WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern, South and Central Asian Affairs, released the following statement today on political developments in Iraq and U.S. military action:
“Iraq is at a crucial juncture that requires all Iraqis to put aside past grievances and unite as a country. I am encouraged by the steps that have been taken in recent days to build political consensus and welcome the nomination of Dr. Haider al-Abadi to be the next Prime Minister of Iraq. It is important for all Iraqis to foster a peaceful transfer of power and swiftly form an inclusive government, which is essential to combating the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS). I support additional assistance to a new inclusive Iraqi government as it faces this challenge, including further security assistance to Kurdish forces that are on the frontlines battling IS.
“I support providing humanitarian relief to Iraqi civilians and measures to protect American personnel, but I am concerned about the timeline and scope of our renewed military efforts in Iraq. Since the Administration has conceded that the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force is obsolete and should be repealed, it is now up to the Administration to receive Congressional authorization for the current air campaign against IS. This is especially the case since the President has indicated that our renewed military engagement in Iraq could be a long-term project. I have long stressed that Congress must formally approve the initiation of significant military action. It is precisely because of circumstances like these that in January Senator John McCain and I introduced the War Powers Consultation Act of 2014 to clarify the consultation process between the Legislative and Executive branches.
“No one doubts the barbarity of IS and threat it poses to our partners and I will always support the President if he takes action to protect American servicemembers and diplomats. But the mission and objectives of any military action must be made clear to Congress, the American people, and our men and women in uniform.”