WASHINGTON – At a hearing yesterday on the fight against ISIS, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, emphasized the importance of a cohesive U.S. strategy for success in confronting the terrorist organization as Congress considers President Obama’s request for an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF).
“[W]e owe it to our nation as we consider this to know that the full range of America’s elements of national power, diplomatic, economic, and military means are aligned in such a way to get to the administration’s stated goals,” said Corker in his opening statement.
In questioning General John R. Allen, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (or ISIS), Senator Corker asked whether the AUMF will need to allow for the protection of U.S.-trained forces in Syria if they are attacked by the Assad regime.
“In the event that we needed to protect those that we’re training and equipping and other members of the Free Syrian Army…against Assad barrel bombing them, do you believe…that needs an additional authority other than what is now being requested?” Corker asked.
General Allen responded by saying, “My hope is that we’d be able to provide the kind of protection that they need and they deserve within the authorization that we’re currently proposing.”
During a separate hearing yesterday with Secretary of State John Kerry testifying before the committee, Senator Corker pressed the Obama administration to make a commitment to protect the force that the U.S. is preparing to retake territory from ISIS in Syria.
“If we’re not willing to protect them, it speaks to the fact that the administration doesn’t really seem serious about taking ISIS on as it relates to Syria,” said Corker in questioning Secretary Kerry.
Secretary Kerry recognized “defending those who are engaged in the fight of ISIL…is an important part of defeating ISIL” but acknowledged “the president hasn’t made a final decision on that.”