- MANILA, (AFP) - US President
George W. Bush's despatch of military advisers to the Philippines could
lead to a "new Vietnam" and hasten President Gloria Arroyo's
downfall, communist guerrilla leaders warned Sunday.
The insurgent National Democratic Front (NDF) urged the American public,
"just as during the Vietnam War", to "stand up and defy
this US imperialist intervention against the Filipino people."
The Pentagon is sending at least 650 Special Forces troops and support
personnel to the southern Philippines over the next six months to advise
Filipino troops in a campaign to crush the Abu Sayyaf Muslim guerrilla
Both governments said the US help is within the framework of the global
campaign against terrorism.
The Abu Sayyaf, they said, has links with the al-Qaida network of Osama
bin Laden, the main suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks in the
But NDF leader Luis Jalandoni charged that the operations would not be
limited to the south because the Americans "are also setting up quarters
in Laur", a northern town that is host to the Philippine Army's 7th
Leftwing groups have charged that the US advisers would eventually turn
their help into a campaign against the New People's Army (NPA), a 12,000-member
Maoist guerrilla group that has been included in an international "terrorist
blacklist" circulated by Washington.
"By sending 650 US combat troops, including 160 Green Berets and Navy
Seals, with the approval of the puppet (Arroyo) regime, into a battle zone
in southern Philippines, US imperialism is deliberately setting up a tripwire
to a new Vietnam," Jalandoni said.
"The broadest united front of patriotic and progressive forces in
the Philippines and in the international community must be mobilized to
vigorously oppose and resist" the US military presence, he added.
Jose Maria Sison, the founder of the NDF and NPA's mother organization
the Communist Party of the Philippines, warned that with the US military
deployments, Arroyo's "relatively peaceful removal from power is probable
within one year".
Arroyo has insisted the US deployments are covered by a 1951 mutual defense
treaty with Washington. Her aides say the majority of Filipinos back the
US presence to help her crush the Abu Sayyaf.
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