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Air strikes continued to target Islamic State (Isis) positions near the Kurdish town of Kobani and hubs across north-east Syria on Sunday, as the terror group moved towards a new alliance with Syria’s largest al-Qaida group that could help offset the threat from the air. Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been at odds with Isis for much of the past year, vowed retaliation for the US-led strikes, the first wave of which a week ago killed scores of its members. Many Nusra units in northern Syria appeared to have reconciled with the group, with which it had fought bitterly early this year. A senior source confirmed that al-Nusra and Isis leaders were now holding war-planning meetings. While not yet formalised, the addition of at least some al-Nusra numbers to Isis would strengthen the group’s ranks and further its reach at a time when air strikes are crippling its funding sources and slowing its advances in both Syria and Iraq. Al-Nusra, which has direct ties to al-Qaida’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, denounced the attacks as a “war on Islam”, in an audio statement posted over the weekend. A senior al-Nusra figure told the Guardian that 73 members had defected to Isis last Friday alone and that scores more were planning to swear allegiance in coming days.There is necessarily some artificiality and judgment in determining which fighters are members of and/or associated with al Qaeda for purposes of deciding which individuals and groups fall under the 2001 AUMF. And the description from the Guardian does not make clear – because it is no doubt too soon to tell – exactly what relationship is developing between Nusra (or its fighters) and the Islamic State. Nonetheless, the closer ties between the two groups significantly strengthen the President’s argument – now, but not last week – that the 2001 AUMF covers IS. It also shows, yet again, how flexible and amorphous the 2001 AUMF is, and why Congress should do something to make the process of identifying groups that are enemies of (and thus targetable by) the United States more rigorous and regularized. Here is one proposal for that by four Lawfare writers, and here is another one by Harold Koh, I have no reason to think anything like these proposals will be enacted any time soon.