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Obama opens door to combat operations against ISIS

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U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama sent Congress a draft legislation authorising the use of military force against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, earlier known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

In a letter to Congress, Obama warned that if the extremist group was left unchecked, it would “pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland”, Xinhua news agency reported.

The proposed legislation “would not authorise long-term, large-scale ground combat operations” like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama said, adding that local forces should be deployed to conduct such operations.

The legislation would “provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances”, such as rescuing US or coalition personnel or taking military action against IS leaders, Obama said.

The legislation would also authorise the use of US forces for missions involving intelligence gathering, enabling airstrikes or providing advice and assistance to coalition forces.

Obama appealed to lawmakers to enact the legislation, saying that it “would show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat posed by ISIL”.

The president will deliver a statement on the legislation at the White House Wednesday afternoon.

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