We are discussing on a thread in a chat (Facebook) about where ISIS might attack next after Marawi City in the Philippines. The title of the thread started by a regular broadcaster on Filipino TV/radio, assumes that it will come within Mindanao. A month ago, that was also my opinion. We were, at that time, hearing reports from Cotabato City of ISIS activity threatening local people with reprisals for helping the AFP, and ISIS killed a few local officials who resisted. There was a specific threat of chemical weapons being talked of to terrify local people. This has now gone quiet. Using the freedom of manoeuvre granted by martial law, the AFP (The Armed Forces of the Philippines) have seemingly managed to eliminate this threat, and the sources in Cotabato City say everything has now ‘gone quiet’.
That suggests to me that ISIS could well look outside Mindanao where the army is fully alerted and has been given a completely free hand.
The rest of the Philippines offers plenty of other targets where there are significant Moslem populations, and the army does not yet have a free hand to stop a build-up of the threat. An obvious target would be Cebu. Located on the sea it would easy to rapidly deploy a force there to attack. There is a significant Moslem population, which could be used to prepare the ground. The shock value of the target being outside Mindanao would be massive, and it would deal a heavy blow to Duterte which is exactly what the CIA, who created and fund ISIS, wishes to achieve.
I dropped off this opinion twice in the thread (on facebook) and both times it was deleted, or went missing. Maybe they’re taking the piss, or maybe I’ve struck on an idea which has validity here.
The Ayala Center would be an ideal location to defend as it forms a perfect circle/oval with multiple levels, making it much easier to defend than attack. It would heartbreaking for Filipinos to see the bombers attacking and blowing this beautiful shopping and leisure location to pieces. The economic effects of tourism would be huge. The numbers of hostages taken could be in the thousands. The center of Cebu would be a strong possibility for a target of choice by the terrorists. If they could do there, what they did in Marawi, the propaganda value would be a thousand times greater.
I wouldn’t have blogged this opinion unless Facebook kept deleting me whenever I write the next attack will come outside Mindanao. Martial Law should be applied to the Visayas as a matter of urgency, would be my best suggestion. The AFP will know what to do to defend such a high value target, and eliminate the threat, once they are given what they need to achieve those ends.