New reports indicate that the Obama administration is pressuring for a premature offensive against ISIS to take the strategic city of Mosul for political reasons.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Barbero spoke to The Washington Times in an interview, saying: “There is tremendous concern that Washington is going to press for a Mosul operation to commence before the November election. The concern is, will the conditions be set on the ground by then, and I don’t think so.”
Barbero commanded troops in the Persian Gulf War.
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The retired general indicated that the battle by Iraqi security forces to retake the city will be very hard fought. He stated: “We all know the conditions for this. This is going to be a different fight. They are going to fight to the death in Mosul, and we have got to make sure that the conditions are set so we can destroy them.”
If the offensive against Mosul were completed before Obama leaves office in January, the president could claim credit for victory against ISIS.
Also, an early offensive against Mosul would play to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s advantage in November, as she would be able to say that the Obama administration has made real headway against ISIS.
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Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who runs U.S. Central Command, also expressed caution about a premature offensive against ISIS in Mosul at a recent coalition war planning session.
Votel said: “It’s a big city — 2 million people, large geographic area — so we want to make sure we’re well prepared. So things like force generation, making sure we’ve got the right stabilization plan in place, and we’ve got the right political aspects in place here to help manage that city after the fight has gone, I think are important aspects.”
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