Military Base Hosting US Troops in Northern Iraq Comes Under Rocket Attack

Clay Curtis
February 16, 2020

But with Trump repeatedly hinting that the United States won't retaliate against Iran unless an American is killed in the military back-and-forth, experts say that Pompeo will have to reassure USA partners in the Middle East who are anxious that the United States won't come to defend them if Tehran opts to put another country in the crossfire.

In response to Soleimani's killing, Iran carried out a missile attack at Ain al-Asad base in western Iraq which stationed USA troops.

After a Senate briefing on the drone strike in January - where officials from the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon made a case for the operation - Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah said it was the "worst" military briefing he had ever witnessed, arguing lawmakers were left "under-informed as to the legal and factual basis for the attack on Soleimani".

"The administration's explanation in this report makes no mention of any imminent threat and shows that the justification the President offered to the American people was false, plain and simple", Engel said in a statement. But he has also acknowledged that the administration didn't necessarily know when and where future attacks were being planned.

Referring to the White House memo, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel said, "This official report directly contradicts the President's false assertion that he attacked Iran to prevent an imminent attack against United States personnel and embassies".

Doubts over whether there was truly an imminent attack were circulating among USA lawmakers as well as worldwide observers.

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"What the president said was, he believed it probably could have been", Esper said in a separate interview with CNN.

To suggest that 18 years later this authorization could justify killing an Iranian official stretches the law far beyond anything Congress ever intended.

He also used a vulgar expression to describe the nature of Soleimani's comments, CNN reported.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee released the memo a day after the US Senate, in a rebuke to Trump, passed legislation with rare bipartisan support to limit the president's ability to wage war against Iran.

Trump allies Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., notably crossed party lines today alongside six other Republicans.

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