Trump administration officials told Congress that there’s no need to update the authorization that originally targeted terrorists responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks and has now been stretched to cover anti-terror operations in over a dozen countries.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that any attempt to place time limits or geographical constraints in a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force could cripple efforts to fight terrorists.
Tillerson denied that the White House was asking for an authorization to act against Bashar al-Assad, saying it would ask for the appropriate authorization “only if necessary” in response to a question by US House Committee Chairman Bob Crocker.
Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stressed the US administration will keep a law passed on Sept. 14, 2001 authorizing the use of military force shortly after the September 11 attacks. Mattis described the act as remaining a solid basis for ongoing military operations against a changing threat.
Tillerson previously said that “the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end. The only issue is how that should that be brought about.” He was speaking after holding talks with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in the Swiss city of Geneva on Thursday.
Tillerson said that “the United States wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar al-Assad in the government.” He reiterated the US’s commitment to the Geneva process to reach a comprehensive political settlement in Syria.
On Friday morning, April 7, 2017, the US fired 59 cruise missiles on one of the Assad regime’s air bases, with US officials describing the strike as limited and fast. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)