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As promised, President Obama has followed airstrikes in Iraq with even bigger airstrikes in Syria. He did not get permission from Congress, but claims authority because of an “imminent threat” against the US from an offshoot of al-Qaeda. Strikes against ISIS—the so-called Islamic State—were joined by five Arab countries, part of a coalition designed to show the US is not going alone. The amount of damage is still unclear… and so is the legality of the actions. Has the War on Terror become a permanent US policy? Has the stage been set for US combat forces to go back to the Middle East?

Plus, the election in Kansas heats up.

Banner Image: President Barack Obama receives a briefing from Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander, U.S. Central Command, and his top commanders at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., Sept. 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

US and Allies Carry Out Airstrikes in Syria 6 MIN, 30 SEC

The Obama Administration is back in the Middle East more deeply than ever. Months of airstrikes in Iraq were followed up overnight by more intense attacks in Syria—some of them backed by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Martin Chulov is Middle East Correspondent for Britain’s Guardian newspaper; he joins us from Beirut.

Martin Chulov, The Guardian (@martinchulov)

Airstrikes Just the Beginning of a Long Campaign 35 MIN, 50 SEC

President Obama says the participation of five Arab states in last night’s attacks in Iraq “shows the world that this is not America’s fight alone.” The President did not ask Congress for authority to strike targets in Syria. Instead, he relied on intelligence claims that the US was facing an attack on the homeland. Tomorrow, he’ll chair a meeting of the UN Security Council and make the case for a broader coalition.

Eli Lake, Bloomberg View (@EliLake)
Adam Schiff, US Congress (D-CA); U.S. Democratic Representative (@RepAdamSchiff)
Robert Scales, US Army (retired)
Jean-Marie Guehenno, International Crisis Group (@JGuehenno)

Some Americans Fighting With Terror Groups Have Returned to the U.S., Obama Administration Says
Even a Top Democrat Thinks Obama's Legal Case for War Makes No Sense
Congress Must Vote on War
To Stop ISIS in Syria, Support Aleppo
The ISIS Way of War Is One We Know Well

Kansas Race Now One of the Hottest Contests in the Midterms 7 MIN, 31 SEC

Democrats are struggling to hold their majority in the US Senate after the November elections. Now they’re looking for help in the most unlikely of places—the very red state of Kansas.

The last time Kansas sent a Democrat to the US Senate, Babe Ruth was playing for the Yankees. This year, the Democratic candidate has withdrawn. But the state’s top election official—who’s a conservative Republican—is insisting that a Democrat must appear on the ballot. David Von Drehle is editor at large for TIME magazine. He joins us from Shawnee Mission, a suburb of Kansas City.

David Von Drehle, Editor-at-Large, Time Magazine

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