President Biden told congressional leaders in a letter Saturday that this week’s airstrike on facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the United States’ right to self-defense.
Because it is important: Some Democrats, including Senators Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.
- “Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional without extraordinary circumstances,” Kaine said Friday.
- A spokesman for the National Security Council has said that the Pentagon previously notified Congress and that the administration continues to brief Hill at the member and staff level.
What he says: “Those non-state militia groups were involved in recent attacks on US and Coalition personnel in Iraq, “Biden wrote in Saturday’s letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the President pro tempore of the Senate, Patrick Leahy.
- Biden said those attacks included the “February 15 attack in Erbil, Iraq, which wounded a US service member, injured four US contractors, including one seriously, and killed a Filipino contractor.”
- “These groups are also involved in the ongoing planning for future attacks of this type,” the president added.
- “In response, I led this military action to protect and defend our staff and our partners against these attacks and future attacks.”
- “The United States is always ready to take the necessary and proportionate measures in self-defense, even when, as is the case here, the government of the state where the threat is located is unwilling or unable to prevent the use of its territory by outsiders the law. -Groups of state militias responsible for such attacks. “
- “I conducted this military action in accordance with my responsibility to protect the citizens of the United States both at home and abroad and to promote the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, consistent with my authority. constitutional authority to direct the foreign relations of the United States and as Commander-in-Chief Executive Director. “
- “The United States took this action in accordance with the inherent right of self-defense of the United States as reflected in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.”
- Biden concluded by saying that he was “providing this report as part of my efforts to keep Congress fully informed, in accordance with the War Powers Resolution.”
The panorama: Iran on Saturday condemned the US attack in Syria and denied responsibility for the attacks on US targets in Iraq, according to Reuters.
- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the attack “illegal and a violation of Syria’s sovereignty,” state media reported.
- An Iraqi militia official said on Friday the attack killed at least one fighter and wounded several more, the AP reports.
Go deeper: Biden says the US airstrike in Syria sent a warning to Iran to “be careful”