TIME Iraq

Obama Authorizes Air Strikes in Iraq to Help Retake Dam

The U.S. is helping the Iraqi government reclaim the Mosul Dam

President Obama formally notified Congress on Sunday that he had authorized “limited” air strikes in Iraq to help the Iraqi Security Force combat the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement that Obama’s authorizations, which were done at the request of the Iraqi government, were consistent with the War Powers Resolution, which mandates congressional approval before the President can push the country into war.

The air strikes in Iraq were meant to help the ISF re-establish control over the Mosul Dam, an important site in the battle against the Sunni militant group.

“The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, threaten U.S. personnel and facilities — including the U.S. embassy in Baghdad — and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace,” the statement says.

ISIS control of the dam gives it the position to force a famine on the rest of the Iraq or cause massive flooding.

U.S. Central Command announced that it conducted 14 air strikes on Sunday, successfully damaging or destroying a number of ISIS vehicles as well as an ISIS checkpoint. Central Command had previously announced nine air strikes on Saturday.

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