This Week at War: Will of Victory

The Stream's weekly look at the ongoing sacrifices of U.S. troops and military families around the world.

U.S. Army soldiers clear their weapons at the conclusion of a live fire exercise at Qayyarah West Airfield in Iraq on June 19, 2019.

By Tom Sileo Published on July 12, 2019

Iraq and Syria

“U.S.-led coalition warplanes” are part of an Iraqi military operation launched this week to clear ISIS fighters from a large desert leading to the country’s border with Syria, according to The Defense Post.

Iraq named the anti-terror operation – which started Sunday, according to the article – “Will of Victory.” It involves combat missions in the Iraqi provinces of Salahaddin, Nineveh and Anbar.

“We press on the hands of our heroic forces that will achieve victory with the will of its heroes against the gangs of (ISIS),” said Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, as quoted by Voice of America. “May God protect you and make you victorious.”

While it is unclear exactly how many American service members are involved in Will of Victory, please pray for the safety of all U.S. troops deployed to one of the world’s most dangerous regions. We are eternally grateful for the sacrifices of our military.

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With thousands of Americans still serving in Afghanistan, peace negotiations are seemingly making progress toward ending the 17-plus year conflict, which began just after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

NBC News reports “America’s longest war may yet be inching toward a conclusion” while quoting the U.S. envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, as saying the latest round of talks with the Taliban have been the “most productive session” yet.

Negotiations have not stopped the ongoing violence in Afghanistan. This New York Times piece outlines – in sobering detail – the dear price the country’s population is paying on a daily basis despite the U.S. military’s best efforts to defend them from the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

Nothing could be more horrific than what happened Sunday when the Taliban viciously and inexcusably struck a school in eastern Afghanistan. At least one child died and more than 100 were hurt during the attack, which was apparently targeting a nearby government installation.

“The whole place was covered with blood — I was trying to decide who to help first,” the Ghazni school’s headmaster, Hekmatullah Zaki, told the Times.

Please pray for these innocent Afghan children and their families, as well as our country’s military and political leaders as they try to end this war.

Coming Home

Independence Day weekend couldn’t have been any more special in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, where over 100 airmen deployed in support of the ongoing mission in Afghanistan made their triumphant return to American soil.

Home from Afghanistan

Airmen return from deployment on July 5, 2019, at Quonset Air National Guard Base in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

Welcome home, heroes! Thank you for defending our freedom.


Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is co-author of 8 Seconds of CourageBrothers Forever and Fire in My Eyes. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo and The Stream at @Streamdotorg

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