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CongressIran NegotiationsMonday, April 20, 2015

Congress Takes on Risky Role in Iran Deal

Congress Takes on Risky Role in Iran Deal April 20, 2015 Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee removed the most toxic provisions from a bill that would allow Congress to review and vote its approval or disapproval of a nuclear agreement with Iran. The legislation could come before the Senate floor as early as this week and represents a compromise between the original bill, spearheaded by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), and more pro-diplomacy positions. The result is not a good bill – as Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said at the markup hearing, it is a “largely unnecessary endeavor” that “doesn’t reserve for Congress any power that we don’t already have.” But the compromise has removed the worst provisions of the bill and the Obama… Read More ›

IranP5+1 TalksMonday, April 6, 2015

Five Myths About the Iran Framework Deal

Five Myths about the Iran Framework Deal April 6, 2015 The framework for a comprehensive agreement reached by P5+1 negotiators at Lausanne, Switzerland, last week has established the overarching terms of a sustainable, peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. The terms are more favorable than many expected, and even skeptics of diplomacy – from experts like United Against Nuclear Iran’s Gary Samore to pundits like Bill O’Reilly – say it’s a credible deal worth pursuing. However, some people still aren’t convinced and have brought out many of the same arguments against the deal that were being made before there was a deal to criticize. Here are five of the top reasons critics say the United States should reject the deal, and why they’re wrong.… Read More ›

AUMFIraqIslamic StateSyriaFriday, March 13, 2015

A Dangerously Confused AUMF Discussion in Congress as Escalation Looms

A Dangerously Confused AUMF Discussion in Congress as Escalation Looms March 13, 2015 Earlier this week, top officials appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss the Obama Administration’s proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey took part in a conversation that highlighted several areas of concern for which additional focus is warranted going forward. In particular, the hearing added confusion to the proposed definition of “associated forces” and how it is currently interpreted or could be interpreted in the future. The hearing also confirmed the proposed language that would prohibit “enduring offensive ground combat operations” lacks significant meaning.… Read More ›

AUMFIraqIslamic StateSyriaWednesday, March 18, 2015

Policy Analyst Bill French’s Testimony on ISIL and the President’s AUMF

Statement by Bill French, NSN Policy Analyst Congressional Progressive Caucus Forum on ISIL and the President’s AUMF Proposal March 16, 2015 Distinguished members of Congress, I am honored to join you to discuss the president’s proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL. Over the next few minutes, I would like to outline how a number of key national security issues relate to considering the president’s proposed resolution and what kind of provisions it should – and should not – ultimately include as a result. In particular, I will focus on select aspects of how the U.S. military strategy against ISIL should inform congressional action on a potential AUMF. As I think all of us know, ISIL poses a very real national security… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateMonday, March 2, 2015

A Misguided Effort Against Islamic State | J. Dana Stuster

A Misguided Effort Against Islamic State By J. Dana Stuster, NSN Policy Analyst March 2, 2015 |  LA Times Since President Obama asked Congress in February for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force against Islamic State, the proposal has been under attack by hawkish members of Congress. “My goal is to do no harm to the war effort,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said recently. “The harm is to embrace a strategy with no chance of success.” He’s right — and that’s precisely why the use-of-force prescriptions Graham and others are advocating are so misguided. Congressional hawks are pushing for expansive executive war powers. Though they have not offered their own comprehensive strategy, interventionists such as Graham and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) are calling… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateFriday, February 27, 2015

Why Limits in an ISIL AUMF are Necessary | Bill French

Why Limits in an ISIL AUMF are Necessary By Bill French, NSN Policy Analyst February 27, 2015 | The Hill This week Congress begins considering an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State. So far, the debate has focused on how specific a potential authorization should be. The administration has requested a modestly limited authorization and some in Congress want an even more tailored resolution. In response, conservative hawks in Congress are leading what amounts to a Blank Check Caucus that wants to grant this and future presidents broad war authority that is unspecific and unlimited so long as the Islamic State and vaguely related groups are the targets. But the Blank Check Caucus misunderstands the basic functions of war authorizations and fails to appreciate the challenges that non-state actors like the Islamic State pose to Congress’ constitutional role to declare war. By correcting these errors, it is evident that limits are necessary and appropriate in an Islamic State AUMF. The basic purpose… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateThursday, February 26, 2015

NSN Signs Coalition Letter Urging Congress to Rein in 2001 AUMF

Coalition Urges Congress To Rein In Sweeping 2001 War Authorization Jennifer Bendery February 26, 2015 | Huffington Post WASHINGTON — As Congress turns its attention to President Barack Obama’s request to use military force against the Islamic State, more than a dozen groups are urging lawmakers to rein in a sweeping 2001 war authorization that never expired and is being used to justify open-ended military operations. The American Civil Liberties Union, National Security Network and Constitution Project are among 16 groups that sent a letter to lawmakers on Tuesday demanding that they revise Obama’s war authorization request to explicitly state that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force does not apply to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL or ISIS.… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateWednesday, February 25, 2015

Getting to an Effective and Well-Defined AUMF for the Islamic State

Getting to an Effective and Well-Defined AUMF for the Islamic State February 25, 2015 This week, Congress is beginning the process of considering a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State. The authorization recently proposed by the White House has positive and negative aspects, as NSN has noted previously. But with additional analysis coming out about the Administration’s proposal and Secretary Kerry’s Senate testimony yesterday, the conversation is advancing and many details deserve closer consideration. First, the extent to which the proposed AUMF would authorize U.S. ground forces is still very unclear. Second, new troubling questions are being raised about the conditions in which the Administration thinks it would have the authority to strike Assad’s forces under a new… Read More ›

Friday, February 20, 2015

Washington Examinar Quotes Dana Stuster on the Countering Violent Extremism Summit

White House Extremism Summit More Symbolism Than Substance, Experts Say By Susan Crabtree February 20, 2015 | Washington Examiner President Obama’s closing remarks at the Countering Violent Extremism Summit Thursday perfectly captured his awkward balancing act when it comes to talking about Islamic terrorist groups and his policies aimed at stopping their deadly goals. While Obama studiously avoided words like “Islamic” and “Muslim,” he made no bones about the need to confront the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, mentioning the terrorist group nine times. In the end, the summit was more symbolism than substance, say foreign policy experts across the political spectrum. “The Obama administration is demonstrating some much-needed international initiative by hosting this summit,” said John Dana Stuster, a policy analyst for the National… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateFriday, February 20, 2015

Talking through Obama’s AUMF Proposal | Tobias Gibson

Talking through Obama’s AUMF Proposal Tobias T. Gibson February 20, 2015 | The Hill Last week, the Obama administration sent Congress a draft proposal for a new Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) specifically targeted at the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Predictably, the reaction was swift. Equally predictably, the feelings toward the proposal were largely divided along partisan lines. There is one commonality, however — feelings that the draft AUMF is not perfect. Responses were swift by those outside of government, as well. My colleagues at National Security Network (NSN) offered ”the good, the bad and the ugly” of the proposed AUMF. Among the “good,” seconding Pelosi, is the end to the 2002 Iraq AUMF. There are more two contested “good” outcomes stemming from the… Read More ›

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