'Be Careful': Biden Warns Iran After Striking Tehran-Backed Militias in Syria

'Be Careful': Biden Warns Iran After Striking Tehran-Backed Militias in Syria

The US has launched airstrikes on eastern Syria - the first military action undertaken since Joe Biden became president.

"Be careful", Biden said when a reporter asked what message he had meant to send with the airstrikes, which the Pentagon said destroyed several buildings in eastern Syria but were not meant to eradicate the militia groups that used them to facilitate attacks inside Iraq.

Washington said its strikes on positions of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah paramilitary group along the Iraq border were in response to the rocket attacks on USA targets in Iraq. The death toll could not be independently verified.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby described the raid as a "proportionate military response". Obviously, the USA was hit by an Iran-backed militia.

While several lawmakers criticized the administration Friday for failing to provide adequate notification ahead of time, Psaki said congressional leaders were informed before the strike.

"Military action - in a country where Congress has not authorised war - is unconstitutional in nearly all circumstances", Omar said in a statement. Some of the Iran-backed paramilitary groups are on the Iraqi government's payroll as part of the Iraqi security forces but are only nominally under the control of the government. The balance of power is not in their favour, as an escalation could impact the current steps of the USA administration to revive the Iranian nuclear deal.

"Our cooperation with the global coalition forces is limited to a specific goal.to fight Daesh and its threat to Iraq, in a way that preserves the sovereignty of Iraq", the statement said, using an Arabic term for the Islamic State.

Psaki said the decision behind the strike was "deliberative" and that Biden's aim was for "deescalating activity in both Syria and Iraq".

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont warned against the president overreaching in his powers to declare military actions.

Sen. Tim Kaine D-Va. speaks during a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing regarding wages at large corporations on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday Feb. 25 2021

"The president has the responsibility to keep Americans safe, but for too long administrations of both parties have interpreted their authorities in an extremely expansive way to continue war".

Simmering Democratic discontent over the Biden administration's unilateral action in Syria comes amid a parallel effort, spearheaded by members of the President's party, to convince Biden to renounce his sole authority to order nuclear strikes. Looming behind the question of the parameters of a new deal is the issue of Iran's destabilizing activities across the Middle East, which are particularly concerning to USA allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia.

"We need to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate", he said.

"It's a softer, but still a rather nuanced hit", Smyth added of the US decision to strike a target in Syria, saying the response from the militias so far had been somewhat muted.

The AUMF gives the president expansive powers to make wide-reaching interpretations in the event of a threat to national security. I also condemn attacking a sovereign nation without authority.

O'Connell added that the United States also had time to work with the UN Security Council rather than order strikes. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said lawmakers must hold the current administration to the same standards as any other.

"The American people deserve to hear the Administration's rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without coming to Congress", said Kaine, according to Politico.

"We in Congress have congressional oversight in engaging in war and we haven't been briefed yet and we have not authorized war in Syria", Omar told CNN.

Administration officials spent much of the day defending the strike, arguing it was necessary to protect American forces in the region following a series of rocket attacks, including two in the past two weeks in Irbil and Baghdad. While the exact death toll remained unclear, Biden appears to have calibrated the strikes, hoping they would cause enough damage to show that the United States would not allow rocket attacks like that on the Irbil airport in northern Iraq on February 15, but not so much as to risk setting off a wider conflagration.

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