The US Has Deployed Troops To Lebanon Now, and Other Deltas in the New War Powers Resolution Letter

The White House last night sent its semi-annual War Powers Resolution letter to Congress disclosing deployments of U.S. troops “equipped for combat” (a sometimes ambiguous category – guards at Guantanamo count, but not troops along the DMZ in the Korean Peninsula). I compared it to the June 2017 letter and identified the following deltas:

  1. The new letter keeps secret US troop levels in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Cameroon. By contrast the previous letter had disclosed that they were then around 8,448; 5,262; 503; and 285, respectively.
  2. The new letter deletes any reference to the United Nations Security Council having authorized the continuing Afghanistan mission.
  3. The new letter acknowledges that the US has struck several times at Syrian government and pro-Syrian government forces, asserting that they were “lawful” to counter threats to “U.S. and partner forces” engaged in the counter-ISIS campaign.
  4. The new letter acknowledges that US forces, in addition to striking at AQAP (and, for the first time, ISIS) in Yemen, have also been providing logistics and other support to “regional forces” (e.g. the Saudis) combating the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war.
  5. The new letter reveals that the number of US troops stationed in Jordan has dropped from about 2,850 to about 2,300
  6. The new letter acknowledges for the first time that the US has stationed about 100 troops in Lebanon to help the Lebanese government as it fights ISIS
  7. The new letter says about 800 US troops are in now Niger, up from about 575 six months ago
  8. The new letter acknowledges that four service-members were killed in the ambush in Niger in October. It says the perpetrators were “an element assessed to be part of ISIS.”
  9. The new letter says US troops in Egypt have dropped to about 400, from 700 as of June
  10. The new letter says US troops in Kosovo have dropped to  640, from 774