Obama hoping for quick Mosul victory to validate Islamic State strategy, boost Clinton
With the fight for Mosul entering its second week, the Obama administration is under pressure to declare victory over the Islamic State, a win the White House says would validate the president’s strategy of waging proxy wars against the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria days before Americans head to the polls.
A quick victory by U.S.-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces also would reinforce Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s tenuous hold on power in Baghdad, where he faces an increasingly frustrated Sunni bloc in parliament and Shiite factions allied with former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki looking to undermine the regime.
But wresting total control of Iraq’s second-largest city from the Islamic State — also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh — likely will take months. Iraqi forces face heavy fighting by a tenacious enemy as they close in on Mosul.
Obama administration officials may well declare victory in Mosul once pockets of Islamic State resistance are cleared out, but the challenge will be defining a win and making sure it sticks, said Thomas Donnelly, a resident national security fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington. – READ MORE