US House passes resolution restricting Trump’s powers to declare war on Iran

Besides being of some symbolic and political significance, the resolution does not have any legal value and is non-binding

January 10, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
US House Resolution
A protester holds an anti-war sign in the US. (Photo: Getty Images)

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday, January 9, to restrict the powers of US president Donald Trump to declare a war on Iran without prior approval of the Congress. It was passed in the house with 224 votes in favor and 194 against, and asks Trump to terminate all military operations against Iran except those in self-defense. The resolution, however, is non-binding and requires a similar vote in the Senate in order to be effective. 

The recent rise in hostilities following the assassination of Iran’s general Qassem Soleimani by the US, and Iran’s retaliation on January 8, has raised the possibilities of a war. Trump had even threatened a full-fledged war in case Iran retaliated against the assassination of general Soleimani, who was the head of the elite Iranian Quds forces. However, after the January 8 missile attacks by Iran on two Iraqi bases where US troops were stationed, Trump has so far refrained from making any retaliatory move. 

According to the article 1 clause 8 of the US constitution, the president cannot declare war without the permission of the Congress.

Meanwhile, Iran has given a call for the complete withdrawal of US forces from the region. The US has around 60,000 troops in the West Asia region, with 5,200 of them stationed in Iraq and around 1,000 in Syria. Iran is considered to have massive influence in these countries.  

The US House resolution also mentions the fact that Congress was not consulted before the targeted attack against general Soleimani. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s drone attack on Soleimani a “provocative and disproportionate” act. A commander of Iraq’s semi-official Popular Mobilisation Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and five others were killed on the same day. The US attacks had led the Iraqi parliament to pass a resolution on January 5, seeking the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country.