Obama: Islamic State will lose

Feb 12, 2015, 1:15 AM EST
U.S. President Barack Obama, second from left, delivers a statement on legislation he sent to Congress to authorize the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State with U.S. Vice President Joseph 'Joe' Biden, from left, Obama, John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state, and Chuck Hagel, outgoing U.S. secretary of defense, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015.
AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama has said Islamic State militants "will lose" as he asks Congress to formally authorise military force against them, reports the BBC.

"Our coalition is on the offensive. Isil [I.S.] is on the defensive, and Isil is going to lose," he said.

He warned against dragging the U.S. into another prolonged ground war and called on lawmakers to show a united front.

The U.S. has carried out air strikes against IS since last year, in a coalition with other nations. It's the first time a U.S. president has sought Congressional approval to use military force since President George W. Bush in 2002, ahead of the invasion of Iraq.

In a White House address, he said the draft authorisation did not change the mission's core objective to "degrade and destroy" I.S.

Flanked by the Vice-President Joe Biden, and the US secretaries of state and defence at the White House, Mr Obama said this did not signal an "endless war".

He said he was "convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East" but said fighting IS would take "some time".

Obama consulted with Republicans and Democrats in writing the resolution, writes Reuters, and said he would continue to do so. He said the time frame was intended to let Congress revisit the issue when the next president takes office in 2017.

The proposal says Islamic State "has committed despicable acts of violence and mass execution." Its militants have killed thousands of civilians while seizing territory in Iraq and Syria in an attempt to establish a hub of jihadism in the heart of the Arab world.

They have also generated international outrage by beheading western aid workers and journalists and burning to death a Jordanian pilot.

Obama sent his request to Congress a day after his administration confirmed the death of Kayla Mueller, a 26-year-old aid worker who was the last known American hostage held by the group.