ISIS / ISIL CRISIS - OBAMA Asks CONGRESS to APPROVE $500 Million to ARM SYRIA REBELS

The White House on Thursday asked Congress for half-a-billion dollars in aid to go towards opposition fighters in Syria at war with the regime of recently re-elected President Bashar Al-Assad.





Obama administration seeking $500m to train 'moderate' Syrian rebels

Request to Congress comes as US searches for effective alternatives to Isis, which has overrun parts of northern Iraq

The US-trained Iraqi military was routed in Nineveh Province by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) in recent weeks. Photograph: AP

The Obama administration has proposed escalating US involvement in the Syrian civil war, asking Congress for $500m for the US military to train and equip "moderate" Syrian rebels.

The request to Congress on Thursday, heralded by Barack Obama's vow, made during a speech at West Point military academy, to step up assistance to a beleaguered Syrian force, comes as the administration searches for effective alternatives to the jihadist army that has carved out massive swaths of Syria and Iraq for an Islamic state.

Previously, US aid to the Syrian opposition that is fighting dictator Bashar al-Assad focused on non-lethal provisioning, while the Central Intelligence Agency focused on sending small arms and missiles to what the US calls the "vetted" Syrian moderates. Yet the Gulf Arab states have established an arms pipeline giving a substantive military edge to jihadist groups fighting Assad and one another.

Caitlin Hayden, the National Security Council spokeswoman, said in a statement that the requested aid would "help defend the Syrian people, stabilize areas under opposition control, facilitate the provision of essential services, counter terrorist threats, and promote conditions for a negotiated settlement."

US military training for the Syrians, three-and-a-half years into a conflict that has killed more than 150,000 people and recast the boundaries of the Middle East, is likely to take place in Jordan, where the US military already trains its Iraqi counterparts. It is also in line with Obama's desired template for counterterrorism, as unveiled at West Point, in which the US trains foreign security forces to assault terrorists themselves.


Syria Reportedly Sends Warplanes Across Iraq Border to Bomb ISIS
Claims come as Iraqi forces continue fighting radical Sunni militants from ISIS

Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns this week is further evidence of the blurring between the two countries' borders as they face an offensive by Islamic extremists.

At least 57 Iraqi civilians were killed and more than 120 others were wounded by what local officials say were Syrian warplanes that struck several border areas of Anbar province Tuesday. These border cities are among those under the control of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which seeks to create an Islamic caliphate that encompasses portions of Iraq in Syria. Reports of the Syrian incursion into Iraq is a reminder that the civil war in Syria and the unrest in Iraq are not isolated, but linked in ways that threaten the security of both. obama washington u.s.
ISIS and al-Nusra Merge On Syria-Iraq Border
Saudi funded and US-trained caliphate army gains 15,000 jihadist fighters

"We went into Libya and we got rid of that terrible Qaddafi, now it's a jihadist wonderland over there," Paul said. "There's jihadists everywhere. If we were to get rid of Assad it would be a jihadist wonderland in Syria. It's now a jihadist wonderland in Iraq, precisely because we got over-involved."

Paul said ISIS does not pose a threat to the United States. Other Republicans, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, insist the terror group is a threat to U.S. national security. Rubio said he believes ISIS poses an "extremely serious" threat and is more dangerous to the security of Americans than al-Qaeda.

"You have to ask yourself, are you willing to send your son, am I willing to send my son to retake back a city, Mosul, that they weren't willing to defend themselves?" Paul said. "I'm not willing to send my son into that mess."

Former Vice President Dick Cheney believes Paul is an isolationist.
"He doesn't believe we ought to be involved in that part of the world. I think it's absolutely essential. One of the things I worried about 12 years ago — and that I worry about today — is that there will be another 9/11 attack and that the next time it'll be with weapons far deadlier than airline tickets and box cutters."

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