Taking Back Mosul Could Swing The 2016 Election

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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U.S. and Iraqi military officials are planning the assault on Mosul for the beginning of October, and if successful, the operation would mark a major victory for President Barack Obama’s Islamic State strategy and could give a bump to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Military officials stressed the timing of the operation has nothing to do with politics, saying instead it’s a military necessity. The terrorist group stunned the world with its seizure of Mosul in 2014 and looted nearly 400 million dollars from the city’s bank.

“Hurrying this thing along for political benefit would be just about the dumbest thing that we could do,” one U.S. Central Command official told Politico Magazine. The military official elaborated “there’s been no pressure for us to do that.”

The seizure of Mosul by the Iraqi Security Forces will mark a major event in the U.S. war effort against ISIS.

Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq, and the last major city that remains under ISIS’s control. The U.S. is also concentrating a large share of its airpower on the Iraqi-Syrian border, which ISIS uses to ferry supplies between Mosul and its Syrian capital of Raqqa.

Mosul’s recapture could inspire voter confidence in the Obama administration’s ISIS policy, which Clinton has largely adopted. Senior military officials expect that victory in Mosul could come at the end of October, which is just days away from election day on November 8.

The forces taking part in the assault on Mosul, raise important issues for Iraq’s future. The operation will reportedly co-opt Iraqi Shiite Militias, Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and regular Iraqi Security Forces. Iraqi shiite militias have deep ties to Iran and are linked to major human rights violations when in Sunni areas. Mosul is a historically Sunni area, and the Sunni population may chafe at being liberated by a majority Shiite force.

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