Will any of Obama’s ISIS proposals succeed?

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Big Talk But No Votes From GOP on ISIS Fight.

Eager to put their own stamp on the fight against terrorism, Senate Democrats have scrambled and put together their own package of proposals to fight the forces of the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS.

Among the proposals that will be incorporated into a comprehensive bill was the creation of an “ISIS czar,” or one point person in the federal government to coordinate the response to the terrorist group.President Obama’s Sunday night address from the Oval Office has done little to quell calls from Republicans that he needs to do more to defeat ISIS—and has done even less to calm unease among Americans fearing terrorism at home.A majority of Americans support sending ground troops to fight Isil as public confidence in President Barack Obama’s ability to tackle terrorism reached a record low.

It’s been sixteen months since the U.S. began fighting ISIS with air strikes, citing an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The shift towards support for boots on the ground came as a new photograph emerged of Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik entering the United States. The couple, who killed 14 people in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California last week, were pictured going through customs at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on July 27, 2014.

It is unlikely that any of these proposals will be given consideration before the end of the year — if ever — by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader. According to a Reid aide, the bill includes 12 main components aimed at foreign and domestic policies. “Senate Democrats support President Obama’s plan to fight ISIS and protect America,” Reid said on the Senate floor. It also emerged that Malik had previously studied at a high-profile madrassa in Multan, Pakistan which has been criticised for promoting a conservative strain of Islam. The Senate, which is working this week to put together a spending measure to keep the government open, will most likely not even get to a House-passed measure, which enjoys some bipartisan support, to curb the Obama administration’s refugee program for Syrians. David Bowdich, the FBI’s assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles field office, said on Monday night the couple was radicalised for “quite some time” before the December 2 shooting. “But I will say this – as the investigation has progressed, we have learned and believe that both subjects were radicalised and have been for quite some time,” he said. (We don’t need this) He gave a detailed defence of his strategy to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and warned against being “drawn into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria”.

That’s because lawmakers have little to gain but plenty to lose by voting on whether to authorize military force that is, oh by the way, already underway and progressing with or without their say-so. “There’s no agreement on the fundamentals,” said Phil Carter, the director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program for the nonprofit, nonpartisan national security think tank, the Center for a New American Security. On the home front, the Democrats’ proposal includes reforming the visa waiver program; prohibiting those listed on the suspected terrorist “no-fly” list from buying guns; tougher vetting of airport workers; securing locations that host radiological material that could be used for a “dirty bomb”; creating a new Department of Homeland Security office focused solely on “homegrown extremism”; studying encryption technology; and providing grants to state and local law enforcement for active shooter response training. But a new CNN/ORC poll showed 53 per cent of Americans are now in favour of sending in ground troops, a figure that has risen from 38 per cent in September.

That’s why—unlike the 2003 invasion of Iraq—the U.S. is pursuing a “light footprint” strategy designed to grind down the territory occupied by ISIS and choke off the oil flow and other revenue sources it has been using to carry out, and inspire, jihad among its members and sympathizers. On the Democratic side, it’s just not popular to reengage in military action. “The Democratic base is unlikely to support a return to the Bush-era wars in the Middle East,” Binder said in an email.

It showed 81 per cent believed Isil terrorists were already in America with the ability to launch a major attack, and 61 per cent were against allowing Syrian refugees to seek asylum. That’s why the Pentagon has stressed its campaign is one of persistence—or “strategic patience,” in Pentagon parlance—designed to crush ISIS slowly without triggering a bigger war. That’s a far broader AUMF than the president requested in February, when he asked for a three-year authorization of force, but vowed “no enduring offensive combat troops.” There’s a third, more cautious AUMF on the table as well, introduced by Sens.

ISIS’s Yemen affiliate claimed responsibility for a bomb blast Sunday that killed the governor of Aden, grabbing, at least temporarily, the Yemen terror crown from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeff Fluke (R-Ariz.) authorizing military force but prohibiting ground troops in most instances and ending some previous authorizations. Mr Rubio said: “People are scared not just because of these attacks but because of a growing sense that we have a president that is completely overwhelmed by them.” Ted Cruz, the hard line Texas senator who has been surging in Republican polls, said: “If I am elected president I will direct the department of defence to destroy Isil and I will shut down the broken immigration system that is letting jihadists into our country. Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Isil had become “the most effective recruiter in the world” and called on US technology companies to block their websites and encrypted communications. In other words, even as Congress seems to be okay with Obama’s actual use of force, coming up with a specific use of force resolution that assuages concerns of and satisfies both sides would be a difficult trick.

In a statement, ISIS declared more such attacks against “the heads of apostasy in Yemen.” Such increasingly widespread and disparate attacks heighten the sense of vulnerability felt by many. But they can set up a legal authorization that would allow him, or his successor, to use the kind of force, or set the kind of limits, they’d like to see in the fight. She said: “You are going to hear all the familiar complaints, ‘freedom of speech’ (but) we need to put the great disrupters at work at disrupting Isil.” Ray Peters, manager of Range, Guns & Safes in Atlanta, said: “Everyone is reporting up, every store, every salesman, every distributor.

For Republicans, what good is it giving Obama wide latitude to fight terrorism when their presidential candidates are on the campaign trail every day criticizing the president’s effectiveness? That’s why, sooner or later, the U.S. is going to have to attack the ISIS redoubt of Raqqa, the Syrian city that serves as the capital of ISIS’s self-declared caliphate, and kill ISIS kingpin Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But ghosts of past blank checks — the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War or even the most recent Iraq War — would warn that might be a bad idea, Carter said.

Last month, Rubio told an Iowa radio host that he’d support an AUMF if it were broad enough, but that he thinks Obama already has all the authority he needs. “I would support an AUMF—of course it has to be properly structured. Obama and his cabinet officials have argued they already have the authority to conduct air strikes and send in special forces in non-combat roles based on a 2001 AUMF enacted in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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