Washington, Feb 11: President Barack Obama today sought a three-year authorisation of forces against the Islamic State group, saying if it is left "unchecked" it will pose a threat beyond Middle East, including the US homeland.
The White House, however, ruled out any long term, large scale commitment against ISIL and reiterated its focus on training and increasing the capabilities of the local forces. In a letter to lawmakers, Obama said granting him war authority "would show the world we are united in our resolve" to defeat jihadist militants who now control swaths of Syria and Iraq.
IS "poses a threat to the people and stability of Iraq, Syria, and the broader Middle East, and to US national security," Obama said in the letter. "If left unchecked," he added, IS "will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland."
After Obama sent a draft legislation to the Congress this morning, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the resolution to authorise the use of military force against ISIL is important for the United States to achieve its passage.
"We are strongest as a nation when the Administration and Congress work together on issues as significant as the use of military force. The world needs to hear that the United States speaks with one voice in the fight against ISIL," Kerry said.
"The President's draft language reflects important input from Congress, and would give our personnel the support and flexibility needed in our military operations against ISIL," the Defence Secretary, Chuck hagel, said.
"The Department of Defence will continue to work with members of Congress to secure this resolution. Given the nature of our adversary and the complexity of our ongoing campaign, I urge Congress to avoid any undue restraints on the commander-in-chief's choices in the effort to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL," he said. Hagel said ISIL represents a serious threat to the interests of the United States and its allies. "The depths of ISIL's barbarism are matched only by the scale of its ambition," he said.