Several U.S. officers in Baghdad have come forward stating they believe Obama is rushing plans for a Mosul offensive so that it takes place before the 2016 presidential election. One retired general, Ret. Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Barbero, spoke to the Washington Times and stated that several contacts from Baghdad have reached out to him citing fears of an “artificial timeline.” Many generals believe that the upcoming attempt to liberate mosul will be the most difficult battle in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and should not, under any circumstances, be rushed. Troops state that the Iraqi Security Forces, an integral sect of the U.S.-led coalition to recapture the city, are not prepared for a rushed operation.
Mosul has a population of nearly 2 million people, approximately 10,000 of those people are ISIS fighters. Officials in Baghdad believe that Obama will force the offensive to be carried out in the next four months to help Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The believe the offensive will be used to discredit Republican’s claims that the Obama administration is not doing enough in the fight against ISIS and are letting them run a global terror operation with little resistance. Barbero commented on the accelerated timeline:
“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.”
If the city is liberated before Obama leaves office in January it will allow him to claim victory in the second war in Iraq. This will give the public the impression that the Obama administration was the driving force behind the liberation. However, it has been noted that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has stated that he wants the city liberated by the end of the year. Army Col. Christopher Garver confirmed with the The Times that there is an accelerated push but denies the motive being political glory. He claims that American troops are supporting Iraqi forces and must operate in stride with the Iraqi timeline. He stated:
“I am not aware of any influence like that on the timeline for Mosul operations. We are supporting the Iraqi Security Forces and their timeline. We will do what we can to help the Iraqis make that happen.”
The city of Mosul is being evacuated by civilians at an unprecedented rate. The number of people fleeing the city and it’s surrounding area has been steadily increasing for weeks as citizens prepare for the liberation. ISIS forces have also been fast at work, booby-trapping the city with explosives and executing any people caught attempting to escape.