of the region. In fact, as equals. Let the Chinese deal with every single nation that lays claim in the South China Sea. Duterte is absolutely correct. Allow Chinese money and development prowess into the Philippines!

    • Good points. The Philippines, in all truth, have zero to offer us other than a military base. Let them handle and pay for their own affairs. If they don’t like Chinese domination in the South China Sea, let them deal with it at their own expense.

  • This clown has a big mouth … I’d like to see him back it up …

    Take away all your Presidential Security and hit the streets ALONE
    to try and kill all these suspects … I’d sure like to see how
    long you and your big mouth lasts …

  • The United States has, as Duterte suggests intruded into the affairs of other countries that created chaos,
    and instability that has put Americans in harms way. We (USA) have supported despots and dictators such as the Shah of Iran, Cuba’s Batista, Ferdinand Marcos, Somoza of Nicaragua. We know how all of that turned out. Bush’s incursion into Iraq cost over 5,000 American lives and created what we refer to as ISIS. Perhaps Duterte is correct: America has imported terrorists.

  • Blunt and to the point. Perhaps we should allow China to participate in financing the have-nots, third world countries. It will bankrupt the Chinese like it did us?

  • His assessment of Obama’s foreign policy is correct, every country where the US has intervened is in turmoil or civil war. Maybe that’s Obama’s hidden strategy, turn them on each other. If so, it’s working.

  • This idiot should just SHADDUP and focus on the violence in his own country where those Muslim rebels kidnap innocent tourists and behead them and ask for ransom monies…when he can control the violence, unemployment, graft, corruption, prostitution in his own country, then and only then he can open his mouth and criticize the U.S.

    Why are we supporting idiots like him who has one hand out for foreign and military aid and the other hand slapping the U.S. in the face….thank you Obama for your foreign policy, you idiot.

  • This President should take care of affairs in his own country before blaming the U.S. for the violence in the mideast. I mean, with the crime running rampant in P.I., the Muslim rebels kidnapping innocent tourists and asking for ransom and even beheading some of their victims, the graft, corruption, prostitution that has plagued the politicians in the P.I. and now blaming the U.S. for the current events in the mideast….please…..give me a break…yet, he has the audacity to extend one hand out asking for military aid and the other hand slapping the face of the U.S…..this is where our foreign policy under Obama has gone…….be it for better or worse….

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