Trump continually provoking Iran
Washington: President Donald Trump insists that European cultural websites are fair game for the US army, dismissing concerns within his own government that doing so could constitute a war crime under international law.
He also warned Iraq if it expelled troops in retaliation for a US airstrike in Baghdad that killed a top official, that he would levy punishing sanctions.
In what is expected to be a return from a holiday recess, However, Congress is currently pushing back.
Two top Senate Democrats Monday called on Trump to immediately declassify the administration’s reasoning for the attack on the Iranian official, General Qassem Soleimani, saying there is’no legitimate justification’ for keeping the information from the general public.
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said late Sunday the House would introduce and vote this week on a war powers resolution to restrict the president’s military activities regarding Iran.
A similar resolution was introduced in the Senate. Congress, which has the power to declare war, has complained that Trump didn’t provide advance notice of his airstrike in Baghdad on Soleimani.
Trump did meet the 48-hour deadline required by the War Powers Act to notify Congress after the deadly drone attack, though the document was classified and no public version has been released.
The government is expected to brief lawmakers on its actions this week.
‘It is critical that national security issues of import be shared with the American people in a timely manner,’ they wrote.
‘An entirely notification that is classified is not appropriate in a democratic society’ Pelosi said the telling’raises more questions than it answers.
This document prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of this Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran.’
Iran has vowed to retaliate for Trump’s targeted killing of Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds force.
Iraq’s parliament voted Sunday in favour of a nonbinding resolution calling for the expulsion of the American forces.
Trump raised the prospect of targeting sites that were Iranian at a tweet.
Speaking with reporters Sunday as he flew back to Washington from his holiday in Florida, he refused to back down, despite international prohibitions.
‘They’re allowed to kill our people. Maim and they’re permitted to torture our people. Blow our people up and they’re allowed to use bombs. And we’re not allowed to touch their sites?
On Iraq, Trump said the US would not leave Iraq without being compensated for its army investments there over the years — then said if the troops do need to draw, he would hit Baghdad with economic penalties.
‘We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before . It is going to make Iranian sanctions look tame,’ he said.
‘If there is any hostility, they do anything we think is inappropriate, we’re going to place sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq.’ He added:’We are not leaving until they pay us back to it.’
The government has scrambled to contend to the killing of Soleimani, which marked a stark escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reported more Iranian leaders may well hit if the Islamic Republic retaliates.
He didn’t provide evidence that Soleimani plotted imminent attacks on Americans. Rather than arguing that an attack was imminent, Pompeo said it was inevitable.
Some government officials were, rattled by the threat to attack sites of trump.
One US national security official said the president had captured many in the administration off guard and prompted calls that were internal for many others in the authorities to clarify the matter.
The official, who was not authorised to speak to the matter, said clarification was necessary to affirm that war crimes would not be intentionally committed by the US army.
Oona Hathaway, an international law professor at Yale and a former national security law official at the Defense Department’s legal office, said Trump’s threat amounted to’a pretty clear promise of commission of a war crime.’ The threats to Iran of the president did little to quell the furor of Tehran over Soleimani’s death.