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Obama asks U.S. Congress for war powers

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Published on February 13, 2015 with No Comments

Obama is proposing an authorization for military force against ISIS that would:

  • Target ISIS and associated persons or forces, defined as those fighting with ISIS “in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”
  • Provide no geographic limits on the battle.
  • Limit ground troops by banning “enduring offensive ground combat operations.”
  • Expire after three years unless renewed by Congress.
  • Repeal a 2002 authorization for force in Iraq but maintain a 2001 authorization against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Obama says his goal is to refine and ultimately repeal that authorization as well.

Obama also wants to repeal the 2002 measure that authorized the Iraq war. But his proposal leaves in place a 2001 authorization, passed shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, for a campaign against al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

Obama said he remained committed to working with Congress to “refine, and ultimately repeal” the 2001 AUMF. He said enacting a measure specific to the campaign against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters could serve as a model for revamping the 2001 measure.

“I have directed a comprehensive and sustained strategy to degrade and defeat ISIL,” Obama wrote in a letter accompanying the draft, using an acronym for the Islamist militant group.”Local forces, rather than U.S. military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations,” he said.

Obama spoke about his request saying the resolution he’s proposed provides flexibility for unforeseen circumstances. Though the resolution calls for a ban on “enduring offensive ground-combat operations” Obama cited an example in which special forces teams could be deployed on the ground.  “For example, if we had actionable intelligence about a gathering of ISIL leaders, and our partners didn’t have the capacity to get them, I would be prepared to order our special forces to take action, because I will not allow these terrorists to have a safe haven,” Obama said.

His proposal must be approved by both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, where it is expected to provoke strong debate between Democrats, who are generally wary of another Middle East war, and Republicans, many of whom have been pushing for stronger measures against the militant fighters.

 

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