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Thornberry: Strategy Needed Before AUMF

Thornberry: Strategy Needed Before AUMF

WASHINGTON — A senior US House Republican says the White House must explain its Islamic State conflict strategy before lawmakers can consider a measure to authorize it.

The White House earlier this month sent Congress a draft authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) for the ongoing Islamic State conflict. Among other things, it restricts what US military ground forces can do and limits the legal basis for the ongoing conflict to three years.

The House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday will hear from Pentagon policy chief Christine Wormuth and US Central Command chief Gen. Lloyd Austin about the draft AUMF. But before they discuss that measure, HASC Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, echoing a slew of Republican senators, wants specifics on the Obama administration strategy for defeating the violent Sunni group.

“Over the past year, the developments in CentCom have been troubling. The rise of [Islamic State], questions about the future security situation in Afghanistan, the government of Yemen’s fall to Iranian backed rebels, and the prospect of a deal ratifying Iran as a threshold nuclear power all have created serious stress on our strategic position and on our alliances,” Thornberry said in a version of his hearing opening statement released Monday evening.

“Any notion that the US could pivot away from the Mid East toward other regions has proven to be naïve at best,” he said. “Part of the challenge here is the absence of a comprehensive strategy across the Middle East. The limited approach that the president has taken has left instability and weak, or failed, states from Libya to Yemen.”

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