The Philippines: local politics in the Sulu Archipelago and the peace process


Politics in the Sulu archipelago could be an unforeseen stumbling block for a negotiated peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the southern Philippines.

This report examines how clan politics in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi off the coast of Mindanao could complicate the government’s efforts to sign a peace agreement with the largest Muslim insurgent group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Clan-based politicians of the archipelago, while Muslim, are worried that a settlement will give power to the ethnically distinct MILF. This exposes an important weakness in the government’s peace strategy, which aims to give something to everyone and risks satisfying no one.


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