- The Washington Times - Monday, October 17, 2016

The White House rejected suggestions Monday that the battle to roust the Islamic State from Iraq’s second-largest city was launched to benefit the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the decision to start the military campaign for Mosul on Sunday was solely in the hands of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

“He’s not going to be distracted by the American political calendar,” Mr. Earnest said. “He’s going to be focused on the strategic considerations that are most likely to contribute to success on the ground in Iraq.”

The president’s spokesman acknowledged that there is “close coordination” between the Abadi government, the Obama administration and the senior members of Iraqi security forces and the U.S. military.

“But ultimately the decision to move forward with this operation is one that was made and should be made by the prime minister of Iraq,” he said.

Mr. Earnest said the Iraqi leader is “looking out for the best interests of the Iraqi people.”



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