The U.S. might soon launch air strikes against ISIS in the Philippines — while Congress is on vacation

Rare | 8/8/2017 | Daniel R. DePetris
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There may come a time in the very near future when Americans turn on the television and hear the news that the U.S. has opened up another front in the war against the Islamic State. According to an NBC News report published yesterday, the Pentagon is nearing a decision on declaring a named operation against the ISIS affiliate in the Philippines — a formal step that the U.S. military often takes to ensure a combat operation receives adequate resources, personnel and aircraft (manned and unmanned).

Unfortunately, the declaration of an active front in Southeast Asia will also be one more instance of a U.S. President expanding America’s involvement in the War on Terrorism without a peep from the country’s elected representatives in Congress. The fact that both the House and the Senate are currently on a long summer break, with their members sipping lemonade in their districts and enjoying strolls in the park, makes the timing of the Pentagon’s upcoming decision just a tad ominous.

Gunmen - Security - Forces - Phenomenon - Country

Islamist gunmen terrorizing the Philippine security forces is not a new phenomenon; the predominantly Catholic country with a sizable Muslim minority in the south is poverty stricken and increasingly authoritarian. Critics charge that law and order under the stewardship of the Rudrigo Duterte government are essentially decided by vigilante justice; anybody suspected of being a terrorist sympathizer or part of the narcotics trade is shot dead in the street rather than hauled in by police, charged and prosecuted. The southern island of Mindanao, a generally poor area that often conflicts with the rest of the country, has been a prime recruiting ground more localized Islamist groups and, sure enough, is now a theater of opportunity for ISIS — an organization that thrives on enlisting hopeless individuals seeking a cause greater than themselves.

This is where ISIS has chosen...
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