Congress Should Cut Military Aid to the Philippines
The Hill, June 2021
In a new opinion piece for The Hill, the Director of CIP’s Arms and Security Project, William Hartung, argues that Congress should take decisive steps to suspend military aid to the Philippines in light of persistent human rights and international humanitarian law abuses by the Filippino security services.
The piece comes a week after lawmakers introduced the Philippine Human Rights Act, which would cut support to the Philippine police and military until the Duterte government investigates and prosecutes security personnel who have violated human rights. The bill would also require the military to remain outside of domestic politics and establishes protection requirements for journalists, human rights defenders, LGBTI activists, and others.
Phillippines security assistance has been under increasing scrutiny since the 2016 election of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has presided over a violent war on drugs that has killed thousands, a harsh crackdown on critics, journalists, and civil society, and a violent counterterror campaign in the country’s south.
The UN has issued a rare call to halt to arms sales to Myanmar in response to this year’s violent military coup. The General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the military junta, which overthrew the country’s elected government in February.
After five months without U.S. airstrikes in Somalia, the Department of Defense is considering sending dozens of Special Forces troops back for a “train and assist” mission to help local forces fight Al-Shabab. The deployment would reverse President Trump’s January withdrawal from the country.
Despite concerns that the Kenyan Defense Forces are killing civilians in their war against Al-Shabab, the United States has promised more security aid for the East African nation, including U.S. special operations troops, although the “number of troops is not indicated.”
As Lebanon continues to suffer from simultaneous economic and political crises, France and other global powers, such as the United States and Russia, are looking to raise millions of dollars in aid for the country’s depleted security forces.
NATO concerns about the security of the Hamid Karzai airport after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan have led to a potential effort by the Turkish military to secure the position. Turkish President Recep Erdoğan has conditioned this effort on U.S. support and collaboration, which “will be of great importance.”
Representative Susan Wild (D-PA) reintroduced the Philippines Human Rights Act last week, urging the Biden administration to suspend all security assistance to the Philippines until violence stops and accountability measures against perpetrators are implemented.
During the U.S.-Russia meeting last Wednesday, Presidents Biden and Putin agreed to be more communicative about their nuclear stockpiles in “a positive first step” for bilateral relations. The two leaders also discussed Ukraine, cybersecurity, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and more.
The House of Representatives voted 268-161 to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) as Americans continue to tire of the country’s involvement in the so-called endless wars. Forty-nine Republicans and 219 Democrats voted in favor of the repeal.
Hadar Susskind argues U.S. government to condition its annual 3.8 billion dollars of military aid to Israel saying that it has become abundantly clear, underscored by recent events in Gaza, that the current relationship neither serves U.S. nor Israeli policy interests.
Based on data from a recent investigative report published by The Associated Press, between 2010-2019, the U.S. military has lost over 2,000 weapons, many of which may have been “deliberately taken” from military arsenals. While the requirement for the Pentagon to share annual data about stolen or lost weapons with Congress has “lapsed,” members of Congress, such as Senator Richard Blumenthal, want to reinstate it.
In their newly released SIPRI Yearbook 2021, SIPRI researchers found that “global nuclear arsenals grow as states continue to modernize,” although the “volume of international arms transfers remained roughly stable” last year even while military spending increased.
Data Fact of the Week:
Categories of Arms Authorized for Export to the Philippines in 2019
The graphic above illustrates the types of weapons and arms authorized for export to the Philippines in 2019, including over $56 million in small arms and ammunition.
A new opinion piece by CIP’s William Hartung argues that the U.S. should reconsider its security partnership with the Philippines and the Duterte government.