Iraqi and US officials have been talking up the idea that the Iraqi government, backed by US forces, would take over the major ISIS city of Mosul by year’s end. President Obama seems to be rapidly backpedaling away from that prediction, as Iraqi defection mount.
In today’s comments, President Obama would only say that Mosul will “eventually” fall back under Iraqi control, and said he figures by the end of the year the “conditions” will be in place whereby that eventual victory can happen sooner or later.
The comments came as the administration announced another 200 ground troops into a war that Obama has long insisted would have no boots on the ground at all, bringing the official US figure for troops to 4,087, and the overall US presence to well over 5,000.
Iraqi officials seemed to expect much more success with a recent offensive near Mosul, but quickly saw that offensive stall amid mass defections. Even with additional US troops now being sent to the area, it is seen as unlikely that the Iraqi military will be able to make a serious push at such a major, heavily defended city any time soon.