B. Obama

US President Barack Obama has urged Congress to approve the use of military force against the Islamic State (IS), which currently controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

In his State of the Union address in Washington,US, Obama said the country is leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, with the aim to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group.

Obama said: "Tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorise the use of force against ISIL (IS).

"This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed."

A US-led coalition has conducted air strikes against IS since September 2014.

In addition, the Pentagon has sent thousands of military personnel to advise and train the Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and also plans to train Syrian opposition forces later this year.

Obama also pledged to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks.

"This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed."

"We reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we have done relentlessly since I took office, to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies," Obama added.

However, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said in a joint statement: "Despite the president’s claims of progress in the campaign against ISIL, this terrorist army continues to gain thousands of recruits and now controls significantly more territory in Syria than when US air strikes began there six months ago."

Obama also called on Congress to pass legislation to increase cooperation between government and the private sector to meet the evolving threat of cyber attacks and identity theft.

Image: US President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to the Congress in Washington, US. Photo: courtesy of the US Department of Defense.