McConnell backs Biden ordering airstrikes in Syria Washington Examiner

James Marshall
Февраля 27, 2021

The Pentagon on Friday said the U.S. was responding to attacks by Iran-backed militias earlier this month in which one usa military contractor was killed and nine other people were wounded.

What meaning Tehran took from the attack on its proxies remains unclear.

Biden is hoping to draw Iran into negotiations on reviving a 2015 agreement that restricts Tehran's nuclear program - one that was abandoned by the Trump administration.

"The administration must provide a legal rationale for why these strikes met the high bar for military action without Congressional approval".

Asked what message he was sending to Iran with an airstrike in Syria, Biden told reporters in Houston on Friday: "You can't act with impunity". The operation involved two F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets that dropped seven precision-guided munitions on 11 facilities in the compound, nine of which were totally destroyed and two that were functionally destroyed, he said.

Militiamen fled from six of the seven buildings hit in the strikes after spotting what they believed to be a US surveillance aircraft, according to the Sabareen news channel on Telegram, which is used by Iran-backed groups.

Thursday night's strike targeted a border control point in Abu Kamal, Syria, manned by Iranian-back militia groups that include Kait'ib Hezbollah and Kait'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, which US officials believe were behind recent attacks against American and Iraqi forces, Kirby said.

He said the Pentagon had "preliminary details about casualties" but declined to release any figures.

Kataeb Hezbollah said one of its fighters was killed and slammed the strike as "barbaric aggression" and a "heinous crime in violation of worldwide law".

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the chairman of the House committee, said the strike was a reminder that the USA will protect itself and its allies.

This strike against an Iranian-backed militia was defensive in nature, following multiple rocket attacks against our forces in Iraq. "The targets were chosen to correspond to the recent attacks-the facilities are utilized by KSS and KH-and to deter the risk of additional attacks over the coming weeks". Six others were wounded, including a US service member.

The White House has said that through the airstrikes in Syria, President Joe Biden protected U.S. personnel and facilities, and deterred the risk of additional attacks "over the coming weeks".

Tehran has not signaled whether it will respond militarily to the US action, though militia leaders in Iraq have vowed to retaliate for the attack.

Article II appoints the president as the commander in chief of the US military, while Article 51 states: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain worldwide peace and security". The incident occurred near where several other ships were damaged in explosions in 2019. All of these groups have received at least some financing, support and weaponry from Iran over the years, and all share its ideology of "resistance", or the struggle against Israel and US interests in the region. "This must end", Sanders said in a statement.

Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna opposed the attack. The officials said the groups are linked to a February 15 rocket attack on a USA base in northern Iraq that killed a contractor working with the US military and injured an American service member.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., noted that the president has the right to defend the nation and its armed forces from imminent attack, but called the recent airstrikes in Syria "unacceptable". The White House on Friday said the strikes were ordered pursuant to the president's authority to defend USA personnel under Article II of the Constitution and Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.

"As a matter of domestic law, the president took this action, pursuant to his Article II authority to defend US personnel", Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters.

Kirby said the location targeted near the Syria-Iraq border was "known to facilitate Iranian-aligned militia group activity". Mansour, who tracks armed groups in Iraq, said the newer groups appeared to be made up of fighters armed with weapons connected to the larger Iran-linked paramilitaries.

"These groups are decentralized", he said.

Sabereen News, a channel affiliated with Iran-supported groups, posted images of some of the structures destroyed in the attack, which it said were used by the groups to stop the flow of Islamic State members into Iraq.

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