President Joe Biden has notified Congress about his decision to authorize an airstrike against Iranian-affiliated facilities in Syria this week. The US claims that the strike was a defensive measure, aimed at protecting American personnel and coalition partners.
The notification came on Saturday, as required by law, with President Biden citing his constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief for the action taken. In a statement released by the White House, President Biden said that he had acted "in a deliberate manner" to ensure that the strike was both "proportional" and "defensive."
The airstrike was reportedly conducted on Thursday night near the Syrian-Iraqi border. According to reports, multiple facilities were targeted that were being used by Iran-backed militia groups responsible for recent attacks against US forces in Iraq.
"The United States took necessary, appropriate and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message," said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby in a briefing on Friday.
The move is seen as a departure from former President Donald Trump's unilateral approach toward military action overseas. The current administration has been vocal about its desire for multilateralism and diplomacy when it comes to foreign policy decisions.
However, some have criticized President Biden's decision not to seek congressional approval before carrying out the airstrike. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called it an "unacceptable", adding that only Congress has "the power to declare war."
Despite these criticisms though, President Biden remains firm in his belief that he acted within proper legal boundaries with regard to notifying Congress ahead of time.
This latest development highlights ongoing tensions between Iran and Western powers over Tehran's nuclear program. It also underscores concerns over potential escalation between Iran-backed militias and US forces stationed in Iraq.
As of now though there have been no reported casualties from either side in the aftermath of the airstrike.