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The Philippine Conflict in Muslim Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago Discussed from the Perspective of Secessionist Theories


  • E. Dorothea Biehl


This essay examines the question of why it is reasonable for the Philippine government to deny the separation of the Philippine Muslims in Mindanao. Following initial explanations of some main ideas in the context of secession, the second section considers the underlying question from two perspectives. First, the Philippine conflict in Muslim Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago is discussed according to a socio-scientific perspective on ethnic conflicts. Subsequently, the conflict is analysed from the perspective of secessionist theories in which separation is considered to be a sustainable solution. Furthermore, the essay critically examines the potential impact of the traditional Philippine clan structures on the conflict. The question is relevant not only because the conflict has devastating consequences for the population but also because of international developments concerning secessionist conflicts. To avoid the often dangerous separation of a state, it is recommended, on the basis of the analysis, that there be openness to new possible solutions concerning secessionist conflicts.

Suggested Citation

  • E. Dorothea Biehl, 2008. "The Philippine Conflict in Muslim Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago Discussed from the Perspective of Secessionist Theories," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 27(4), pages 3-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:27:y:2008:i:4:p:3-29

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