Obama Asks Congress To Authorise War Against The Islamic State - Six Months After Starting A War

NEW YORK -- President Barack Obama asked the US Congress on Wednesday to authorise the use of military force against members of the Islamic State - six months after American forces started bombing the militants.

In legislation sent from the White House to Capitol Hill, Obama asked Democrats and Republicans to "show the world we are united in our resolve" in the fight against the radicals that have occupied swathes of land across Syria and Iraq.

In urging Congress to back military force, the president ruled out "enduring offensive combat operations," a deliberately ambiguous phrase designed to satisfy lawmakers with widely different views on any role for US ground troops. The authorisation would last for three years and would require the president to report to Congress every six months.

The request, which is retroactive, came in the form of a new Authorisation for the Use of Military Force. The Congress is expected to hold debates and votes on whether to grant the AUMF over the next few weeks.

In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Obama said the Islamic State group is on the defensive and "going to lose," but vowed not to repeat the large and costly ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama said a large deployment of US troops won't be necessary to fight the Islamic State, and he argued that the three-page proposal he sent to lawmakers would give him and his successor the needed flexibility to wage a battle likely to take "some time."

Addressing the floor on Wednesday morning, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, said the chamber "will review the president's request thoughtfully," adding: "Individual senators and committees of jurisdiction will review it carefully, and they'll listen closely to the advice of military commanders as they consider the best strategy for defeating ISIL."

See below for the full text of the AUMF and the accompanying letter to Congress: