The US Congress has passed a resolution limiting President Donald Trump's power to wage war or take military action against Iran. The House of Representatives joined the Senate in the move by voting 227 to 186 to prevent Trump from taking any military action against Iran without Congressional approval.
Congressmen and women who voted in favour of the resolution said that they wanted to ensure that Congress alone has the authority to declare war against other countries, as stipulated in the US Constitution. "There are many countries in the world where the decision is made by one single person, and these countries are called dictatorships," said Democrat Representative Steny Hoyer. "The founding fathers never wanted the United States to be run by dictators."
Nevertheless, the president will certainly use his right to veto this decision. Those Democrats in Congress allied to a handful of Republicans who are sceptical of the viability of military solutions, will not be able to counter the presidential veto because they lack the required number of votes.
The vote took place just minutes after two soldiers, one American and one British, as well as an American military contractor were killed on Wednesday evening in a missile attack on the Taji military base that houses US troops north of Baghdad. It was the bloodiest attack against US interests in Iraq in years. A previous attack in December also led to the killing an American contractor in Iraq for which Washington held Shia militias responsible.
On 3 January, Trump approved a US raid in Baghdad targeting the Iranian commander of the Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, which escalated tensions between Washington and Tehran; the latter responded with missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing US forces. The raid that killed Soleimani sparked a wave of anger among Iraqis, who demanded the withdrawal of US forces. Many people doubted that the Shia militias launched the attack on the base in a country where Daesh fighters are still present.