Military Capabilities

US lawmakers question president’s authority to kill Iranian general

03 January 2020

Pentagon leaders have yet to detail their legal justification for launching an airstrike on Iraqi soil that killed General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force. Some US lawmakers, however, are once again questioning the president's power to authorise such a strike and again reviving the 2001 and 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) debate.

For years, lawmakers have unsuccessfully grappled with what to do about the outdated 2001 and 2002 AUMF approved after the 11 September 2001 attacks and granting use of force against those responsible. This most recent strike on the Iranian general is again highlighting Congress's inability to act on the AUMF and the president's legal justification to carry out such an attack.

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