The US House Armed Services Committee is crafting a measure that would grant President Obama the authority to train and arm Syrian forces to take on the Islamic State, while ensuring Congress is kept in the loop.
Obama last week requested that House GOP leaders include in a two-and-a-half-month government spending bill a provision granting him authority to train and equip Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia to fight the violent Sunni group inside Syria. But when members of both parties questioned the language, House leaders put off a vote on the continuing resolution (CR).
The delay left the House Armed Services Committee charged with revising the language sent over by the White House.
“We’ve done a lot of these kinds of authorizations,” a senior House aide said Monday. “We needed to get the authorization language into a shape where, if it is passed, commanders could actually execute it.”
The committee also has slapped on a number of requirements that would force the White House to provide Congress with information about the train-and-equip operation, which would be conducted in Saudi Arabia.
Fifteen days before the program would formally begin, the administration would have to deliver lawmakers “a detailed plan” spelling out how it vetted Syrian opposition forces, the program’s recruitment rate, how the initiative fits into Obama’s broader plan for fighting the Islamic State (IS), and how it intends to “mitigate” green-on-blue attacks — meaning Syrian forces attacking American trainers, the senior aide said.
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