The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee threatened to subpoena Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to testify about the administration’s policy in Iran, Iraq and the Middle East following the US drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad.
The warning comes as Democrats continue to demand clarity over why Qassem Soleimani — the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force — was targeted in an attack they say escalated tensions in the Middle East and put US forces at risk of counterattacks from Iran and its proxies in the region.
The hearing will give Pompeo a chance to present the administration’s “justification — both legal and policy — underpinning its use of military force against Qassem Soleimani, Shia militas, and other targets in Iraq and Iran,” according to the letter sent by Democratic Chairman Eliot Engel of New York.
Both the House and the Senate are considering legislation to block Trump from carrying out such strikes without congressional authorisations. The new hearing with Pompeo is scheduled for January 29, according to the Foreign Affairs Committee.
In addition to sparking a Iranian missile barrage on a US base in Iraq, Soleimani’s killing also prompted Iraq’s parliament to call for the departure of US forces, a move that risks undermining the fight against IS. Pompeo responded to Iraq’s demand by saying America would review its force posture in the country, but wouldn’t pull out.