The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

Damn The War Criminals,Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Powell and Blair from England.

How many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago? Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again.

The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in our country as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime.

Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of a mostly amnesiac citizenry.

We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

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The McGlynn

War News

AP: Iraqi war victims turn to social media to find medical help

Saja Ahmed Saleem

In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 photo, Saja Ahmed Saleem, who was injured in an explosion in 2007, talks to The Associated Press before her reconstructive surgery in Baghdad, Iraq. Those whom treatment not available at state-run hospitals and can’t afford treatment at private clinics rely on social media to make appeals that grab attention of some surgeons to help them regain a chance at life. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

BAGHDAD (AP) — It was spring 2007 in northern Iraq when 6-year-old Saja Saleem raced home from school with the good news about her excellent grades, hoping to receive the gift her father had promised her.

“All of a sudden, I found myself spinning into the air with fire trailing from my school uniform after a loud boom,” Saleem, now 17, recounted to The Associated Press.

Saleem lost her eyesight, right arm and an ear in the explosion, set off by a roadside bomb. Months later, her disfiguring injuries forced her to drop out of school after other students complained about her “scary face.

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REU: Islamic State says U.S.-led strikes kill 40 in militant pocket in Syria.

AMMAN (Reuters) – At least forty people, mostly women and children were killed on Saturday in the latest wave of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against the last remaining Islamic State-held pocket in Syria near the border with Iraq, the militants and some local residents said.

Asked about reports of air strikes in the Buqan area near Hajin on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River on Saturday, the coalitio’s spokesman confirmed that there were strikes but denied there were civilian casualties.

Colonel Sean Ryan, the coalition spokesman, said “the coalition takes great measures to identify and strike appropriate ISIS targets in order to avoid non-combatant casualties.”

Islamic State’s Amaq news agency quoted a medical source as saying 40 people had been killed, a claim which was also made by Syrian state media.

Relatives of families from the area and Syrian state media said dozens of people have been killed in the last two weeks from U.S. coalition airstrikes in Hajin and areas around it.

The Syrian government protested just over a week ago to the United Nations about an air strike by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State which it said killed 26 civilians in Hajin.

The fighting is the latest phase of efforts by the U.S.-led coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to clear Islamic State from its last foothold east of the Euphrates River following last year’s defeat of the group in Raqqa, its Syrian headquarters.

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AP: US-led coalition denies reports it killed dozens in Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S.-led coalition denied reports that airstrikes it carried out in a part of eastern Syria held by the Islamic State group killed dozens of civilians, while opposition activists reported clashes Sunday between government forces and IS in nearby districts.

The coalition said late Saturday that it struck only “legitimate” militant targets, and that another 10 airstrikes in the area were not carried out by U.S.-led forces.

IS controls an area in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border where some 15,000 people, including fighters and their families, live. U.S.-backed fighters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been trying to capture the area since September.

Syrian government forces and Iran-backed militiamen have also bombarded the IS-held area in recent weeks, according to opposition activists.

Syrian state media, a war monitor and an IS-linked news agency reported Saturday that coalition airstrikes killed 40 people, mostly women and children.

The coalition said in a statement late Saturday that it conducted 19 strikes in the area starting late Friday in support of ground operations against IS. It said no civilians were present near the targets it struck.

Syria and Russia regularly launch airstrikes against suspected militants, and Iraq has carried out cross-border strikes targeting IS.

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NYT: Report: US-Led Airstrikes Kill 40 in IS-Held Area of Syria

BEIRUT — U.S-led coalition airstrikes on the last pocket held by Islamic State militants in Syria near the Iraqi border killed at least 40 people, mostly women and children, a war monitor and Syrian state media reported.

The coalition confirmed strikes in the area but said no “civilian casualties are associated” with them, reiterating that it takes measures to avoid non-combatant casualties.

“We have witnessed (IS) using places of worship and hospitals as command centers against the laws of war, and innocent civilians as human shields,” Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the coalition, said in an email to The Associated Press.

The remote area near the border with Iraq is difficult to access and it was not possible to independently verify the reports.

However, Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the early Saturday airstrikes hit homes in Abu al-Hassan village, near the town of Hajin, which lies along the border with Iraq.

Abdurrahman said the airstrikes killed at least 43 people, including 17 children and 12 women. He said it was not immediately clear if the men killed in the strikes were militants.

Syrian state news agency SANA also reported the strikes, saying 40 were killed in the remote area of Buqaan, another village next to Abu al-Hassan, in Deir el-Zour province.

The IS-linked Aamaq news agency also reported 40 killed, quoting a medical official in the Hajin area.

Activist Omar Abou Leila, who monitors the war in Deir el-Zour from Europe, also confirmed the strikes but said it was difficult to verify the death toll. Abou Leila said IS militants are preventing civilians from leaving the area, resulting in the high casualty toll among them……………..The Observatory has recorded at least 191 civilians killed since Sept. 10, including 65 children and 45 women. They are mostly Iraqis and believed to include family members of IS militants, the Observatory added.

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REU: Rebels say Syrian army steps up attacks in Idlib

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian rebels said on Saturday the Syrian army and their allies were intensifying attacks on a demilitarised zone in the northwest in an attempt to undermine a Russian-Turkish deal that has averted a major offensive on their last stronghold.

They said the army has stepped up its onslaught with hundreds of mortar and rocket attacks on a string of rebel-held villages and towns in northern Hama, southern Idlib and Latakia that fall within a demilitarized zone agreed last September between Russia and Turkey.

“The regime has targeted all the fronts in the demilitarised zone. We have responded by striking at their military posts that have struck populated villages and towns,” said Captain Naji Abu Huthaifa, a spokesman for the National Liberation Front, an alliance of Turkish-backed rebels.

Russia and Turkey reached a deal in Sochi last September to enforce a demilitarised zone in Idlib and adjacent areas that are the last stronghold of rebels who rose against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.

REU: Turkey says U.S. support for Syrian Kurdish YPG a “big mistake”

ANKARA (Reuters) – The United States’ support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia is a “big mistake”, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said late on Saturday, adding that the issue had strained ties between the NATO allies.

Turkey has been infuriated with Washington’s support for the YPG, which it views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.

U.S.-Turkey ties have been strained over issues including U.S. policy in Syria, the case of an American pastor in Turkey, and Turkey’s demands for the extradition of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for a 2016 failed coup.

Cavusoglu, who is in the United States on an official visit, said tensions between Ankara and Washington stemmed from U.S. support for the YPG and the issue of Gulen, against whom he said the FBI had launched an investigation.

“Despite knowing and acknowledging that (the YPG) is the same organisation (as the PKK), seeing this cooperation as necessary is really a big mistake,” Cavusoglu said, adding that he would discuss bilateral relations with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said he had told U.S. Chief of Staff Joseph Dunford that Turkey expected the United States to stop its support for the YPG as soon as possible, according to the state-owned Anadolu news agency.

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NYT: U.S. Envoy Hopes for Peace Deal With Taliban in 2019: Media

KABUL — The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan hopes to cement a peace deal with Taliban insurgents by April 2019, local media reported on Sunday.

Zalmay Khalilzad, in Kabul to lead talks between the United States, the Taliban and the Afghan government, told reporters he hopes “a peace deal is reached before April 20 next year”, when Afghanistan is planning to hold a presidential election.

The Afghan-born U.S. diplomat said he remained “cautiously optimistic” about the peace talks.

Khalilzad, chosen by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to hold direct talks with the Taliban, met the leaders of the hardline Islamist group in Qatar last month to find ways to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

On Sunday Khalilzad said the end state of the talks would be “peace and a successful Afghanistan, one that doesn’t pose any threats to itself and to the international community”.

The Taliban spokesman was not immediately available for comment but two senior Taliban leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Taliban leaders will present a new set of demands to Khalilzad.

The insurgents, fighting to expel foreign forces and defeat the Western-backed Afghan government, last month presented demands to Khalilzad that included a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the release of senior Taliban from jails.

In October, Pakistan released one of the co-founders of the Taliban and another high-ranking commander.

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NYT: Roadside Bomb Kills 2 Local Officials in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan authorities say a roadside bomb has killed two local officials in the eastern Logar province.

Shah Poor Ahmadzai, spokesman for the provincial police chief, says that the acting district chief and intelligence director in the Baraki Barak district were killed in the blast late Saturday as they were heading toward the district headquarters.

The Taliban claimed the attack.

The insurgents carry out near-daily attacks targeting security forces and government officials, including by planting roadside bombs, which often kill civilians. The Taliban have seized control of nearly half the country in recent years.

Khalilzad eyes peace agreement with Taliban before presidential elections

The U.S. Special Adviser for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad eyes a peace agreement with the Taliban group ahead of presidential elections.

Ambassador Khalilzad cautiously expressed optimisms regarding the reconciliation between the Afghan government and Taliban and said he expects a breakthrough until April of 2019.

In the meantime, informed sources have told Western media outlets that Ambassador Khalilzad met with the Taliban political leaders in Qatar during separate meetings which lasted for three days.

The meetings were reportedly attended by Taliban leaders Khairullah Khairkhwa and Mohammad Afzal.

According to the reports, the Taliban militants have demanded the suspension of presidential elections and formation of a transitional government.

Khalilzad arrived in Kabul last week to the meet with the Afghan leaders and officials ahead of his trip to Qatar.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, said last week that Ambassador Khalilzad briefed President Ghani regarding the ongoing efforts for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and his planned trips to certain countries.

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Gen. Dunford says Taliban ‘are not losing’ in Afghanistan

The Chairman of the JointChiefs of Staff of the U.S. Military General Joseph Dunford has said that the Taliban ‘are not losing’ in Afghanistan.

Gen. Joseph Dunford has reportedly made the remarks in a security forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Emphasizing that much more needs to be done to bring peace to the war-torn country, Gen. Dunford has said “They are not losing right now, I think that is fair to say.”

Gen. Dunford further added “We used the term stalemate a year ago and, relatively speaking, it has not changed much.”

He also added that there would never be a “military solution” on its own to bring peace to Afghanistan, the United States and its Nato partners are working to leverage military, political and economic pressure to convince the Taliban it is in their interest to negotiate a political solution to the crisis with the government in Kabul.

Gen. Dunford has said “Without going into detail here, we do believe the Taliban know that at some point they do have to reconcile. The key to success is to combine all that pressure to incentivize the Taliban” to negotiate.

This comes as the Afghan government and the international allies of Afghanistan are have stepped up efforts to end the ongoing conflict through reconciliation process.

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