House Approves Obama's Request to Arm Rebels

House approves President Obama's request to arm and train Syrian rebels in the fight against the “Islamic State” group.

Ben Ariel,

US Capitol Building
US Capitol Building
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The House on Wednesday approved President Barack Obama's request to arm and train Syrian rebels in the fight against the “Islamic State” (IS) group, CNN reports.

With significant opposition to the proposal in both parties, the vote was 273-156, according to the report.

Many Republicans argue the strategy isn't tough enough to defeat IS; many Democrats worry the plan could drag the United States into another long military engagement.

The proposal would authorize the Pentagon to provide assistance to "appropriately vetted" members of the Syrian opposition and require the administration to give Congress a detailed plan for helping the rebels before that assistance could begin.

The Senate could vote as early as Thursday, noted CNN.

Congress is expected to debate a broader war authorization after the midterm elections.

The measure states the new authority does not include approval for "the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities..."

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, didn't rule out using ground forces on Tuesday, fueling fears among congressional Democrats who are worried about another long U.S. military engagement in the Mideast.

Dempsey's remarks sent a mixed message, and on Wednesday, Obama repeated his pledge that he would not commit combat troops in the region.

Obama’s pledge came after White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Dempsey was referring to a “hypothetical scenario”.

“I think, as was clear from General Dempsey’s remarks, that he was referring to a hypothetical scenario in which there might be a future situation in which he might make a tactical recommendation to the President as it relates to the use of ground troops,” he said.




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