Strike Two

Another domino falls:

The Philippines said on Monday it would withdraw its troops from Iraq as soon as possible to save a Filipino hostage threatened with death by militants.

CNN quoted unidentified Philippine officials as saying they expected truck driver Angelo de la Cruz to be released on Tuesday, but no independent confirmation was available.

Al Jazeera broadcast footage of Philippine deputy foreign minister Rafael Seguis reading out a statement, which the television station translated into Arabic, shortly after the expiry of a new execution deadline set by the militants.

“In response to your request, the Philippines … will withdraw its humanitarian forces as soon as possible,” Seguis said according to the translation of the statement, addressed to the Islamic Army in Iraq group holding 46-year-old de la Cruz.

If countries keep quitting under pressure, soon the Anglosphere will come into existence by default.

And speaking of pressure, what kind of country allows its foreign policy to be dictated by the capture of a single hostage?


Philippine officials held an emergency meeting on Tuesday on saving a hostage in Iraq amid confusion after a senior official visiting the Middle East said troops there would leave but the military said no such orders had been received.

Militants in Iraq are holding Philippine truck driver Angelo de la Cruz and are threatening to kill him unless the Philippines, an ally in the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, withdraws its troops.

The meeting at the foreign affairs department comes after Qatar-based Al Jazeera television station showed Philippine deputy foreign minister Rafael Seguis offering to withdraw Philippine forces “as soon as possible.”

Seguis gave no date for a withdrawal and most senior officials in Manila declined to comment.

“We have not received any order to withdraw,” army spokesman Daniel Lucero told Reuters in Manila, adding the army was waiting for an order from the president.