Vox Sentences: On Iran, a resolute House

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Congress rebukes the president on Iran; a ceasefire in Libya falls through.


The House says no to war with Iran

  • In a bipartisan reprimand of the president, the House voted Thursday to rein in presidential war powers and cease all military action toward Iran following a US missile strike last week that killed a top Iranian general. [CBS / Grace Segers]
  • Democratic lawmakers have argued that Gen. Qassem Soleimani did not pose an “imminent threat” to the US and that his killing exceeded the limits of presidential power. [Politico / Sarah Ferris and Andrew Desiderio]
  • The measure draws on a Vietnam-era law, the War Powers Resolution, intended to reassert Congress’s warmaking powers and force the president to seek congressional authorization for any further action against Iran. However, the resolution passed in the House is not binding. [NYT / Catie Edmondson and Charlie Savage]
  • A similar Senate resolution gained bipartisan momentum Wednesday after lawmakers received a briefing on the strike. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) described parts of the briefing as “insulting and demeaning.” [Washington Post / Aaron Blake]
  • Lee and fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul (KY) said they would support Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine’s war powers resolution, but the bill would need at least four Republican votes to have a chance of passing. [Roll Call / Rachel Oswald]
  • Unlike the House resolution, Kaine’s bill would be binding — but even if it survives in the Senate, it would face a near-certain presidential veto. [NPR / Claudia Grisales]
  • The House last year supported a different measure that could have limited the president’s power to wage war against Iran. The amendment garnered bipartisan support but didn’t make it into the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act. [Vox / Emily Stewart and Li Zhou]

No end in sight for Libyan civil war

  • Despite backing different sides in Libya’s ongoing civil war, Russia and Turkey on Wednesday called for a ceasefire in the conflict between Libya’s United Nations-backed government and warlord Khalifa Haftar. [NYT / Carlotta Gall]
  • Turkey has deepened its involvement in Libya recently by deploying troops in support of the Government of National Accord. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintains, however, that the troops are not there to fight. [Economist]
  • President Trump isn’t keen on Turkey getting involved in any capacity. He warned Erdogan last week that “foreign interference is complicating the situation in Libya.” [BBC]
  • For now, it seems there’s little prospect of a truce: Haftar rejected the idea of a ceasefire in a statement Thursday. [Al Jazeera]
  • Clashes will likely continue for the foreseeable future as Haftar’s Libyan Arab Armed Forces attempt to take Libya’s GNA-held capital, Tripoli. [AP / Noha Elhennawy]

Miscellaneous

  • The International Olympic Committee wants to ban athlete protests at the 2020 Olympics. [Vox / Katelyn Burns]
  • How the United Arab Emirates’ Mohammed bin Zayed has quietly assumed a leading role in the Middle East. [NYT / Robert F. Worth]
  • A “megafire” covering about 2,300 square miles has emerged in Australia as a historically bad fire season continues. [NPR / Scott Neuman]
  • After his support flagged following a heart attack in October, Bernie Sanders is now the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential contest per some polls. [WSJ / Eliza Collins]

Verbatim

“Let me be clear, I do not believe Democrats are in love with terrorists, and I apologize for what I said earlier this week.” [Republican Rep. Doug Collins walks back a comment attacking his Democratic colleagues / Politico]


Listen to this: Recode Decode

Megan Rapinoe on pay equity and why she’s not running for political office. [Recode Decode / Kara Swisher]


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