Obama’s Islamic State policy threatens Clinton election victory

October 27, 2016 by David Singer
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President Obama’s decision to agree to Iraqi and Peshmerga forces attacking Mosul to degrade and destroy Islamic State just three weeks before the US elections sounds alarm bells for the prospects of Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump on 8 November…writes David Singer.Secretary of Defence Ash Carter confirmed Obama’s decision on 17 October.

The timing of the attack is very concerning.

Obama’s decision accords with his policy enunciated as far back as 10 September 2014:

“But this is not our fight alone.  American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. “ 

Obama had then further elaborated:

“…we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground…

… As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq.  But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.” 

The same day as Carter issued his statement – General Stephen Townsend, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve – reportedly acknowledged the presence of “forward air controllers” amongst the US “advisory” contributions to the battle.

Those American “advisory” contributions now appear to have included an explosive ordnance disposal technician – Jason Finan – working with a Navy SEAL team near Mosul who was killed by an Islamic State bomb on October 20.

Both Carter and Townsend were meeting together in Irbil on 23 October when Townsend stated:

“Our investigation is still underway, but as I understand the event right now, they had moved to a position on the battlefield behind the Iraqi front lines with a headquarters element….

…These guys said you know what, we probably need to move back a terrain and gain a little bit more stand-off.  And they were in the process of that when they struck an IED.”

Such direct involvement of American troops on the ground – leading to the death of an American soldier – seems a distinct departure from Obama’s 2014 policy.

Entrusting Iraqi and Peshmerga troops to defeat Islamic State – declared a threat to world peace and security by the United Nations Security Council – was always a high risk Obama policy.

Now that attack has started – Hillary Clinton has been effectively lumbered with Obama’s policy if she becomes America’s next President.

Any suggestion of abandoning Obama’s policy now would send a bad signal to American voters.

Clinton’s situation has been further complicated by Carter indicating at the same press conference:

“… we want to see isolation operations begin, oriented at Raqqa as soon as possible.  We’re working with our partners there to do that.  And so there will be some simultaneity to these two operations.  We’ve long anticipated that.”

This contradicts what Clinton said in the third Presidential debate:

“The goal here is to take back Mosul. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’ve got no illusions about that. And then continue to press into Syria to begin to take back and move on Raqqa, which is the ISIS headquarters.”

The IBD/TIPP poll finds widespread dissatisfaction with America’s direction – 62% of the public saying it’s headed in the wrong direction.

Obama’s decision could not have come at a worse time for Clinton.

Joseph Chamberlain said in 1886:

“In politics, there is no use in looking beyond the next fortnight.”

Pollsters beware.

Pictures of body bags returning dead American soldiers, never-ending TV reports of murdered and injured civilians and people fleeing Mosul could certainly cause a huge voter backlash.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


5 Responses to “Obama’s Islamic State policy threatens Clinton election victory”
  1. Milton David Fisher says:

    Obama thinks it is more important to do the right thing that is good for the US than to get Clinton elected. She will probably be elected anyway over Trump who is favoured by antisemites like David Duke.

    • david singer says:


      It hardly seems the right thing for the US for Obama to send American troops into the fight to defeat Islamic State by attacking Mosul and Raqqa just as Obama is on the point of walking away from the Presidency leaving the next President to take over any problems arising from Obama’s decision.

      He would have done the US a better service had he postponed any action to win back Mosul and Raqqa so as to give his successor a free hand on what to do.

      If Obama is doing this purely to create some sort of legacy for himself and his Presidency then he should be doubly scorned.

      One American soldier already dead because of a departing Obama’s decision to order his troops into this battle for Mosul and Raqqa is one too many – not to mention the hundreds of civilians already killed in just ten days of fighting.

      • Milton David Fisher says:

        Obama is still president and will be until there is a new president. If the new president does not want to carry on his policies that is up to the president. However, since WW2 all the wars the US has been engaged in are illegal. Article section 8 gives the Congress the power to declare wars. Unless the US has been attacked any president has no business ordering US troops into action unless it is either to fulfill a treaty obligation, there has been an attack or a declaration. Obama is acting in the same illegal way that many of his predecessors have acted. IMHO all the presidents who have ordered troops into action with neither a declaration, a treaty obligation nor an attack should have been removed from office. However, I regard Obama as on of the better of a bad lot.

        • david singer says:

          It will be a bit late for President Clinton to resile from President Obama’s last moment decision to back an attack on Mosul by Iraqi and Peshmerga ground troops – as civilian deaths and casualties mount and the offensive becomes bogged down with American servicemen involved on the ground and in the air.

          Obama’s decision at this late stage of his Presidency is going to come under increasing scrutiny and criticism.

          That it was taken illegally – as you yourself note – makes his decision even more open to condemnation.

          • Milton David Fisher says:

            You agree that the US troops are there illegally. The US should simply get out of the Middle East and not supply arms to anybody at all in the area including Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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