BRADLEY KLAPPER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — This week offers Congress its best chance to get answers about President Barack Obama's new Mideast counterterror strategy.

As lawmakers prepare for votes to arm and train Syrian rebels — an element of Obama's plan to fight Islamic State militants — members from both parties are airing their concerns.

Some want harder action against the Islamic State extremists who've conquered parts of Syria and Iraq. Others fear entanglement in a new war. Lawmakers also want to know why the administration wants to help rebels it has largely avoided aiding militarily throughout Syria's three-year civil war and what the costs and duration of such an engagement might be.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs House and Senate committees Tuesday and Thursday, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey will also testify. Secretary of State John Kerry appears before separate panels Wednesday and Thursday.
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