Report: Obama to personally sign off on any Syria airstrikes

President Obama has asked to personally sign off on all airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Syria, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. 

Obama has reportedly set far more stringent requirements for bombing targets in that country than Iraq, where U.S. warplanes have already conducted over 160 strikes against targets associated with the terrorist group.

ADVERTISEMENT
Officials told the paper that doing so was intended to signal the president viewed strikes against ISIS in Syria as similar to counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda and other militant groups in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and other countries.

The president has been intimately involved in decisions to launch narrow military strikes in those countries, and administration officials have repeatedly characterized those efforts as the model for the campaign against ISIS.

Officials also told the paper that the president did not make any decisions about potential strikes in Syria during a meeting Wednesday with military leaders in Tampa, Fla., and that he has not yet authorized a specific strike within Syria. The White House has previously said it will not announce that strikes are coming ahead of time, so as not to give militants time to prepare.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power responded to the report on Thursday by saying she did not want “to get into internal deliberations.”

But, Power said in an interview with “CBS This Morning,” “this is our national security at stake.”

“This is a very complicated operation,” she continued. “If the moderate opposition do get the support that we’re seeking from Congress, we will have on the ground more professionalized troops who have been fighting [ISIS] for nearly a year, and that’s the important ground element to the effort.”