Kerry calls for new 3-yr war powers
US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday urged lawmakers to adopt a new legal authorization to underpin military action against Islamic State militants for at least three years.
But during a heated debate, the top US diplomat came under fire from Republicans and Democrats who argued that if President Barack Obama wanted new powers to combat the jihadists, he should have drawn up a draft text to propose to the Senate.
So far, the Obama administration has used the existing authorization for use of military force against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their branches approved in the days after the September 11, 2001 attacks as the legal justification for going after ISIS.
Kerry also urged that the text should not limit US actions geographically to just Syria and Iraq, and suggested it should be valid for three years with room for a possible extension.
Controversially, the top US diplomat also appealed to senators not to rule out the use of ground troops.
Obama has insisted he will not send US ground troops into combat operations against ISIS, saying that "will be the responsibility of local forces."
Meanwhile, countries have more than doubled the number of Syrian refugees they are willing to resettle to over 100,000, the head of the UN refugee agency said Tuesday.
"We estimate (there) will be more than 100,000 opportunities for resettlement and humanitarian admission," Antonio Guterres told reporters after a high-level pledging conference in Geneva.