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Member since: Thu Jan 12, 2012, 03:24 PM
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U.S. officials: Arab states have offered to fly airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq

PARIS — Several Arab states have offered to fly airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq alongside the efforts of the United States, U.S. officials said Sunday.

“A lot of them” offered to do airstrikes, a senior State Department official said in Paris.

The military side of the widening campaign against the Islamic State is being coordinated by the U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM. U.S. officials would not identify which nations made offers of active battlefield participation, or “kinetic action,” in military parlance.

“A lot of this is still in the discussion phase, but I want to be clear that there have been offers, both to CENTCOM and to the Iraqis, of Arab countries taking more aggressive kinetic action against ISIL,” including airstrikes, the official said, using an alternative acronym for the militant network.


U.S. Scientists See Long Fight Against Ebola (12-18 mos., Hundreds of Thousands infected)

The deadly Ebola outbreak sweeping across three countries in West Africa is likely to last 12 to 18 months more, much longer than anticipated, and could infect hundreds of thousands of people before it is brought under control, say scientists mapping its spread for the federal government.

“We hope we’re wrong,” said Bryan Lewis, an epidemiologist at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech.

Both the time the model says it will take to control the epidemic and the number of cases it forecasts far exceed estimates by the World Health Organization, which said last month that it hoped to control the outbreak within nine months and predicted 20,000 total cases by that time. The organization is sticking by its estimates, a W.H.O. spokesman said Friday.

But researchers at various universities say that at the virus’s present rate of growth, there could easily be close to 20,000 cases in one month, not in nine. Some of the United States’ leading epidemiologists, with long experience in tracking diseases such as influenza, have been creating computer models of the Ebola epidemic at the request of the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Department.


White House: Yes, this is a war against ISIS (More than 1,600 troops on ground in Iraq)

A day after Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned against "war fever," administration officials on Friday said the U.S. is indeed waging a war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, otherwise known as ISIL).

However, the administration is still trying to draw a distinction between this new "war" and the previous war the U.S. waged in Iraq, which included putting American troops on the ground in Iraq for combat operations.

"The United States is at war with ISIL in the same way that we are at war with al Qaeda and its al Qaeda affiliates all around the globe," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday.

"The president has been clear that American ground combat troops would not be deployed into Iraq and Syria," Earnest said. "The president has indicated how serious he is about building a true international coalition where you will have governments in the region and our allies around the world contributing to this broader effort to deny ISIL a safe haven in Iraq and Syria."


With 158 airstrikes carried out on ISIS targets and more than 1,600 troops deployed to Iraq in various capacities, Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC News Thursday that the nation was not in fact at war with the militant group, which has seized vast territory in Syria and Iraq. “No. Look, we’re engaged in a counterterrorism operation of a significant order,” Kerry said. “And counterterrorism operations can take a long time, they go on. I think ‘war’ is the wrong reference term with respect to that, but obviously it involves kinetic military action.” National Security Advisor Susan Rice weighed in Thursday to CNN that “I think, frankly, this is a counterterrorism operation that will take time.”

But by Friday afternoon, the White House and the Pentagon were reversing course. “Make no mistake, we know we are at war with , in the same way we are at war, and continue to be at war, with al-Qaeda and its affiliates,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said, referencing a long-term, largely-airborne campaign against the terrorist group.


Obama claims 2001 AUMF and 2002 Iraq War Resolution authorize Syrian airstrikes

U.S. President Barack Obama is using the legal grounding of the congressional authorizations President George W. Bush relied on more than a decade ago to go to war as he readies intensified airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. But Obama has made no effort to ask Congress to explicitly authorize his own conflict.

The White House says Bush-era congressional authorizations for the war on al-Qaeda and the Iraq invasion give Obama authority to act without new approval by Congress under the 1973 War Powers Act.

* * *

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Thursday cited the 2001 military authorization Congress gave Bush to attack any countries, groups or people who planned, authorized, committed or aided the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Earnest described the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, generally known as the AUMF, as one that Obama "believes continues to apply to this terrorist organization that is operating in Iraq and Syria."

* * *

The White House also finds authorization under the 2002 resolution that approved the invasion of Iraq to identify and destroy weapons of mass destruction. That resolution also cited the threat from al-Qaeda, which Congress said then was operating inside Iraq. But the U.S. later concluded there were no ties between al-Qaeda and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein or his government, and the group formally known as al-Qaeda in Iraq -- which later evolved into the Islamic State group -- didn't form until 2004, after the U.S.-led invasion.

Obama is using both authorizations as authority to act even though he publicly sought their repeal last year. In a key national security address at the National Defence University in May 2013, Obama said he wanted to scrap the 2001 order because "we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight." Two months later, Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, asked House Speaker John Boehner to consider repealing the 2002 Iraq resolution, calling the document "outdated."

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/white-house-confident-in-legal-basis-for-expanded-fight-against-islamic-state-without-congress-1.2004451#ixzz3D8FPfweA

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Syria airstrikes need boots on the ground, AF officer says (CIA triples IS estimate)


U.S. special operations forces will be needed on the ground in Syria to make the expanded air war President Obama has ordered there more effective, a senior Air Force commander told USA TODAY.

The spy planes flying missions over Iraq and Syria can develop a list of potential Islamic State targets, said the commander who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe what the war might look like. But it's "absolutely crucial that pilots are talking to an American on the ground" who can verify that the target is legitimate.

The CIA said Thursday evening that a new intelligence assessment estimates the Islamic State can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria, up from a previous figure of 10,000. CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said the new assessment is based on a review of intelligence reports from May to August, the Associated Press reported.

Obama has said he is not sending traditional ground combat troops to Iraq or Syria. However, there will be teams of about 12 American troops advising and assisting Iraqi forces.

This is a war of aggression

We have not been attacked. As Obama made clear last night there is no threat of an attack on the US. Nor is it in self-defense. This is a war of aggression, different only in degree from bush's Iraq war. Here, Obama is initially committing only about 1500 troops on the ground in Iraq. That number will undoubtedly keep increasing and Obama is clearly going to try to not engage in a ground war. But the fact remains this is an offensive war of choice.

Drip, drip, drip. 475 MORE troops on the ground in Iraq, CREEEEEP into Syria.

Two references to 9/11 and open-ended military campaign.


No more wars of choice.

Obama claims he has authority for 3 year war in Iraq and Syria

Without Congress.

A year later and he's learned to just say "fuck congress we're going to war."

Yeah yeah it isn't "war" if Americans aren't dying or something. Can't wait for tomorrow's boogey man speech.

White House: Expect few details in Obama speech on cost, length of ISIS campaign

Obama will unveil a broad explanation of the "next phase" of U.S. efforts, but not provide other concrete details such as whether the president wants Congress to vote to endorse it, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.

"In the context of the speech that the president is preparing for tomorrow, I wouldn't expect something that's quite that detailed," Earnest said as he was peppered with questions about how any expansion of military force would be paid for.

The press secretary also said the White House did not have "a specific deadline" for congressional action, but that Obama "would certainly welcome support from members of Congress however they choose to show it."

And Earnest deferred from putting a timetable on how long an expanded military operation against ISIS fighters could take, or outlining concrete military objectives.

* * *

Additionally, the White House spokesman said that "dozens" of members of both parties had received classified briefings from administration officials in the past week, and that every member of Congress would be welcomed to classified briefings on Thursday.

"That is an indication and just gives you a little snapshot of this administration’s commitment to robust consultation with Congress," Earnest said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the administration was weighing a major acceleration of airstrikes against the terror group in Iraq, which would target logistics hubs and supply lines utilized by ISIS. The strikes would also assist forces loyal to the central government in Baghdad to retake territory lost to the terror group.

Obama is also considering whether to expand those airstrikes into Syria, where ISIS is headquartered. The administration is thought to be more cautious of such a move because the U.S. intelligence has less of a foothold there, strikes could benefit the Assad regime and doing so could raise prickly new questions about congressional authorization.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/217135-white-house-expect-few-details-from-obama-speech

No timetable, no explanation of costs, a major acceleration of bombings in Iraq, and considering strikes in Syria. What's there not to lova about this new military action?

I am sure that Obama has his best attorneys working on how to "legalize" an air war that will last three years or more. This is the Bush-Lite doctrine: Preemption, but focusing on air war, even though there are more than 1,000 soldiers currently in Iraq (and no doubt more to follow).

Has everyone watched how this progressed? It started with stopping genocide of a people on a mountain in Northern Iraq. And now we are looking at a 3-year air war, at a minimum.
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