The Battle of Marawi

May—Oct 2017

By Fabio Di Felice

Marawi is the capital of the Lanao

del Sur region, one of five political subdivision on Mindanao. On 23 May 2017, as part of the campaign against extremist groups in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) conducted a raid on a house in the center of Marawi (pop. 200,000). They had identified it as the lair of Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the Abu Sayyaf Islamist terror group.

As the security units approached the house, they were subjected to a heavy volume of fire that killed three and wounded 11 others. That outcome was so unexpected it led to the withdrawal of government forces to positions outside the city to await reinforcement.

During that initial clash, Abu Sayyaf fighters called on their allied extremists in the “Maute group.” Their fighters then quickly occupied the nerve centers of the city including the town hall and the hospital nearby. Even Marawi Police Headquarters and the city prison fell into their hands.

After an unsuccessful attack on the military base Camp Ranao, in the north of the city, the enraged insurgents burned the city cathedral. They also took hostage the worshippers present, including a priest and students from the nearby campus of Dansalah College.

The authorities in Manila realized the gravity of the situation and declared a national emergency. At 2200 local time, President Rodrigo Duterte, declared martial law across Mindanao.

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ST342: The Carolingian Twilight

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  • The Carolingian Twilight: The Frankish kingdom reached its zenith as the Carolingian Empire during the reign of Charlemagne (771–814), but it sundered when his grandsons fought each other for control. The next generation continued that internal strife, creating a permanent division in 888. The causes included the personalities of the contenders, some unexpected royal deaths, external enemies and cultural traditions.
  • World War I in East Africa: The 1914–18 campaign in German East Africa has ever since been regarded as a legendary epic in which supremely competent German leadership motivated soldiers to fight for four years despite hardships. Here is our analysis.
  • The Seminole Wars: 1817–58: In Florida during the early 19th century, the American South’s economic interest in slavery conflicted with the earlier Spanish policy of tolerance and coexistence with the Seminoles, free blacks and runaway slaves who had found sanctuary there. That led to three wars between 1817 and 1858. Taken altogether, they were the longest, bloodiest and most expensive of the Indian wars.

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