(IranMania) - US Democratic and Republican senators voiced strong concern that the Iraq war could spread to neighboring Iran and Syria if the US military were to chase militants across the border.
President Bush, who accuses Iran and Syria of fomenting the violence in Iraq, on Wednesday proposed sending 21,500 more US troops to try to restore security nearly four years after the US-led invasion, reports Trend.
Bush sparked worries that the conflict may widen by his comment that "we'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."
US officials said their plan was to disrupt such networks while staying inside Iraq, but their comments did not appear to mollify senior US lawmakers.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden bluntly told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice he did not think Bush had the authority to launch attacks to stamp out militant networks in Iran and Syria.
"If the president concluded he had to invade Iran ... or Syria in pursuit of these networks, I believe the present authorization granted the president to use force in Iraq does not cover that and he does need congressional authority to do that," said Biden.
"I just want to set that marker," added the Delaware Democrat, who later wrote Bush a letter asking for an "authoritative answer" on whether he believed US forces could cross into Iran or Syria without congressional authorization.
In a testy hearing about Bush's new plan for Iraq, Rice said she did not want to speculate on the president's constitutional authority for such action.