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July 29, 2015

Posts in "Iraq"

July 6, 2015

Obama Ties Budget Veto Threat to National Security

Obama insisted soldiers would get paychecks despite his budget disputes with Congress. (Screenshot)

Obama insisted soldiers would get paychecks despite his budget disputes with Congress. (Screenshot)

President Barack Obama tied his veto threats on the budget to national security Monday, calling things such as education, research and other items key, over the long term, to the defense of the United States.

“Our men and women are going to get paid,” he said, saying soldiers haven’t missed a paycheck while he’s been president, even though he’s had plenty of wrangling with Congress.

Full story

June 10, 2015

Obama: 450 More Troops to Iraq to Counter ISIS

President Barack Obama has authorized sending up to 450 additional U.S. troops to Iraq to help fight the Islamic State terror group, but the troops won’t be heading into direct combat with the group also known as ISIS or ISIL.

The additional troops will train and advise Iraqi forces at Al Taqaddum Air Base in eastern Anbar province. The authorization comes after a request by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Wednesday. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 12:36 p.m.
Iraq, ISIS

June 8, 2015

Frustrated Obama Fights Courts, Congress, ISIS, Putin (Updated) (Video)

Frustrated Obama King v. Burwell Obamacare

Cassie Boyle, 8, and her sister Helena Roberts, 11, hold a picture of their father and grandmother, Hannah Brown, at a rally outside of the Supreme Court during March arguments in the King v. Burwell case. Brown died 1999 at age 58, and the family attributes her death to her lack of sufficient health insurance. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:25 p.m. | The “fourth quarter” of President Barack Obama’s presidency isn’t exactly going according to plan.

All of the president’s frustrations appeared on full display Monday at the conclusion of the G-7 summit in Germany — with Obama taking on the courts, Congress, the Islamic State terror group and Vladimir Putin. Full story

Obama on Fighting ISIS: ‘We Don’t Yet Have a Complete Strategy’ (Video)

isis

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A frustrated President Barack Obama said he needs the Pentagon and the Iraqis to form a strategy to ramp up training of Iraqi troops to take on ISIS after the terror group’s recent gains.

“We’re reviewing a range of plans for how we might do that,” Obama said at a press conference after the G-7 summit Monday. “When a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:16 a.m.
Iraq, ISIS

May 19, 2015

Despite Ramadi, White House Says ISIL Strategy a Success

Secretary of Defense Carter was set to brief Obama Tuesday afternoon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Secretary of Defense Carter was set to brief Obama Tuesday afternoon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the takeover of the Iraqi city of Ramadi by the Islamic State terror group, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest contended Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s strategy to defeat the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has been a success.

Asked repeatedly Tuesday about the loss of the capital of the Sunni-dominated Anbar Province despite months of bombing from U.S. and coalition planes, Earnest instead said the president’s strategy, which relies on local forces on the ground, had succeeded in rolling back ISIS gains in Kobani, Syria, and the Mosul Dam, Sinjar Mountain, Tikrit and in other areas in Iraq.

Earnest said the loss of Ramadi was “an indication that Iraqi security forces need to retool their efforts,” but said “we’re optimistic” that together with American air power ISIS gains will be reversed.

As for the overall strategy, Jon Karl of ABC News asked if the president’s strategy was a success.

“Overall, yes,” Earnest said, although moreso than in recent days, he hinted changes could be coming.

He said Obama is “constantly” testing the strategy and asking his commanders about what can be done to improve the strategy. “Including today,” Earnest said.

Obama is set to meet with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter this afternoon.

Earnest also dismissed criticism from Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, who said earlier Tuesday that the president should start over with a new strategy and a new proposal for an Authorization to Use Military Force to take on the terror group.

Boehner, Earnest said, as well as other lawmakers in both parties had been “AWOL” on an AUMF against ISIL. He said Boehner has given “excuse after excuse” instead of doing his job and considering the AUMF.

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May 18, 2015

After Ramadi, Boehner Calls on Obama to Change Course on ISIL

Boehner wants Obama to overhaul his ISIL war strategy. ISIS Islamic State

Boehner wants Obama to overhaul his ISIL war strategy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi has Speaker John A. Boehner once again urging Barack Obama to develop a new strategy to win the war against the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIL or ISIS. But so far, the White House is staying the course.

“It is clearer than ever that the Obama administration must rethink its strategy that has repeatedly underestimated ISIL,” the Ohio Republican said in a statement provided to CQ Roll Call. “For weeks, as terrorists advanced on Ramadi, the White House insisted that ISIL was on the defensive. Now it says it has no new approach to announce. This must change — quickly.”

Boehner has been one of Obama’s most persistent critics in Congress on the issue, frequently urging him to do more to take on the terror group.

Eric Schultz, the White House deputy press secretary, acknowledged to reporters Monday that ISIL has made gains, after on May 15 declaring that their momentum has been “blunted.”

“There’s no denying that this is indeed a setback. But there’s also no denying that we will help the Iraqis take back Ramadi,” he said, per a pool report.

Schultz had no preview of any new strategy.

“Today we are supporting the Iraqi forces and the government of Iraq with precision airstrikes and advice to the Iraqi forces. Our aircraft are in the air right now and searching for ISIL targets. They will continue to do so until Ramadi is retaken. … ISIL will ultimately be defeated in Ramadi and elsewhere in Iraq because we believe the Iraqi forces have the capacity to ultimately take Ramadi with coalition support.”

Boehner, meanwhile, said the House stands ready to work with Obama to provide the resources needed to win:

“As I’ve said again and again, if we’re going to win this fight we need a broad, overarching strategy to defeat and destroy our terrorist enemies. While this is something that only President Obama, as commander-in-chief, can do, the president should know that the U.S. House of Representatives is ready to work with him to ensure our troops – as well as our Middle East partners – have the resources they need to carry out their missions.

Last week the House passed legislation with bipartisan support to reinforce our mission against ISIL. This legislation authorizes resources for security assistance to Iraqi forces, approves a pilot program to counter propaganda efforts and reaffirms our commitment to working with the sovereign Government of Iraq to bring peace and stability to the region. We hope President Obama will reconsider his opposition to this important legislation, which fully funds the president’s defense requests for fiscal year 2016, and stand ready to do what it takes to defeat these brutal terrorists and keep America safe.”

Related:

Are We Losing the War Against ISIL?

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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May 15, 2015

Are We Losing the War Against ISIL?

A member of the Iraqi interior ministry's anti-terrorism forces stands guard on a vehicle outside the Habaniyah military base, near Anbar province's capital Ramadi, on May 8. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

A member of the Iraqi interior ministry’s anti-terrorism forces stands guard on a vehicle outside the Habaniyah military base, near Anbar province’s capital Ramadi, on May 8. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

It seemed like the right question to ask, with fighters from the Islamic State terror group making sweeping gains in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province in Iraq — “Are we losing this war?” Full story

February 11, 2015

Congress Gets to Dust Off Its War Voting Powers

Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and House Intelligence ranking member Adam B. Schiff want to debate a war authorization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and House Intelligence ranking member Adam B. Schiff want to debate a war authorization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For the first time this decade, Congress is set to have a full-fledged war debate. The White House wants pure kabuki with no practical effect; lawmakers, most of whom have never voted to send men and women into harm’s way, will have to choose whether to go along.

President Barack Obama is intent on doing what he wants either way — as he already has in his undeclared war on the Islamic State terror group for months, with Congress on the sidelines. Full story

November 24, 2014

Chuck Hagel Out at DOD; Jack Reed, Michele Flournoy, Ashton Carter on Short List (Updated) (Video)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will be replaced, the New York Times is reporting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hagel is on his way out. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:23 p.m. | President Barack Obama is getting a new Defense secretary.

Obama announced Monday in the State Dining Room that Chuck Hagel will be leaving his post once a successor is confirmed by the Senate. Hagel tendered his resignation earlier Monday after a series of crises erupted on his watch, including the rise of Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Full story

November 7, 2014

Obama Wants $5.6B for ISIS War, Sends More Troops to Iraq

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters train on a weapon during a training session with British military advisers (unseen) at a shooting range on the outskirts of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq on November 5. (SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters train on a weapon during a training session with British military advisers (unseen) at a shooting range in northern Iraq on November 5. (SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $5.6 billion more for the war against ISIS, and is sending another 1,500 troops to Iraq.

The White House made the announcements as congressional leaders exited a post-election lunch with the president without speaking to the press.

Obama’s latest request is stacked on top of a $6.2 billion ask to combat the Ebola crisis.

The White House said the troops heading to Iraq would be in a non-combat role advising the Iraq military. The funding for the war on ISIS, also known as the Islamic State or ISIL, includes money to upgrade the Iraqi military as well as Kurdish forces. It also includes funding for State Department activities.

Both supplementals are likely to be part of the overall debate on funding the government. Congress must pass a new spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 3:18 p.m.
Iraq, ISIS

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