Date
23 August 2017
US President Barack Obama is flanked by Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Secretary of State John Kerry as he calls on Congress to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters
US President Barack Obama is flanked by Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Secretary of State John Kerry as he calls on Congress to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

Obama seeks Congress authorization for war on Islamic State

US President Barack Obama has asked Congress to authorize military force against Islamic State.

But Republicans, who control Congress, want stronger measures against the militants than outlined in the plan, which bars any large-scale invasion by US ground troops and covers the next three years, Reuters reported.

The plan is also being opposed by many of his fellow Democrats who are wary of another war in the Middle East. They say it is too broad because it includes no blanket ban on ground troops.

Obama acknowledged that the military campaign is difficult and will remain so.

“But our coalition is on the offensive. ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose,” he said in a televised statement from the White House.

Obama consulted with Republicans and Democrats in writing the resolution, and said he would continue to do so.

He said the time frame was intended to let Congress revisit the issue when the next president takes office in 2017.

The proposal says Islamic State “has committed despicable acts of violence and mass execution”. Its militants have killed thousands of civilians while seizing territory in Iraq and Syria in an attempt to establish a hub of jihadism in the heart of the Arab world.

They have also generated international outrage by beheading western aid workers and journalists and burning to death a Jordanian pilot.

Obama sent his request to Congress a day after his administration confirmed the death of Kayla Mueller, a 26-year-old aid worker who was the last known American hostage held by the group.

The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, told reporters he was sure the plan would change as it moved though Congress.

“I’m not sure the strategy that has been outlined will accomplish the mission the president says he wants to accomplish,” he added.

Obama has defended his authority to lead an international coalition against Islamic State since Aug. 8 when US fighter jets began attacks in Iraq.

The formal request eased criticism of Obama’s failure to seek the backing of Congress, where some accused him of breaching his constitutional authority.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CG

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe