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Congress blasts ‘unconstitutional’ US strikes on Yemen, says bypassed by Biden

US lawmakers have slammed the Biden administration’s move to attack Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement without seeking congressional approval, arguing that the strikes violated the US Constitution.

“This is an unacceptable violation of the constitution,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat and the chair of the Progressive Caucus. “Article 1 requires that military action be authorized by Congress.”

Biden “is violating Article I of the Constitution by carrying out airstrikes in Yemen without congressional approval. The American people are tired of endless war,” Rashida Tlaib, the sole Palestinian-American member of US Congress, said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

On Thursday, US president Joe Biden notified Congress, but did not seek its approval before he announced that the US and the United Kingdom launched a series of air and naval strikes on more than a dozen sites in Yemen.

US, UK attack Ansarullah targets in Yemen in response to pro-Palestinian strikes

US, UK attack Ansarullah targets in Yemen in response to pro-Palestinian strikes

The US and UK attack Ansarullah targets across Yemen in response to the Yemeni popular resistance movement

Supported by a coalition made up of Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, the US-led airstrikes were met with immediate condemnations from legislators who argued that the constitution was violated as the air strikes were conducted without seeking congressional approval, which was a breach of protocol by Biden.

“Unacceptable,” wrote Ayanna Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat.

“The United States cannot risk getting entangled into another decades-long conflict without congressional authorization,” a Wisconsin Democrat, Mark Pocan wrote on X.

He called on Biden to engage with Congress “before continuing these airstrikes in Yemen.”

Biden “can’t launch airstrikes in Yemen without congressional approval”, said Congresswoman Cori Bush on X.

“The people do not want more of our taxpayer dollars going to endless war and the killing of civilians. Stop the bombing and do better by us.”

Article 1 of the US Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war.

Despite the authorization provided solely to Congress, previous presidents have often conducted military strikes in West Asia without seeking the legislative branch’s approval.

Several legislators who were against the airstrikes have previously endorsed bills aiming to terminate policies that grant the president expanded powers to engage in warfare overseas, especially during Donald Trump’s administration when lawmakers passed a War Powers resolution specifically for Yemen.

“The United States has been involved in hostilities in Yemen, in one form or another, for over 5 years now. The sad reality is Congress frequently refuses to assert its authority,” US representative Thomas Massie wrote on X.

Meanwhile, Ro Khanna, a California progressive who has spearheaded bipartisan initiatives to reaffirm congressional control over Washington’s foreign wars, also invoked Article 1 and vowed to “stand up for that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House”.

In the midst of hoards of tweets and criticisms from lawmakers, an X post by Biden from 2020 has resurfaced, unveiling his hypocrisy given that he had criticized former US president Donald Trump when he brought Washington on the brink of war with Tehran after he gave the order for assassinating Iran’s top anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani.

“Donald Trump does not have the authority to take us into war with Iran without Congressional approval. A president should never take this nation to war without the informed consent of the American people,” Biden wrote on January 6, 2020.

Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon senior security policy analyst, said that the Biden administration’s decision to attack Yemen has put the US in a precarious situation.

The “US could slip into a war,” he said, noting that the US’s actions embolden Israel and prompt it to escalate the ongoing war on the Gaza Strip.

“What could stop it is if the US stops all of its exports of munitions to Israel at this point, because otherwise, you’re just feeding it, you’re feeding the fire here,” Maloof remarked.

“We’re pouring more and more gasoline on the fire.”

He also observed that the recent visit to West Asia by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was “useless,” seeing how Ansarullah fighters continued their attacks on the shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

“But beyond that, he’s feckless, he’s ineffective, and he’s very timid and meek. He’s not strong at all. And for that matter, he’s not doing anything that brings about or shows any ability to bring these sides together,” Maloof was quoted as saying.

“All he’s doing is spending, wasting money traveling around doing nothing and he’s totally useless.”

Pakistani foreign policy and political analyst Muhammad Taimur Fahad Khan said the attacks by the US and its allies on Yemen are a significant escalation.

“The ramifications of this attack on regional security are multifaceted. These strikes could further inflame tensions in an already volatile region as the [Ansarullah fighters] have vowed to respond to these attacks,” Khan added.

“Such military action, without the endorsement of international bodies like the United Nations, is and should be seen as a violation of international law.”

For months, top US officials have claimed that Biden does not want to see Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip escalate into a wider conflict in West Asia.

But with Thursday’s deadly airstrikes, critics say, the US and the UK have shown to the entire world exactly how dedicated they are to the Israeli regime’s war on Gaza.

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