US Congress backs plan to arm Syrian rebels

2014-09-18 22:43:37 | Al Muslim News
US Congress backs plan to arm Syrian rebels


The US Congress has passed President Barack Obama's plan to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State (ISIL) fighters. The Senate on Thursday voted 78 to 22 to authorise the first step in Obama's move to degrade and destroy the ISIL group which has conquered swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. The vote came a day after the House of Representatives approved the legislation.Obama thanked Congress for its "speed and seriousness" in endorsing his plan. "I'm pleased that Congress - a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans - in both the House and the Senate, have voted to support a key element of our strategy," he said at the White House. The measure has been attached to a must-pass, stop-gap spending bill that funds government only until December 11, meaning lawmakers will need to revisit the issue of US military authority in less than three months. Worries over military involvement Lawmakers wary of triggering another Middle East war vowed to hold broad use-of-force debates later this year following the November 4 mid-term congressional elections. "It's important that we give the moderates in the region a fighting chance," Senate Richard Shelby, a Republican, told the chamber. But he also reflected the broad recognition that US air strikes - already under way in Iraq - and aiding Syrian rebels are merely first steps in what could be protracted US military action. "There will come a time when more will be required to defeat this enemy. It will not be a short duration," Shelby said. Just as House lawmakers said prior to their Wednesday vote to authorise the rebel training, some senators complained that Congress was ducking out of Washington this week without conducting a full debate on war authority. "The Senate needs a real debate about our involvement in Iraq and Syria," Democrat Senator Jon Tester said. "Are we putting another war in the Middle East on a credit card?" Obama has pressed Congress to provide him political cover to initiate military action in Syria against ISIL, although the White House and many lawmakers believe he has the constitutional authority to launch air strikes in Syria, as he has done in Iraq, to protect US national security interests. The Obama administration has insisted its military action is legal under the authorisation of the use of military force (AUMF) that Congress passed in 2001 after the September 11 attacks..

Tags: #

Latest News

What to Next

South Korea Moon seeks to normalize ties with China in first state visit

South Korean President Moon Jae-In hopes to “normalise” ties with giant neighbour China on his first state visit to the country this week,... More

Netanyahu says recognizing Jerusalem as Israel capital makes peace possible

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that recognising Jerusalem as his country's capital "makes peace possible", aft... More

Terror bomber strikes New York subway three hurt

A man detonated a pipe bomb strapped to his body in a crowded New York subway passageway during the morning rush hour on Monday, injuring three people... More

2018 may bring on nastier hack attacks says McAfee report

After a year marked by devastating cyber attacks and breaches, online attackers are expected to become even more destructive in 2018, security researc... More

Syrian govt agrees to join peace talks with conditions

GENEVA: Talks aimed at ending the war in Syria restarted on Tuesday with the government enforcing its will, warning the United Nations it would not to... More

Bali Volcano Ash Drifts 4.7 Miles High Airport Shut 3rd Day

 KARANGASEM, Indonesia (AP) An erupting volcano with a deadly history on Indonesia's Bali, one of the world's most popular resort islands... More

U.S. general sees no change in Pakistan behaviour despite Trump tough line

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. general in Afghanistan said on Tuesday that he had not seen a change in Pakistan’s support for militan... More

Trump Democrats spar as US government shutdown looms

US President Donald Trump clashed with Democratic leaders in dramatic fashion on Tuesday, heaping pressure on Congress to craft a compromise on federa... More

Pope in Myanmar preaches forgiveness to a nation accused of ethnic cleansing

Pope Francis spread a message of forgiveness in a historic open-air mass before a sea of worshippers in Yangon on Wednesday, during a visit to conflic... More

Indonesia Niqab Squad takes aim at face veil prejudice

Riding a horse or nailing an archery target is tough at the best of times it's even harder when you're wearing a niqab. But that isn't ... More