United Against Daesh

A few weeks after the Armed Forces of the Philippines foiled the bid of Islamic militants to take control of Marawi City, we requested the Iraqi Ministry of Interior to strengthen their security posture around the Embassy.

We were concerned that the extremists in the Philippines would send out a distress call to their terrorist brethren abroad and ask them to relieve the pressure from them by attacking our diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa. 

We were concerned that the extremists in the Philippines would send out a distress call to their terrorist brethren abroad and ask them to relieve the pressure from them by attacking our diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa.

The Ministry responded immediately and augmented the personnel assigned to secure us. A machine-gun mounted Ford F-150 pickup truck was also deployed and positioned just outside the anti-blast walls we placed across the street to protect the Embassy from a possible car bomb attack.

IRAQ SECURITY 4

One late afternoon in July, I ventured out of the Chancery to check the security around the Embassy.  I was satisfied with what I saw and thanked the members of our security detail who have been watching over us. The guards were in high spirits as a result of Iraq’s victory in Mosul a few days earlier.

Finally, Iraq’s second largest city or what was left of it was back in government hands three years after the Islamic State took control of it. That was something that must really be celebrated and people in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq have been doing just that.

But even as they were in a celebratory mood, our guards also know what we were going through as a result of the Islamic State attempt to establish what they hoped would be their Southeast Asian wilayat  in the Philippines. The Daesh spillover in Marawi was something our guards have been closely following in the local media.

But even as they were in a celebratory mood, our guards also know what we were going through as a result of the Islamic State attempt to establish what they hoped would be their Southeast Asian wilayat  in the Philippines. The Daesh spillover in Marawi was something our guards have been closely following in the local media.

IRAQ SECURITY 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked at them and saw that unspoken expression of sympathy and solidarity written in their faces. And they went even further. Talking through one of our Iraqi local hires, they told me: “We will fight and defeat Daesh wherever they are, whether here in Iraq or in the Philippines.”

What I was particularly touched about was when one of them said: “Please give us visas so we can go to the Philippines tomorrow and fight with you there!”

They then started dancing and chanting “No, no to Daesh! No, no to Daesh!”

That’s one memory of Iraq that I brought home with me.

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