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The Philippine Civil War - 2008: Religious War?

What Religion?  What God?

By: Editorial – August 20, 2008


The Philippine Civil War has been going on for over 30 years now and has killed over 120,000 Filipino citizens - both Christians and Muslims.  The death counts have been reported by some of the country's media and monitoring groups.


The Philippine Civil War?


Civil War is widely classified by scholars of conflict as an indigenous, or local, conflict that has over 1,000 war-related casualties per year of conflict, as prescribed in the Correlates of War dataset.


When you divide the over 120,000 Filipinos killed over the past 30 years, that equates to over 4,000 war-related deaths per year of conflict, or a full-blown Civil War!  The exact number of deaths may be more, considering the many who disappeared and just have not been heard from again - the disappeared.


The Philippine Civil War is one of the longest running in the world and one of the least reported or resolved.


The Philippine Civil War is a religious war in every sense:  Muslims versus Christians.


Allah versus God.  Mohamed versus Jesus.


The Philippine Civil War is a political war in every sense: Terrorism versus Martial Law.


Guerilla Warfare versus Government Corruption and Disruption.


The Filipino Citizens, both Christians and Muslims, versus The Philippine Government and the Guerillas, both Christians and Muslims.


Citizen Sovereignty versus Absolute Power.


Family versus Family and their Lineage.


Church versus State.


State versus Church.


Mindanao versus Malacañang.


Civil versus Evil.


The civilian right to bear arms against a foreign enemy versus suppression of that right by defenders of the Constitution.


The power of a flower and a willful people versus the greed of a dictator and her cronies' gun barrels and fat wallets.


The power of choice to live freely amongst thy neighbors and the terrorism of guerillas and their jihad backed by fat pigs from foreign countries who relish the blood-letting of innocent civilians for the sake of their "religious" doctrine.


The virgin lives of the Filipino victims versus the virgins promised to the dead jihaddists and their rampaging clan.


The end result of this long-standing Philippine Civil War is the continuing deaths and displacements of a peaceful and both educated and illiterate citizenry.


Men, Women and Children.


Christians and Muslims.


All DEAD!!!


Where was their God?  Where was their Religion?  Where was their State?


Terrorism and Tyranny continues unabated to this very day.


The innocent civilian death count and displacement continues unabated to this very day.


Nothing seems to have changed...


But wait - the power of democracy seems to have been awakened recently by the very same repressed people and are taking their just cause and exercising their constitutional rights to defend against the suppressors of their homeland.


Their message is loud and clear:  NO means NO!!!


What part of NO don't you understand???


The Filipino people's sovereignty and constitutional right to live and coexist peacefully amongst each other, regardless of race or religion, is irrevocable.


No one has the right to kill another human being.  But a human being has the right to defend their self from being killed.


The rhetoric and actions of the MILF/ARMM and their Philippine government partners under Arroyo are unconstitutional and are heinous crimes against humanity.


If they do not stop their wanton war of illegality and killing of innocent Filipino citizens, that very war will be taken to their door steps by the very civilians they target.


A peaceful and patient people have been awakened by the specter of a BJE-MOA and terrorism taking over their indigenous land and taking away their constitutional sovereignty, without their legal consent.


NO means NO!!!


Lay down your arms and live in peace like the rest of the peaceful citizenry.


Otherwise, the Philippine Civil War will continue.


Peace to one and all.




People Power: 25th Anniversary



Civil War

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


A civil war is a war between a state and domestic political actors that are in control of some part of the territory claimed by the state. It is high-intensity conflict, often involving regular armed forces, that is sustained, organized and large-scale. Civil wars result in large numbers of casualties and the expenditure of large amounts of resource. A civil war involves two-sided violence; for example, a massacre of civilians by the state is not a civil war. Similarly, less intense forms of societal conflict, such as riots or social movements, are excluded from the definition.[1]


Civil wars since the end of World War II have lasted on average just over four years, a dramatic rise from the one-and-a-half year average of the 1900-1944 period. While the rate of emergence of new civil wars has been relatively steady since the mid-1800s, the increasing length of those wars resulted in increasing numbers of wars ongoing at any one time. For example, there were no more than five civil wars underway simultaneously in the first half of the twentieth century, while over 20 concurrent civil wars were occurring at the end of the Cold War, before a significant decrease as conflicts strongly associated with the superpower rivalry came to an end. Since 1945, civil wars have resulted in the deaths of over 25 million people, as well as the forced displacement of millions more. Civil wars have further resulted in economic collapse; Burma (Myanmar), Uganda and Angola are examples of nations that were considered to have promising futures before being engulfed in civil wars.[2]

Forced displacement, or Forced migration, (also called deracination) refers to the coerced movement of a person or persons away from their home or home region. It often connotes violent coercion, and is used interchangeably with the terms "displacement" or forced displacement. A specific form of forced migration is population transfer, which is a coherent policy to move unwanted persons, perhaps as an attempt at "ethnic cleansing". Someone who has experienced forced migration is a "forced migrant" or "displaced person".


Forced migration has accompanied religious and political persecution, as well as war, throughout human history but has only become a topic of serious study and discussion relatively recently. This increased attention is the result of greater ease of travel, allowing displaced persons to flee to nations far removed from their homes, the creation of an international legal structure of human rights, and the realizations that the destabilizing effects of forced migration, especially in parts of Africa, the Middle East, south and central Asia, ripple out well beyond the immediate region.


[Mindanao Island Displacement:

With the most recent Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerilla attacks on the Philippine Military and the Filipino civilians who reside in the various areas of targeted terror mainly in Mindanao Island, over 33 people are reported as dead and at least over 160,000 civilians fled their homes within the areas of terror influence of the MILF terrorist attacks.]

Scholars of war divide theories on the causes of civil war into either greed versus grievance. Roughly stated: are conflicts caused by who people are, whether that be defined in terms of ethnicity, religion or other social affiliation, or do conflicts begin because it is in the economic best interests of individuals and groups to start them? Scholarly analysis supports the conclusion that economic and structural factors are more important than those of identity in predicting occurrences of civil war.[3]




The Geneva Conventions do not specifically define the term ‘civil war’. They do, however, describe the criteria that separate any act committed by force of arms (anarchy, terrorism, or plain banditry) from those qualifying as ‘armed conflict not of an international character’, which includes civil wars. Among those conditions listed are these four basic requirements.[4]

* The party in revolt must be in possession of a part of the national territory. [ARMM territory]

* The insurgent civil authority must exercise de facto authority over the population within the determinate portion of the national territory. [MILF/MNLF = ARMM]

* The insurgents must have some amount of recognition as a belligerent. [MILF/MNLF - a terrorist group]

* The legal Government is "obliged to have recourse to the regular military forces against insurgents organized as military." [MILF/MNLF attacks against Filipino Civilians]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) further clarified Article 9 of the Geneva Convention. They stated that the nature of these armed conflicts, not of an international character "generally refer to conflicts with armed forces on either side which are in many respects similar to an international war, but take place within the confines of a single country."[5]


The U.S. military has adopted the principles set by the Diplomatic Conference of Geneva for their definition of civil war. However, it adds a fifth requirement for "identifiable regular armed forces".[6]




Scholars use two criteria:

1. the warring groups must be from the same country and fighting for control of the political center, control over a separatist state [Mindanao Island], or

2. to force a major change in policy. [ARMM]


A second criterion, used by some academics, is that at least 1,000 people must have been killed in total, with at least 100 from each side.[7]


The Correlates of War, a dataset widely used by scholars of conflict, classifies civil wars as having over 1,000 war-related casualties per year of conflict.  [The MILF/MNLF's 30-year rebellion warfare against the Philippine government and it's civilian population has left more than 120,000 dead, according to news sources.  That would mean 4,000 war-related casualties per year of conflict, or Civil War.]


This rate is a small fraction of the millions killed in the Second Sudanese Civil War and Cambodian Civil War, for example, but excludes several highly publicized conflicts, such as The Troubles of Northern Ireland and the struggle of the African National Congress in Apartheid-era South Africa. Based on the 1000 casualties per year criterion, there were 213 civil wars from 1816 to 1997, 104 of which occurred from 1944 to 1997.[1]


Causes of civil war


One of the most comprehensive studies of civil war was carried out by a team from the World Bank in the early 2000s. The study framework, which came to be called the Collier-Hoeffler Model, examined 78 five-year increments when civil war occurred from 1960 to 1999, as well as 1167 five-year increments of "no civil war" for comparison, and subjected the data set to regression analysis to see the effect of various factors. The factors that were shown to have a statistically-significant effect on the chance that a civil war would occur in any given five-year period were:[8]


Availability of finance


A high proportion of primary commodities in national exports significantly increases the risk of a conflict. A country at "peak danger", with commodities comprising 32% of gross domestic product, has a 22% of falling into civil war in a given five-year period, while a country with no primary commodity exports has a 1% risk. When disaggregated, only petroleum and non-petroleum groupings showed different results: a country with relatively low levels of dependence on petroleum exports is at slightly less risk, while a high-level of dependence on oil as an export results in slightly more risk of a civil war than national dependence on another primary commodity. The authors of the study interpreted this as being the result of the ease by which primary commodities may be extorted or captured compared to other forms of wealth, e.g. it is easy to capture and control the output of a gold mine or oil field compared to a sector of garment manufacturing or hospitality services.[9]


A second source of finance is national diasporas, which can fund rebellions and insurgencies from abroad. The study found that statistically switching the size of a country’s diaspora from the smallest found in the study to the largest resulted in a sixfold increase in the chance of a civil war.[9]


Opportunity cost of rebellion


Higher male secondary school enrollment, per capita income and economic growth rate all had significant effects on reducing the chance of civil war. Specifically, a male secondary school enrollment 10% above the average reduced the chance of a conflict by about 3%, while a growth rate 1% higher than the study average resulted in a decline in the chance of a civil war of about 1%. The study interpreted these three factors as proxies for earnings foregone by rebellion, and therefore that lower foregone earnings encourages rebellion.[9] Phrased another way: young males (who make up the vast majority of combatants in civil wars) are less likely to join a rebellion if they are getting an education and/or have a comfortable salary, and can reasonably assume that they will prosper in the future.


Low per capita income has been proposed as a cause for grievance, prompting armed rebellion. However, for this to be true, one would expect economic inequality to also be a significant factor in rebellions, which it is not. The study therefore concluded that the economic model of opportunity cost better explained the findings.[8]


Military advantage


High levels of population dispersion and, to a lesser extent, the presence of mountainous terrain increased the chance of conflict. Both of these factors favor rebels, as a population dispersed outward toward the borders is harder to control than one concentrated in a central region, while mountains offer terrain where rebels can seek sanctuary.[9]




Most proxies for "grievance" - the theory that civil wars begin because of issues of identity, rather than economics - were statistically insignificant, including economic equality, political rights, ethnic polarization and religious fractionalization. Only ethnic dominance, the case where the largest ethnic group comprises a majority of the population, increased the risk of civil war. A country characterized by ethnic dominance has nearly twice the chance of a civil war. However, the combined effects of ethnic and religious fractionalization, i.e. the more chance that any two randomly chosen people will be from separate ethnic or religious groups the less chance of a civil war, were also significant and positive, as long as the country avoided ethnic dominance. The study interpreted this as stating that minority groups are more likely to rebel if they feel that they are being dominated, but that rebellions are more likely to occur the more homogeneous the population and thus more cohesive the rebels. These two factors may thus be seen as mitigating each other in many cases.[10]


Population size


The various factors contributing to the risk of civil war rise increase with population size. The risk of a civil war rises approximately proportionately with the size of a country’s population.[8]




The more time that has elapsed since the last civil war, the less likely it is that a conflict will recur. The study had two possible explanations for this: one opportunity-based and the other grievance-based. The elapsed time may represent the depreciation of whatever capital the rebellion was fought over and thus increase the opportunity cost of restarting the conflict. Alternatively, elapsed time may represent the gradual process of healing of old hatreds. The study found that the presence of diaspora substantially reduced the positive effect of time, as the funding from diasporas offsets the depreciation of rebellion-specific capital.[10]


Duration of civil wars


The modern history of civil wars may be divided into the pre-nineteenth century, nineteenth century to early twentieth century, and late twentieth century. In nineteenth century Europe, the length of civil wars fell significantly, largely due to the nature of the conflicts as battles for the power center of the state, the strength of centralized governments, and the normally quick and decisive intervention by other states to support the government. Following World War II the duration of civil wars grew past the norm of the pre-nineteenth century, largely due to weakness of the many postcolonial states and the intervention by major powers on both sides of conflict. The most obvious commonality to civil wars are that they occur in fragile states.[11]


Civil wars in the 19th and early 20th centuries


Civil wars through the nineteenth century to early twentieth century tended to be short; the average length of a civil war between 1900 and 1944 was one and half years.[12] The state itself was the obvious center of authority in the majority of cases, and the civil wars were thus fought for control of the state. This meant that whoever had control of the capital and the military could normally crush resistance. If a rebellion failed to quickly seize the capital and control of the military for itself, it was normally doomed to a quick destruction. For example, the fighting associated with the 1871 Paris Commune occurred almost entirely in Paris, and ended quickly once the military sided with the government.[13]


The power of non-state actors resulted in a lower value placed on sovereignty in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, which further reduced the number of civil wars. For example, the pirates of the Barbary Coast were recognized as de facto states because of their military power. The Barbary pirates thus had no need to rebel against the Ottoman Empire, who were their nominal state government, to gain recognition for their sovereignty. Conversely, states such as Virginia and Massachussetts in the United States of America did not have sovereign status, but had significant political and economic independence coupled with weak federal control, reducing the incentive to secede.[14]


The two major global ideologies, monarchism and democracy, led to several civil wars. However, a bi-polar world, divided between the two ideologies, did not develop, largely due the dominance of monarchists through most of the period. The monarchists would thus normally intervene in other countries to stop democratic movements taking control and forming democratic governments, which were seen by monarchists as being both dangerous and unpredictable. The Great Powers, defined in the 1815 Congress of Vienna as the United Kingdom, Habsburg Austria, Prussia, France, and Russia, would frequently coordinate interventions in other nations’ civil wars, nearly always on the side of the incumbent government. Given the military strength of the Great Powers, these interventions were nearly always decisive and quickly ended the civil wars.[15]


There were several exceptions from the general rule of quick civil wars during this period. The American Civil War (1861-1865) was unusual for at least two reasons: it was fought around regional identities, rather than political ideologies, and it was ended through a war of attrition, rather than over a decisive battle over control of the capital, as was the norm. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was exceptional because both sides of the war received support from intervening great powers: Germany, Italy and Portugal supported opposition leader Francisco Franco, while France and Russia supported the government.[16]





What makes a civil war?

BBC News

Thursday, 20 April 2006, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK


The dispute over whether Iraq is in the grip of a civil war has surfaced again, with the UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and his Saudi counterpart airing directly contrary views during a conference in Riyadh.


Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies at King’s College London examines the historical precedents and why the argument matters so much.


When does sectarian violence become civil war? That question is being posed almost daily in the face of the steady deterioration of the security situation in Iraq since the election at the end of last year.


The question is not just a matter of definition.


If the problem is sectarian violence then there is still hope that if a broadly-based government can be agreed, then it might get a grip on the situation.


Coalition troops working with the local Iraqi forces could help bring the country back to a semblance of order, helping to keep the peace between the rival communities.


But if it is really a civil war then there is no possibility that such a government will be formed. The police and armed forces will be seen as the partial instruments of the Shia majority and will soon become just one militia among many.


The coalition forces might as well give up and go home.


Iraq’s future will be decided by battle rather than through political negotiation.


This is why the description has been so fiercely disputed by the American, British and Iraqi governments.


American civil war

Strictly speaking a civil war takes place within the same political community and represents a struggle for power between competing factions that is decided through violence.


The American civil war fits the category as it was about one part of the country’s attempt to break away from the rest and it involved a clash between organised armies.


After the Bolshevik revolution there was a civil war in Russia as the ‘white’ forces loyal to the old order fought the ‘red’ forces of the new.


Pronounced differences in religion or ethnicity may produce a civil war if one community decides it is intolerable to live in a state dominated by another.


The militants will use sectarian attacks in order to polarise the country and undermine any claims by the state to be representing all sections of the population.


The Irish Civil War refers to the internal struggle that took place in the 1920s between factions of the Republican Movement over whether or not to accept partition.


This would have given them their own state in the South but left the six counties of the North controlled by Protestants determined to maintain the union with Great Britain.


When the Provisional IRA mounted a violent campaign to separate the North from Great Britain and attach it to the South they might have wished this to appear as a civil war.


Yet in practice it was seen as a vicious reflection of the Catholic-Protestant sectarian divide.


Routine violence

There were paramilitaries operating on behalf of both communities, but they were never in a position to defeat the forces of the state - the police backed by the armed forces - though they were able to make the search for a political settlement appear more urgent.


One possibility with chronic inter-communal violence is not that it leads to civil war, in which it is possible for one side to defeat the other in battle, but instead to a complete breakdown of social order so that there is no effective government at all.


The Lebanese civil war, which began in the mid-1970s and did not really end until 1990, was of that nature.


Within each confessional group could be found a number of militias, who fought each other, and any foreign troops, and could never gain control of the whole country.


Countries in which there is no effective central government but local warlords using loyal militias to protect their local interests are not uncommon in the Third World, for example in Somalia.


This is the sort of scenario that is more likely in Iraq than a classical civil war, because the Shia majority should always be able to crush any opposition forces drawn from the minority Sunnis.


A far greater risk is that the levels of routine violence reach such a point that the state, even if still notionally backed by coalition forces, is unable to provide a basic level of security to its people and the country implodes.





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