Alaska’s congressional delegation are expressing their support for the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 2.
“Qasem Soleimani was a terrorist who committed heinous atrocities and facilitated human rights abuses against the oppressed people of Iran. Our world is a safer place without him,” Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said in a statement.
Young praised President Donald’s Trump’s leadership in supporting the Iranian people’s pursuit of liberty.
In a statement on Jan. 2, the U.S. Department of Defense said the strike against Soleimani was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. However, the Trump administration has not elaborated on what those plans were leading some to question the legality of the strike.
A United Nations charter allows for countries to act in self-defense in the face of an imminent threat but with no specifics coming from the U.S. government, it is difficult for legal experts to say whether the Soleimani strike fell within those grounds.
“In the Soleimani case, the US is claiming it acted in self-defence to prevent imminent attacks, a category of action which, if in fact true, is generally seen as being permissible under the UN Charter,” Dapo Akande, professor of public and international law at Oxford University told the BBC.
Soleimani was the leader of the Quds Force, an Iranian overseas arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which the U.S. has accused of supporting and coordinating with anti-American militias throughout the Middle East. American officials claim Soleimani orchestrated a violent protest at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Jan. 1.
On his official Facebook page on Jan. 2, Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, called Soleimani “the most vicious and notorious member of the world’s largest state sponsor of terror —Iran.”
Sullivan said Soleimani’s killing was justified and that America and its allies would need to remain vigilant in the face of Iranian retaliation.
Iran fired a series of ballistic missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq on Tuesday, though no one was killed in the strikes.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced on her Facebook page she was supporting a resolution introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, commending Trump and U.S. military members for “the successful operation against Qasem Soleimani.”
Murkowski said Soleimani and his forces were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American service people and attacks on American facilities. Murkowski said in her statement she hoped to find a path towards de-escalation through collaboration with her colleagues and the Trump administration.
“Iran appears to be standing down,” Trump said in a statement Wednesday. “The United States is ready to embrace peace with those who seek it.”
Iranian officials vowed revenge after Soleimani’s killing, raising international fears the conflict between the U.S. and Iran would escalate to full-scale war. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted Wednesday afternoon he had arrived in Washington D.C. to, “discuss the importance of the UK/US security partnership and the need to de-escalate the situation in Iraq.”
Trump’s authorization of the strike has also raised questions over executive authority for military actions. Trump, as well as Presidents Bush and Obama, have argued that a 2002 law authorizing the president to use military force in Iraq allows for military actions without congressional approval.
Congressional Democrats in both houses have introduced resolutions to limit the president’s ability to make war with Iran, according to the New York Times.