U.S. Military Action Against the Islamic State: Answers to Frequently Asked Legal Questions [September 9, 2014]   [open pdf - 355KB]

"This report addresses select legal questions raised by the use of military force against IS [Islamic State]. Questions addressed in this report include potential sources (and limitations) of presidential authority to use military force against the Islamic State without congressional authorization; the potential relevance of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (2002 Iraq AUMF; P.L. 107-243) and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (2001 AUMF; P.L. 107-40); the applicability of the United Nations Charter to ongoing U.S. military strikes in Iraq and any prospective strikes against IS forces in Syria; and the constraints imposed by the War Powers Resolution upon U.S. military action that has not been authorized by Congress. The report will be updated as warranted by events. Many of the legal issues discussed in this report concerning congressional oversight of U.S. military action are addressed in greater detail in CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report R41989, 'Congressional Authority to Limit Military Operations', by Jennifer K. Elsea, Michael John Garcia, and Thomas J. Nicola. Further discussion regarding recent developments in Iraq and Syria can be found in CRS Report RS21968, 'Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights', by Kenneth Katzman; CRS Report R43612, 'Iraq Crisis and U.S. Policy', by Kenneth Katzman et al.; and CRS Report RL33487, 'Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response', coordinated by Christopher M. Blanchard."

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CRS Report for Congress, R43720
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