The Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday voted to finally repeal two decades-old measures that granted perpetual approval for military action in Iraq.
Committee members voted 14-8, with three Republicans voting with Democrats to repeal the 1991 measure that sanctioned the US-led Gulf War to evict the forces of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, and the 2002 measure who gave the green light to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who supported the measure along with Indiana Republican Todd Young, said he hoped a full Senate vote in the coming weeks to lift the two measures and “officially declare the war in Iraq.” break up”.
The House of Representatives has already voted to lift the 1991 and 2002 permits for military force in Iraq.
In a testimony to the committee on Tuesday, Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman called for the 2002 measure to be lifted. The termination of the war permit against Saddam’s Iraq made it clear that the Iraqi government is now a partner of the United States and made a complaint on behalf of the United States rival Iran eliminated, Sherman said.
Republican opponents argued, however, that the revocation of the two permits for military force signaled US weakness vis-à-vis Iran as the Biden government formally ended its combat role in both Iraq and Afghanistan and negotiated a renewed nuclear deal with Iran .
“The Ayatollah is listening to this debate,” said Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Cruz, a 2016 presidential candidate, has repeatedly tried to portray President Joe Biden as weak towards Iran. “The Ayatollah listens to what happens. We saw how he tested the Biden administration over and over again. “
Republicans also pointed out that President Donald Trump’s administration cited the 2002 Iraq War resolution as part of its legal rationale for a 2020 U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassim Soleimani. Top State Department and Pentagon lawyers told committee members on Tuesday that the Biden government believes it has sufficient legal authority to conduct similar strikes even if measures on the Iraq war are lifted.
Wednesday’s vote comes in a growing tug-of-war over the constitutional authority of the executive over the US armed forces. Democrats say Biden’s administration will be only the last to seek congressional approval before launching air strikes against al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgents in Somalia and Iran-backed militias on the Iraqi-Syrian border this year.
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