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

Russian foreign minister says US ready to continue talks

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday he believed his US colleagues were ready to continue dialogue with Moscow on complex iss... More

BJP keen to amend law on permanent residence in held Kashmir

NEW DELHI: Away from the attention that Article 370 attracts, some members and supporters of the Bha­ratiya Janata Party (BJP) are steadily pushin... More

North Korea defiant after new sanctions, rejects talks

SEOUL (AFP):North Korea on Monday angrily insisted tough new United Nations sanctions would not stop it from developing its nuclear arsenal, and warne... More

Does Trump worry you? US Muslims say yes : Survey

Survey finds Muslims feel out of place in society, displeased with their president, and are targets of discrimination. The early days of Donald Tru... More

DEATH TO ISIS:Thousands flood streets in furious protest to condemn terror group

Thousands of protesters chanted slogans against the militant Islamic State group Wednesday as they carried the coffins of victims of an attack targeti... More

China says restrained in face of India

BEIJING: China accused India on Wednesday of “concocting” excuses over the illegal entry of the South Asian nation’s military into C... More

COAS, Afghan envoy discuss border issues

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa met Afghanistan’s ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal on Wednesday for continuing discussions on normalisation of... More

Apple removes VPN services from Chinese app store

BEIJING: Apple has removed software allowing internet users to skirt China’s “Great Firewall” from its app store in the country, the... More

IS claims attack on Iraq embassy in Kabul

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Iraqi embassy in Kabul on Monday and militants breached the compound in a complex hours-long attack claim... More

Saudi-led bloc opens emergency routes to Qatari planes

DUBAI: Four Arab states that have cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar said on Monday that they have opened up air routes that Qatari planes c... More