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On Feb. 5, President Joe Biden released a letter “consistent with the War Powers Resolution” notifying Congress of the U.S.’s Feb. 3 joint strikes conducted with the U.K. against the Houthis in Yemen. This is the third set of strikes against the Houthis the president has reported under the War Powers Resolution since issuing a letter following the first set of large-scale joint strikes on Jan. 12.
According to the letter, these “discrete strikes” against Houthi infrastructure were executed “to degrade Houthi capacity to conduct future attacks and were conducted in a manner designed to limit the risk of escalation and avoid civilian casualties.” President Biden wrote that he took this military action under his Article II constitutional authority, and that it was a “necessary and proportionate” operation “consistent with international law”—as an exercise of the U.S.’s right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. These domestic and international law statements are consistent with the legal justifications set forth in the two previous reports to Congress on the strikes against the Houthis.
You can read the report here or below.
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Madam President:)
As I reported previously, since at least November 2023, Yemen-based Houthi militants have engaged in a series of attacks against United States military forces, including ships and aircraft, and against maritime commercial shipping, operating in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. These attacks pose a threat to the safety of United States forces and commercial ships and their crews, regional political and economic stability, and navigational rights and freedoms. The Houthi militants continue to pose a threat of future attacks against United States forces and military vessels and against other maritime traffic in the region.
I previously reported that on January 11, 2024 and January 22, 2024, in response to these attacks and the threat of future attacks, at my direction, United States forces as part of a multinational operation alongside the United Kingdom, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, conducted discrete strikes against facilities in Yemen that facilitate Houthi militants’ attacks in the Red Sea region.
On February 3, 2024, at my direction, United States forces as part of a multinational operation alongside the United Kingdom, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, conducted discrete strikes in Yemen against facilities, locations, and equipment associated with the Houthis’ missile and air surveillance capabilities, unmanned aerial vehicle capabilities, and command and control capabilities. I directed the strikes against targets used by Houthi militants to support attacks in the Red Sea region in order to protect and defend our personnel and assets, and to disrupt the Houthi capabilities used to conduct or support further attacks that could further destabilize the region and threaten United States strategic interests. The strikes were taken to degrade Houthi capacity to conduct future attacks and were conducted in a manner designed to limit the risk of escalation and avoid civilian casualties.
I directed this military action consistent with my responsibility to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and to conduct United States foreign relations. The United States took this necessary and proportionate action consistent with international law and in the exercise of the United States’ inherent right of self-defense as reflected in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The United States stands ready to take further action, as necessary and appropriate, to address further threats or attacks.
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.