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Israeli bombings considered a ‘declaration of war,’ says Iraqi political bloc

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Journalist Rania Khalek said it was “difficult to believe Israel would strike Iraq without a green light from the U.S.”

Iraqi parliamentary Shiite leaders in the Fatah Movement political party on Monday issued a statement calling weekend airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Israeli military in western Iraq tantamount to a “declaration of war.”

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The statement placed blame for the strikes not only with the Israeli military but also with American forces.

“While we reserve the right to respond to these Zionist attacks, we hold the international coalition, particularly the United States, fully responsible for this aggression which we consider a declaration of war on Iraq and its people,” the statement read.

Sunday’s strikes in Iraq targeted forces with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the state-backed militia group that has fought ISIS at the Iraqi-Syrian border for years.

Among the dead was a commander with the PMF. Ten thousand people reportedly attended his funeral Monday.

“These strikes won’t break us, they’ll make us stronger,” PMF Lt. Gen. Hussein Abed Muttar told The Associated Press.

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In a tweet, journalist Rania Khalek pointed to the U.S. role in signing off on strikes like Sunday’s and said that such attacks were not strategically sound.

“It makes zero sense that a base in Iraq that belongs to the Iraqi army would pose a threat to Israel,” said Khalek. “It’s also difficult to believe Israel would strike Iraq without a green light from the U.S.”

In Lebanon Sunday, two drones alleged to belong to the Israeli military were downed. The drones, one of which was reportedly armed with explosives, were alleged by Hezbollah to have targeted a Hezbollah communications center in Beruit.

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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a statement that the attacks were part of a cynical reelection strategy by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—a strategy, Nasrallah said, that would end badly for Netanyahu.

“Netanyahu knows that his destiny is either in the prime minister’s office or prison, he is doing this with the blood of Lebanese and Iraqis,” said Nasrallah. “But this time, Israelis, Netanyahu is electioneering with your own blood.”

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The attacks come as tensions between Iran and Israel are rising. Israeli drones also attacked a Syrian convoy on the Iraqi border, a strike that was claimed by Israel in a rare admission by the state.

According to Reuters:

The Israeli military said its aircraft struck “Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militias which were preparing to advance attack plans targeting sites in Israel from within Syria over the last number of days.” The elite Quds Force is the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

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The Israeli government followed up the attacks Monday by cutting fuel transfers to Gaza.

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Impeachment is no longer political — it’s a matter of basic evidence: Ex-prosecutor

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On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," former federal prosecutor John Flannery argued that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ukraine special envoy William Taylor laid out the facts of President Donald Trump's wrongdoing so clearly that impeachment is effectively no longer a political question.

"I thought that Schiff and Taylor at the outset of the hearing, if people only listened to the first hour, had a really good picture of what was going on, and the most important thing, I think, that the Republicans never dealt with was what we knew before the hearing started," said Flannery. "We had the president, we had Mulvaney, and we had Rudy Giuliani, all telling us they’d basically done this, and the readout also confirmed that. Now, what we have here is the most amazing corroborating information by two blameless individuals that can’t be accused of being anti-Trump who have had a history of service to this nation and who could not be contradicted in any particular."

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Republicans are trying to make Trump’s lies into truths: Political columnist

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Political columnist and reporter Greg Sargent wrote in his response to the first day of impeachment hearings in the House that it's clear the Republican members are trying to turn lies about Ukraine into truth.

Writing in The Washington Post, Sargent explained how Republicans are working to make Trump's lies about the Bidens and 2016 into believable truths, just as he's also trying to extort Ukraine.

"This created an amusing disconnect that in one sense actually served to undercut the defense of Trump — at least, in the real world outside the Fox News bubble in which those conspiracy theories and lies are taken as gospel truths," wrote Sargent.

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Giuliani can’t whine about ‘fair play’ when his boss is denying electoral fairness to the American people: columnist

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President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani has been raging against the impeachment investigation that came about, in large part, due to his own behavior. On Tuesday, he wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal lamenting that the impeachment process is "unprecedented, constitutionally questionable, and an affront to American fair play."

As Danielle Allen wrote for the Washington Post on Wednesday, Giuliani wanting to talk about "fair play" is a rich proposition.

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