Intensifying the rivalry with Iran, President Trump on January 3 decided to launch an airstrike that killed one of the most crucial personalities of the Islamic Republic, Major General Qassim Suleimani. The death of its top military commander not only left the Middle Eastern nation devastated, but also complicated the already strained political sphere of the United States.
The country entered 2020 with a partially-impeached President, who on the third day took yet another abrupt decision that shifted the focus regarding America’s safety from him onto Iran. But, Trump did have a reason for it — Iran’s second in command was conspiring “imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel”.
Leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), considered a “terrorist group” by the US, Suleimani reportedly conducted a meeting with his Iraqi Shi’ite militia allies in October, at the banks of the Tigris River to plot against the US embassy in Baghdad.
IRGC’s efforts led to an airstrike that hit the Baghdad International Airport, where three rockets killed Qassim Suleimani, Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several Iran-backed militants in Baghdad on Friday, and also wounded several people, as it landed near the air cargo terminal.
Thousands of people instantly took to the streets of Iran, as they mourned Suleimani’s death and burned the American flag, while chanting “Death to America!”. The frustration of the mourners reached the US covered in black cloth of threat, which have been releasing warning winds across the country from the past four days.
While other nations and the Congress are attempting to avoid the escalation of tensions, President Trump came with yet another warning for Iran. He wrote on Twitter that the country has “targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago)”, which will be attacked “VERY FAST AND VERY HARD”, if the Islamic Republic “strikes any Americans, or American assets”.
After Iran, Trump had something to say to the Congress, that it will be notified by the Media Posts to “quickly & fully strike back”, if Iran targets or attacks any US person. The President said, “Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!”
Well, the Democrats rather had a reminder for Trump — “You’re not a dictator.” In a prompt reaction, they reiterated The War Powers Act of 1973 for him, stating the “the President shall submit within 48 hours…a report, in writing” to the House Speaker (currently Nancy Pelosi) and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate (currently Chuck Grassley), when the presence of US armed forces abroad is “substantially enlarge(d)” without any declaration of war.
Fair point well made!
The House Foreign Affairs committee fired back at Donald Trump’s tweet, saying that “Media Post will serve as a reminder that war powers reside in the Congress under the United States Constitution” and that he needs to “read the War Powers Act”.
Eruption of chaos in foreign affairs pushed back the internal affairs of the United States, and the Democrats who recently voted for Trump’s impeachment shifted to consider voting on war powers resolution to restrict his military actions in the Persian Gulf.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that it would reaffirm “Congress’s long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days”.
The unforeseen attack brought in the issue of war and peace during an election year, where the Congress was already in middle of a debate over whether to remove Donald Trump from the office or not. Besides, the already turbulent impeachment trial in the Senate was decked by the events related to Qassim Suleimani’s death, giving Republicans a point to defend the President.
Representative Kevin McCarthy wrote on Twitter, that the President facing a question mark from the Democrats, is also the one “focused on removing terrorists from the face of the earth”.
Democrats, on the other hand, stressed that the two issues should not be intermeshed, and the lawmakers are responsible and obliged to look into both the matters, but separately.
However, statements wouldn’t really do much in a situation where the airstrike has not just killed Qassim Suleimani, but has also hit the minds of several people differently. The President has apparently used the nationalistic ‘trump’ card to overshadow his impeachment, to impact the decision-making of the lawmakers, and to paint a better presidential image.
The removal of Donald Trump from office could probably become merely history, as the decision on Iran could become a winning route in the upcoming elections for him.