The American Assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani: Strategic Implications, Asymmetrical Threat Risks, and U.S. Congressional Reporting Requirements


Any assessment of Soleimani's acts, expenditures, and influence in creating satellite militias across the Middle East over the past decade, especially with his expenditures made possible by the economic boost to the Iranian economy after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (hereafter referred to as the Iran nuclear agreement), will quickly dispel any assertions that recent escalations in tensions with Iran are the result of the U.S. pulling out of that deal. That's Tehran's line, and those who push it become pro-terrorist propagandists. The Iranian nuclear agreement, with the economic boost and cash it brought Iran–along with the Obama administration's weakness toward Iran–fueled the regional instability and terrorism orchestrated by Iran. 

Iran will, of course, threaten retaliation, and because they can only fight asymmetrically, Iran will probably mount a violent response, most likely through proxies, against innocent civilians or U.S. diplomatic missions. "Death to America" will once again be the chant du jour. In the end, however, allowing Iran to dictate or constrain our policy and actions by threat of asymmetrical warfare is capitulation to terror. 

Courage is required. We must see through those proxy smokescreens and hold Tehran accountable by ensuring that the price for such acts is ultimately too steep a price to pay even for a theocracy exhorting martyrdom. Cost versus benefit calculus must be made to apply to both sides. 
Questions about presidential notifications to Congress are inherently contextual, and the requirements surrounding notifications to Congress rely on several factors, the first being whether an action is a Title 50 covert action that requires prior congressional notification...However, even if one determines that the U.S. structured the airstrikes on Soleimani to allow potential deniability if things went wrong (thus making the operation potentially classifiable as a covert operation), many exceptions exist to the Title 50 notification requirements.  "Traditional military activities" are exempt and, as defined under 50 U.S.C. 3093(e)(2), provide an exception that would apply in the killing of Soleimani.  This was an attack by U.S. military forces in a defined theater of operations (Iraq) against an Iranian military commander of a group designated an enemy and/or terrorist group. As the strike was conducted by U.S. armed forces under U.S. military command, the airstrikes count as traditional military activities. That makes the killing Title 10 action, not a Title 50 action. (See footnote 2.)  (continued… download to read more)