Philippine president blames US for Middle East violence

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has blamed conflicts in Middle Eastern countries on foreign intervention, insisting that the United States “imported terrorism”.

He told Muslim Filipinos attending an Eid al-Fitr celebration Friday in southern Davao City, where he served as mayor for 22 years, “it is not that the Middle East is exporting terrorism in America. America imported terrorism.”

GMA News quoted him as saying that while Iraq’s late leader Saddam Hussein had been a dictator, he had nonetheless maintained control in the country.

“They [U.S.-led coalition] forced their way into Iraq and killed Saddam. Look at Iraq now. Look what happened to Libya. Look what happened to Syria,” he said.

Duterte, the Philippines’ first president from southern Mindanao island, described the Iraqi population as having been “pushed to the wall for the failed promises”.

Duterte compared conflicts in the Middle East to violence in Mindanao — home to several armed Muslim rebel groups — where he said colonialism had forced the indigenous people to convert to Christianity.


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