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PacNet #35 – U.S.-Philippine Relations after the Iraq Crisis

It’s been one month since Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz was released by militants in Iraq after the Philippine government bowed to his captors’ demands to withdraw its troops from Iraq. President Gloria Magapagal-Arroyo’s decision to bring back the troops less than a month earlier than scheduled had been widely criticized, particularly by the United States and Australia, on two counts. First, the withdrawal meant that the Philippines reneged on its commitment to the U.S.-led coalition in the war in Iraq and in effect, the war on terrorism. Second, by capitulating to the kidnappers’ demands, the Philippines, in the words of Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, had “empowered the kidnappers.”