The United States insists that it's not helping the Syrian government conduct airstrikes against Islamic State militants by providing intelligence on the fighters' locations. Such actions, American officials say, would only strengthen a brutal regime that has used chemical weapons against its own people and undermine U.S. efforts to train and arm Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.
The Islamic State's beheading of a British aid worker has drawn condemnation from London and Washington, but that outrage may do little to boost an international coalition to attack the militant group.
The powerful chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has condemned Edward Snowden's plans to seek political asylum in Switzerland, whose attorney general says the former NSA contractor could be immune from U.S. extradition requests if he manages to make it to the central European country without being arrested.
President Barack Obama has only a few days to convince lawmakers that a policy he has long avoided is now crucial to combating the Islamic State: the large-scale training and equipping of Syrian rebels.
President Barack Obama's plans to ramp up U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State targets inside Iraq and potentially launch new ones inside Syria rely on a thirteen-year-old law authorizing military force against al Qaeda and its affiliates that he has publicly stated he would like to see repealed.