Ambassador Power touts support for Islamic State mission, Congress spars over combat mission

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The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday that the American-led effort to destroy the Islamic State terror group has support from more than 40 countries but declined to name them or the extent of their support.

“It’s up to the individual country,” Ambassador Samantha Power told ABC’s “This Week.”

France last week joined the United States in airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq, and Saudi Arabia has offered to help train moderate anti-Islamic State group fighters.

However, what remains unclear is whether Turkey and such Arab states as Egypt and Qatar will join in the airstrikes, also pending in Syria, or send combat troops to join Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Meanwhile, a Democrat and Republican on the House Intelligence Committee laid out Congress’ ongoing concerns about the issue -- primarily whether U.S. troops will or should be involved.

“I don’t know why the president says up front we will not put boots on the ground,” New York GOP Rep. Peter King told “Fox News Sunday.” “Why take that off the table?”

Obama has ruled out such a mission, despite Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, suggesting last week that combat troops might eventually be needed.

California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff suggested on Fox that Obama as commander in chief makes the final decisions and argued the U.S. military occupation in Afghanistan “still hasn’t solved the problem” of eradicating terror groups and stabilizing that country.

King also said the president should seek international support but that destroying Islamic State is of “national interest” so the U.S. should not “hold back.”

Power also predicted Sunday that the U.S. “will not do airstrikes alone” and acknowledged that the effort to destroy Islamic State would take “several years.”

Turkey, situated along the Iraqi and Syrian border, has the second-largest army in NATO and is home to the U.S. Air Force base Incirlik.

But the Turkish government has reportedly not signed any agreement to participate in anything beyond a humanitarian effort, though Power pointed out the country has closed its Syrian border, amid pressure from Western countries.

Turkey has appeared reluctant to engage Islamic State because the militant group was holding 49 Turkish diplomats captured in June in Iraq. However, the hostages were released Saturday.

Also this weekend, Turkish forces clashed along the Syrian border with Kurdish refugees trying to escape Islamic State fighters.

Power talked to ABC and on NBC’s “Meet the Press” ahead of the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting this week in New York that President Obama will attend.

The president is scheduled to address the assembly on Wednesday morning, then address the Islamic State issue with the U.N. Security Council later that day.

Power on Sunday told NBC that the United States was not having problems “getting countries to commit” to helping thwart Islamic State’s swift and deadly rise to power, which has included beheadings and massacres, and that officials were in fact seeing a “diverse range” of support.

She also said Russia has concerns about Islamic State, whose surge from Syria into northern Iraq threatens the entire global economy, repeating Secretary of State John Kerry’s remark last week on Capitol Hill that “everybody can do something.”

However, she made clear that the U.S. would not share intelligence with Iran nor join the rogue country in a combat effort.