Obama requests Congress to authorise use of force against Islamic State
US President Barack Obama has submitted a draft resolution to Congress for authorisation of the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State (IS), which holds large territory in Iraq and Syria.
If approved, the resolution will grant the Obama administration the authority to fulfil the objective of destroying the terror group over the next three years.
Obama said: "The resolution we've submitted today does not call for the deployment of US ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria.
"It is not the authorisation of another ground war like Afghanistan or Iraq.
"I'm convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East."
The AUMF will primarily provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations and in more limited circumstances, rescue operations involving US or coalition soldiers or the use of special operations forces to take military action against IS leadership.
In addition, Obama is urging Congress to allow US soldiers to undertake intelligence collection and sharing missions to enable kinetic strikes, or provide operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces.
Supported by allied forces, the US military have already launched more than 2,000 airstrikes against the IS in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, operating under authorisations passed after the 9/11 attacks.
Launched in conjunction with Iraqi ground forces, the airstrikes have helped the Iraqi and Kurdish Pehsmerga fighters push out IS militants from the northern Syrian city of Kobani, and also disrupted IS command and control on supply lines, restricting their ability to move.
Obama said: "We're destroying their fighting positions, their tanks, their vehicles, their barracks, their training camps and the oil and gas facilities and infrastructure that fund their operations.
"We're taking out their commanders, their fighters and their leaders.
"Our coalition is on the offensive, ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose."
Apart from aerial campaign, the Pentagon has also deployed 2,600 troops to Iraq to advise and train Iraqi and Kurdish forces to defeat the terror group, which has established a Caliphate and also killed scores of civilians, including foreign journalists and a Jordanian pilot in recent months.
Image: Two US F/A-18F Super Hornets launch from the flight deck of USS Carl Vinson to launch airstrikes against Islamic State. Photo: courtesy of Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Fenaroli.