MOSCOW, September 11 (RIA Novosti) - President Barack Obama is seeking authority from Congress to allow the United States to use Saudi Arabian bases as training camps for moderate Syrian rebels, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, said Thursday.
"We were going to pass a continuing resolution today to fund the government for the rest of the year and [the President] called the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee Tuesday afternoon... and asked him if he would put in there the authority to go into Saudi Arabia because they offered to give us bases or places that we can use for training Free Syrians to go back into the fight," McKeon said in a presentation to the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday. Congressional leaders met to discuss the issue early on Thursday morning.
In his Wednesday evening address, Obama announced that a part of the US strategy for countering the threat of the Islamic State (IS) will include providing military support to Syrian rebels. The Saudi offer will further that aim. Members of the Obama administration are currently traveling in the Middle East to shore up regional support.
According to McKeon, it is not clear whether Congress will allow Obama to take up the Saudi offer. "I tend to think that given the seriousness of the situation we would give him that authority to advantage of Saudi Arabia"s offer. But sometimes things happen in Congress...so it"s hard to predict."
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a radical Sunni group, which has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June, it started launching attacks in the northern and western regions of Iraq, announcing the establishment of a caliphate on all the territories under its control.