The forever war has now apparently expanded to the Congo:
US special operations forces have arrived in the east of the DR Congo to help in the fight against a feared jihadist militia enjoying “sanctuary” in the region’s nature parks, US and Congolese sources said Wednesday.
The fight is against an insurgent group called the Allied Democratic Forces. One of the group’s factions has supposedly aligned itself with the Islamic State, and it is on this extremely shaky basis that the US is sending troops to help fight them. Originally an Ugandan insurgent group committed to overthrowing the government in Kampala, it has carried out a number of deadly attacks in the DRC in the last decade. The group was added to the State Department’s foreign terrorist organization (FTO) list in March of this year under the designation of ISIS-DRC. As Jared Thompson noted in an analysis piece last month, “[State] did not provide extensive detail on the nature of the relationship between the ADF and the Islamic State.” There is no question that it is a brutal group that has killed many civilians, like many other armed groups that have operated in eastern Congo over the last twenty-plus years, but why are any US forces involved in fighting them?
There is no pretense that this has anything to do with US security. US troops are being sent on a mission that Congress never approved to fight in a country against a group that cannot possibly threaten the United States as a favor to a government that we are not obliged to defend. The nature of the connection between this group and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is unclear. Thompson writes:
A June 2021 report from the UN Group of Experts on the DRC, meanwhile, could not substantiate “direct support or command and control of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” with respect to the ADF.
Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.