Professor Rolando Talampas of the Asian Center, University of the Philippines delivered his lecture on “ISIS and the CRISIS: Some Views on Middle Eastern Developments and the Overseas Filipinos” at the Foreign Service Institute on 11 September 2014 as part of the Mabini Dialogue Series.
Prof. Talampas discussed the fluid and volatilenature of the Middle East crisis, whichhas emboldenedradical Wahhabi-inspired Islamist groups. The tech-savvy Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – or the Islamic State – emerged as the most brutal and violent force operating in the Levant. It gained global notoriety for capturing Iraqi cities and oil fields, killing thousands of Iraqis, and beheading captured Western journalists. Many of its fighters are radicalized youths from Western countries.
Prof. Talampas alsohighlighted the significance of the United States, European countries, as well as Middle East and North African countries in dealing with the Islamic State.He discussed the cultural politics and the dynamics of relations among various regional actors post-Arab Spring. He expressed skepticism on these political upheavals across the region since Islamists and secularists have diametrically opposed visions and goals.
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Middle East conflict zones are inevitably affected by these unfolding developments.Thus, Prof. Talampasstressed the need foran updated database on Overseas Filipino Workers so as to easily reach them given the volatility of the situation in the region.