Category Archives: Philippines

Report: Islamic State Affiliate Abu Sayyaf Expanding Operations

Abu Sayyaf pledging allegiance to the Islamic State

Abu Sayyaf pledging allegiance to the Islamic State

posted by Christopher W. Holton

Back in August of 2014, a senior leader of the Philippine Jihadist terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Not surprisingly, now there is evidence that the organization is expanding its operations in the Pacific Rim area…

As the rest of the world grapples with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), their latest attacks on Paris, and what some commentators are calling the Global Jihad Insurgency, Philippines-based Islamic militant group the Abu Sayyaf may be spreading its own unwanted tentacles.

That message was clear following a leaked memo from within the Malaysian police published by the news portal Malaysiakini detailing how the Abu Sayyaf has established cell networks in East and West Malaysia, which were prepared to carry out terrorist-styled attacks.

This is unusual as the Abu Sayyaf – who have been widely, and justifiably, vilified as thugs – have largely kept their operations in Basilan, Jolo  and surrounding islands, spilling into the Sulu Sea and only sometimes into nearby Sabah, since the group’s inception in 1991. Operational cells in Kuala Lumpur would indicate a major expansion of its operations.

If the Abu Sayyaf is spreading its wings as an ISIS proxy into Malaysia, a Muslim country with secular pretensions, then fears that the militant insurgency — which dominated the region’s political landscape in the first decade of this century — is making a resurgence will be realized.

Just last week Malaysia’s defense minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said he and other Malaysian leaders were on an ISIS hit list.

As a paramilitary group, the Abu Sayyaf has sworn allegiance to ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has outlasted its contemporaries, is well armed, and can make bombs. And that is exactly what ISIS needs if it is to pick-up from where JI and JAT left off in the push for a Southeast Asian caliphate, not unlike the one it seeks in the Middle East.



Italian Former Missionary Kidnapped in Philippines


It is highly likely that Rolando del Torchio was abducted by Jihadists. First of all, the abduction occurred on Mindanao, a hotbed of Jihadi violence for many years. Second,  this poor man is a former Catholic missionary; missionaries have been especially targeted by Jihadists in the Philippines for many years.

This abduction shows the futility of negotiating with Jihadists. The Philippine government has been attempting to appease the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for years, so splinter groups and other independent Jihadist groups have carried on with campaigns of terror.

Even if MILF was willing to honor a truce with the Philippine government (highly doubtful), they are but one group of Jihadists operating in the Philippines. It is more likely than not that the Jihadist insurgency in Mindanao will escalate, rather than decline…

Unknown gunmen seized Rolando del Torchio, a former PIME missionary, in Dipolog City (Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao), where he owned the ‘Ur Choice Bistro Café’, an eatery near the Andres Bonifacio College.

Rolando Del Torchio, 57, comes from Angera (Varese, Italy). Ordained a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in 1984, he worked in Naples for a few years and was then sent to the Philippines, to Sebuco on Mindanao, not far from where he was kidnapped.

As a missionary, he worked hard to defend the rights of farmers and tribals against landowners, often putting his own life at risk. In 2001, he asked to live outside the Institute, remaining in Zamboanga del Norte. Subsequently, he left the priesthood for personal reasons.

Nothing is known about the kidnappers. Several Muslim guerrilla groups operate on the island of Mindanao. Some are engaged in talks with the Filipino government. Others abduct foreigners or locals for financial gain or to pursue their struggle against the authorities.

PIME has been present in Mindanao since the 1970s. One of Rolando Del Torchio’s colleagues, Fr Fausto Tentorio, was killed in 2011. Two other missionaries have been killed on the island. Private armed guards murdered Fr Tullio Favali in Tulunan, in the Diocese of Kidapawan, in 1985. Fr Salvatore Carzedda, who was involved in talks with Muslims, was assassinated in Zamboanga in 1992.

Two more missionaries have been abducted. Fr Luciano Benedetti was kidnapped in 1998 by a Muslim group but was released after about two months. A splinter group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) seized Fr Giancarlo Bossi in 2007 and released him after two months in captivity.




US Army Issues New Shoulder Patch for Campaign Against “ISIL”

By Christopher Holton

The US Army has issued a new shoulder patch for the slightly more than 3,000 troops who President Obama has decided he can spare to fight the world’s most dangerous Jihadist entity, the Islamic State, which the US federal government still insists on referring to as “ISIL,” despite the fact that there are now Jihadi groups from West Africa to the Philippines that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Nothing illustrates better the institutional denial that we are saddled with as a nation in our fight to save Western civilization than our federal counter terror bureaucracy’s slavish attitude toward outmoded views on the threat from Jihad…except maybe the new shoulder patch that is the subject of this post. Here it is:

New US Army shoulder patch. Note absence of anything identifiable with the US Army or the United States of America

New US Army shoulder patch. Note absence of anything identifiable with the US Army or the United States of America

Now compare the US Army’s shoulder patch to those of several known, prominent Jihadist groups…and prepare to be repulsed…

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group


Jemaah Islamiyah in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia

Jemaah Islamiyah in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia

Abu Sayyef Group in the Philippines

Abu Sayyef Group in the Philippines

Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan and India

Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan and India

Boko Haram in Nigeria and west Africa

Boko Haram in Nigeria and west Africa

Al Shabaab in Somalia and east Africa

Al Shabaab in Somalia and east Africa

Al Qaeda. Remember them?

Al Qaeda. Remember them?

The Taliban

The Taliban



And the granddaddy of them all...The Muslim Brotherhood

And the granddaddy of them all…The Muslim Brotherhood

If you’re wondering what the HELL is going on here, you’re definitely not alone.

The Philippines: Another Jihad the World is Ignoring

Philippine island of Mindanao, site of bloody Jihadist insurgency

Philippine island of Mindanao, site of bloody Jihadist insurgency

Not a week goes by these days in which we are not reminded that there is a global Jihadist insurgency. It is not homogenous; the various Islamic insurgent groups are not united. But they do all possess the same basic goal: to see to it that allah’s law rules supreme on earth.

Yes, we’re in a world war. Our enemies know it, but we continue to deny it.

For example, the Jihadist insurgency in the southern Philippines, which has been going on for many years, continues to flare up periodically. It’s a bloody war that most of the world knows nothing about because the Western media rarely reports on it.

The Philippine government made the mistake of entering into a truce with the Jihadist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) almost a year ago. (Please, no stupid jokes about this savage group’s acronym.)

Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and flag

Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and flag

Right from the start, a breakaway Jihadist faction, the Boro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), continued waging Jihad despite the truce. In addition, in the latest outbreak, members of the MILF were reportedly involved.

Boro Islamic Freedom Fighters jihadis

Boro Islamic Freedom Fighters jihadis

It all started when Filipino police conducted a raid looking for Malaysian bomb-maker and Jemaah Islamiyah leader Zulkifli bin Hir. (Jemaah Islamiyah is a third Jihadist organization based out of Malaysia.)


Also known as “Marwan,” Zulkifli bin Hir is believed to have conducted bomb making training for yet another Jihadist group, Abu Sayyaf. The U.S. is offering a $5 million reward for him. He is believed to have been hiding in the Southern Philippines since 2003.

Abu Sayyaf flag...look familiar? It should.

Abu Sayyaf flag…look familiar? It should.


Anyway, the operation did not go well unfortunately. Depending on whose numbers you use, somewhere between 37 and 64 Filipino police officers of the elite Special Action Force were killed in the operation and an unknown number of others may have been captured.


“This is the single-largest loss of life in recent memory to our security forces,” Interior Minister Mar Roxas said at a televised press conference.

Only 11 Jihadis were killed, 6 BIFF and 5 MILF, and none are believed to have been bin Hir/Marwan.

The Philippine armed forces are now being reduced to calling on the Jihadists to release any prisoners they may have taken.

The operation took place in an area controlled by the MILF. The fact that BIFF Jihadis were also operating in the area and the fact that the Philippine police suspect that a notorious, most wanted Jihadi is hiding out there tells us all we need to know about the worth of the so-called truce.

The Philippine government has joined its European and American counterparts in going into full-blown denial about the apparent failure of its truce with the Jihadists.


By Christopher Holton

If you listen to some political pundits on both sides of the aisle, you might get the misimpression that Jihadists target America and America is viewed negatively in the Islamic world because of our support for Israel.

The problem with that line of thinking is that ignores some 1400 years of Islamic doctrine.

Each Jihadist terror organization around the globe has a specific goal in mind and that is the formation of an Islamic state ruled by Shariah.

This is very important to understand because this is a common goal of all the major Jihadist organizations across the world. It is shared by Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Lashkar e Taiba, Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and others and transcends any localized disagreements over borders and pure politics.

Israel could evaporate tomorrow and the overriding goal of the formation of Islamic states ruled by Shariah would not change a bit.

Those who blame Jihad on Israel need to ask themselves some important questions:

  • Did ISIS wage Jihad in Iraq and Syria to establish an Islamic state ruled by Shariah law because America supports Israel?
  • Did the Jihadist terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria kidnap 300 young girls this spring because America supports Israel?
  • Did the Taliban seize power in Afghanistan in 1996 to establish an Islamic state ruled by Shariah law because America supports Israel?
  • Did the Jihadist terrorist group Al Shabaab attack the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2013, killing 67 innocent civilians, because America supports Israel?
  • Did the Jihadist terrorist group Lashkar e Taiba launch terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India in 2008, killing 154 innocent civilians because America supports Israel?
  • Did the Jihadist terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah bomb resorts in Bali, Indonesia in October 2002, killing 202 innocent civilians because America supports Israel?
  • Did Chechen Jihadist terrorists massacre 334 people, mostly school children, in Beslan, Russia, because the US supports Israel?
  • Did Jihadist terrorists with the group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) detonate a bomb in Marrakesh, Morroco in April 2011, killing 17 innocent civilians, because America supports Israel.

Of course, the answer to each and every one of these questions is no and the questions and answers prove a point. Jihad is truly global. Tragically, it is one of the most successful “exports” in the world over the past decade.

None of the regions mentioned above have a thing to do with Israel. Most don’t have anything to do with America.

The doctrine behind global jihad is over a thousand years old. In other words, the jihadist doctrine has been around far longer than America has even been in existence.

The Jihadists are not motivated only by our actions. They don’t just react to what we do. They have their own reasons for waging violent Jihad which have nothing to do with America, Israel or anything that you or I have any control over.

The quicker our politicians—both Democrat and Republican—gain a full understanding of this, the better.

HOLTON: The Enemy Knows We’re In A World War, But We Don’t

Excerpt and LINK from my guest article in The Hayride…

The Islamic State is not simply an Iraqi problem or a Syrian problem. IS has metastasized into a worldwide organization with 20,000 recruits from Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, the U.S., Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Germany. Even worse, Jihadists from Boko Haram in Nigeria, Abu Sayyef in the Philippines, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Northwest Africa and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula from Yemen have all pledged allegiance to IS.

There can no longer be any doubt that the global Islamic insurgency that some have been warning about for some time, amounts to a world war. Nevertheless, policymakers here in the U.S. continue to ignore or deny this reality.

Over the period of a generation, the West has allowed itself to be thoroughly infiltrated by a savage and barbaric belief system. This is evidenced by the global base of recruitment that the Islamic State has been able to take advantage of and the numerous public displays of support for IS in the West.



Abu Sayyaf Joins the Islamic State

At what point does Obama’s so-called “jayvee” become enough of a threat to mobilize action to put them down?


Thailand Breaks Up Hezbollah Plot to Target Israelis During Passover

Image from

Image from

Anyone who doesn’t realize that Hezbollah is a Jihadist organization with global reach hasn’t been paying attention.

There are too many Americans in particular who have come to view Hezbollah as strictly an organization limited to operations in Lebanon.

That just isn’t true. In fact, there can be no doubt that Hezbollah has operatives here in America, perhaps many of them. And we know that Hezbollah has supporters, including financial supporters, here in the USA.

But the latest story involving a Jihadist plot by Hezbollah comes from Thailand, a popular tourist destination for Israelis and other Westerners–and a country that is contending with an Jihadist insurgency of its own.

Thai authorities arrested two Hezbollah members who evidently confessed to a bomb plot targeting Israeli tourists.

The two Jihadis were identified as Daoud Farhat, a French-Lebanese national, and Youssef Ayad, who is of Lebanese-Filipino extraction.

Farhat held a French passport and Ayad carried a Philippines passport. Their passports indicated that both were born in Lebanon, but it is not yet certain that the passports are genuine.

Farhat was in Thailand for the first time, but Ayad has visited Thailand 17 times.

Thai investigators believe at least nine suspected foreign terrorists connected to Hezbollah are somewhere in Thailand and that one other possible co-conspirator may have already fled Thailand. One of the other suspects is said to be named Bilal Bahsoun.

More details are available at the counter terror site,


Islam, Jihad and Terrorism: A Gem From Mark Steyn

From the 2013 archives, specifically from October 2013, this might be the best article on Islam and Jihad during the course of the year…by the indomitable Mark Steyn:


Islam, Muslims, Violent Jihad and Shariah


By Christopher Holton

The overwhelming majority of Muslims do not commit acts of violent Jihad, but that does not mean that there isn’t a doctrinal basis for it in Islamic scripture.

I am not talking about just a few violent verses in the Quran. The Islamic trilogy is replete with it: the Quran, the Hadith and the Sirah. (The Hadith are traditions and stories of the life of Muhammed and the Sirah is the biography of Muhammed). Moreover, in the Quran, the principle of abrogation bestows the most violent verses with the greatest strength as compared to earlier, peaceful verses.

These are facts, and if you read what the Jihadis themselves talk to each other about, EVERYTHING they do is based on contemporary interpretation of Islamic scripture.

We’re not talking about a fringe element here, folks. We’re talking about entire regimes (the Ayatollahs in Iran and Taliban Afghanistan are examples) and scores of violent Jihadist organizations around the world such as, Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah, Lashkar e Taiba, Abu Sayyef, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, Jemaah Islamiyah, Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Muslim Brotherhood…and many more.

To assign these beliefs to EVERY SINGLE Muslim of the 1.2 billion Muslims on the planet is wrong. But to deny the doctrinal basis in Islam for all of this violent Jihad is just as wrong and it is preventing the West from coming to grips with the global war with which we are faced, whether we want to believe it or not. There is a reason why we see Islamic terrorist organizations as well as individual Jihadis waging violent Jihad in places as geographically diverse as Boston, Los Angeles, Fort Hood, Little Rock, New York, Washington, Buenos Aires, London, Amsterdam, Toulouse, Madrid, Moscow, Beslan, Marrakech, Algiers, Benghazi, Damascus, Beirut, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Yaounde, Nairobi, Mogadishu, Timbuktu, Kaduna, Dar el Salam, Sana’a, Istanbul, Fallujah, Ramadi, Karachi, Islamabad, Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Mumbai, Amritsar, Dhaka, Hat Yai, Yala, Bali, and Mindanao.

In warfare, your enemy’s reality becomes your reality. To defeat him, you better understand him. You better understand his motivations and his goals. In short, you need to know what makes him tick. We understood what made the Nazis tick, we had Mein Kampf as a doctrinal guide. We understood what made the communists tick, we had The Communist Manifesto and other works as a doctrinal guide. But we REFUSE to even TRY to understand what makes the Jihadis tick because we fear that the reality will be too frightening. We are in willful denial: “The violence simply cannot have anything to do with Islam because there are too many peaceful Muslims in the world.”

That is missing the point entirely. The fact that the majority of Muslims do not know Islamic doctrine and thus do not adhere to it is not particularly remarkable or surprising. How many Catholics are truly highly familiar with the doctrinal aspects of their faith?

The fact remains that there are violent Jihadists around the world who commit acts of war and they both justify it on Islamic scripture and carry out these acts to promote Islam. The doctrinal basis is found in Islamic law, known as Shariah. The Jihadists’ goal is to impose Islamic law and Islamic law is the code which they follow. (If you are skeptical of this, go pick up a copy of the excellent work by Raymond Ibrahim, The Al Qaeda Reader, and read what the enemy writes and says.) To deny the doctrinal basis in Islam for violent Jihad is becoming more and more suicidal as a civilization with each new incident that we in turn deny.

The latest example is of course in Boston. Two Jihadis, perhaps members of a Jihadist organization, or perhaps so-called “lone wolf” actors, committed atrocious acts of violent Jihad, killing several innocents and wounding many more. Despite evidence on social media and YouTube, as well as accounts of the Jihadis’ devout Islamic beliefs, the simpletons in the news media and even in our own government are pondering aloud what their motivation could possibly have been. Hours and hours of TV coverage in the so-called “mainstream” media go by with nary a mention of the word “Islam.” The elephant in the room is being ignored.

Some “experts” are quoted as taking comfort in the belief that the two Tsarnaev brothers may not have had any operational connection with any known terrorist organization, such as Al Qaeda. This is 180 degrees out from reality and these “experts” completely miss the point.

The fact that the Tsarnaev brothers may have “only” been inspired to commit Jihad on their own is not cause for celebration or relaxation. It is cause for alarm and it would seem to be part of a disturbing pattern that has been emerging over the years:

• Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, aka Carlos Bledsoe, apparently acting on his own after receiving terrorist training in Yemen, shot two US Army soldiers outside a Little Rock, Arkansas recruiting office, killing one, Private William Long and wounding another.

• Major Nidal Malik Hasan, apparently acting on his own, after years of conversing with Al Qaeda Imam Anwar Al Awlaki, shot and killed 13 fellow US Army soldiers and wounded 39 more.

These types of attacks are indicative of a revolutionary critical mass in which centralized direction and control is no longer necessary. Jihadis around the world are now waging violent Jihad in Al Qaeda-like fashion after reading web postings and listening to sermons. This presents a whole new series of challenges for security services and makes the use of military force much less effective. Infiltrating organizations such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah has been extremely difficult. But how does one infiltrate lone wolf actors like the Tsarnaev brothers? Who does the US military go after in the wake of the Boston attacks?

This new reality makes identifying and understanding the Islamic doctrinal basis of our Jihadist enemies all the more important, yet with each passing attack, we seem to be getting further and further away from doing so.


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