WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Congress will likely find common ground in approving an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to give legislative backing to the US military actions against the Islamic State (ISIL) group in Syria and Iraq, former US commander of American and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General David Barno told Sputnik.
“There’s a growing consensus that the ISIS [Islamic State] threat is an extraordinarily dangerous one,” Lt. Gen. Barno told Sputnik Monday. “I think Americans have grasped that now, the Congress of the United States has grasped that now, which is why the AUMF has a pretty good chance of being passed.”
Barno explained to Sputnik that the US strategy in the Middle East is currently in flux. “The wars are changing there dramatically… and the United States can’t look away from that,” he said.
However, solidifying the commitment of the over 60 nation coalition against IS will be “one of the big challenges of the next few months,” Barno told Sputnik, noting that the strategic outline for the anti-IS coalition is “still very much in motion.”
During a Monday Wilson Center think tank discussion on US President Barack Obama’s draft AUMF, sent to the US Congress on February 11, Barno commented that the draft language did not articulate a strategy or “overarching context” for what the US is trying to achieve in the war against IS. That makes it “relatively complicated” for military commanders to gauge whether they have been successful or not, the general added.
The United States has been engaged in military action against in Iraq and Syria since August 2014 and currently leads an international and regional coalition in countering the IS.
The US Congress has not officially given their support to the ongoing military action through a legislative authorization to use military force, but will be taking that up in the coming period, according to statements by US Senate and House leaders.