SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- The annual defense bill being prepared for a vote in the US Congress is authorizing President Barack Obama for two more years of training and equipping the Syrian militants.
Senior staff members who worked on the bill told Washington Times on Tuesday that the bill was intended to help “moderate” militants in their fight against the ISIL terrorist organization.
House and Senate lawmakers reached a compromise on a joint fiscal year 2015 defense policy late on Monday.
The legislation authorizes $521 billion next year for Defense Department operations, the House staff members said.
The upcoming defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), is expected to be introduced in the House Tuesday afternoon and would extend that authority through the end of 2016.
Back in September, Congress passed the first authorization for the US to help Syrian militants defeat the terrorist group. The bill expires on December 11.
The new bill is largely similar to the previous bill, a senior House of Representatives staff member said, noting that there has been “some refinement” in the new bill since the Defense Department officials have more knowledge of what their mission will look like now.
“I think the biggest thing was understanding what the mission entails and giving them the authority to conduct that mission. We didn’t know details on countries, types of facilities, all of those things were still in preliminary negotiations,” the senior House staffer said. “Now we’re a little bit further down the road, we have a little bit more knowledge about what those authorities needed to be.”
The staffer said that similar to the previous bill, the authorization only applies to Syria.
The Obama administration along with its regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have repeatedly said their ultimate goal of training and supporting “moderate” militants fighting against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in Syria is to topple or bypass Assad as the legitimate leader of the Arab country.
Since late September, the US and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out airstrikes against the ISIL terrorists inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.