President Joe Biden arrives at Ellington Discipline Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas, U.S., February 26, 2021.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
President Joe Biden on Saturday instructed Congress that the airstrikes he ordered in Syria this week have been in step with the U.S. proper to self-defense, as members of his personal get together referred to as for extra transparency about why navy motion was taken with out congressional authorization.
“The US took this motion pursuant to america’ inherent proper of self-defense as mirrored in Article 51 of the United Nations Constitution,” Biden wrote in a letter to Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President professional tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy.
Biden ordered airstrikes Thursday in opposition to services in jap Syria that the Pentagon says are utilized by Iranian-backed militia. The Protection Division mentioned a number of services have been destroyed at a border management level and there have been casualties, however didn’t present any extra data.
These strikes got here in response to a Feb. 15 assault by which rockets hit Erbil Worldwide Airport, which hosts a coalition navy base, in northern Iraq. The assault killed a civilian contractor with the U.S.-led navy coalition and injured a number of others, together with an American service member.
“I directed this navy motion to guard and defend our personnel and our companions in opposition to these assaults and future such assaults,” Biden wrote in his letter Saturday.
The letter comes as some Senate Democrats have pushed again in opposition to Biden over the strikes, calling on him to supply a briefing why navy motion was taken with out congressional approval. Underneath the Warfare Powers Decision, presidents are required to tell Congress inside 48 hours after taking navy motion. Within the letter, Biden cited his constitutional authority as commander in chief.
“I directed this navy motion in step with my accountability to guard United States residents each at house and overseas and in furtherance of United States nationwide safety and overseas coverage pursuits, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States overseas relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Govt,” Biden wrote.
The Pentagon briefed leaders in Congress earlier than the navy strikes, in accordance with a Nationwide Safety Council spokesman. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s workers have been additionally notified earlier than the strike, in accordance with a Democratic aide.
Iran condemned the U.S. air strikes on Saturday and denied accountability for the rocket assaults on U.S. targets. Iranian International Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mentioned the U.S. strikes have been “unlawful and a violation of Syria’s sovereignty,” in accordance with experiences from Iran’s state media.
— CNBC’s Christian Nunley and Reuters contributed to this report.