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President Joe Biden Formally Informs Congress About Strikes in Iraq and Syria

Joe Biden Officially Notifies Congress of Iraq, Syria Strikes

President Joe Biden formally informed Congress on Sunday about the U.S. military strikes directed at Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria.

The previous week witnessed a drone strike by Iran-backed militants at a military base in Jordan, resulting in the death of three U.S. service members and injuries to dozens more. Responding to this, the U.S. initiated a series of strikes against Iran-backed militants and Iranian military targets in Iraq and Syria, with over 85 targets hit by Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

In a letter addressed to House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, and Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, Biden explained the rationale behind the strikes.

President Joe Biden Formally Informs Congress About Strikes in Iraq and Syria

Joe Biden (Credits: Bloomberg)

The letter stated that the strikes were aimed at facilities in Syria and Iraq used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated militia groups for various purposes, including headquarters, command and control, weapons storage, training, logistics support, and more.

Biden clarified that the strikes were conducted to deter the IRGC and affiliated militia groups from carrying out or supporting further attacks on U.S. personnel and facilities. He emphasized that the actions were taken with a strategy to limit the risk of escalation and prevent civilian casualties.

The president asserted that he ordered the strikes under his constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive, in accordance with the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq.

Biden’s communication to Congress was framed within the context of the War Powers Resolution, showcasing his commitment to keeping the legislative branch fully informed.

Acknowledging the support of Congress in this endeavor, Biden addressed concerns raised by bipartisan members last month regarding the lack of prior notification before ordering strikes against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen. The president defended his actions, highlighting the constitutional authority vested in the Commander in Chief but assured Congress of ongoing efforts to keep them informed.

Barbara Slavin, a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center, offered insights into the potential outcomes of U.S. retaliatory strikes in the Middle East.

Slavin emphasized the significance of a durable cease-fire in Gaza to curb Houthi attacks while expressing the belief that strikes in Syria and Iraq were intended to degrade militias’ ability to target Americans. However, she suggested that the long-term U.S. presence in both Iraq and Syria might need reassessment unless there is a notable improvement in U.S.-Iran relations, which currently seems uncertain.

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