Jeb Bush's ISIL strategy | | Al Jazeera

Jeb Bush's ISIL strategy

Republican presidential candidate blames Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for not doing enough to combat ISIL.

    Some analysts and lawmakers have suggested that US combat units may eventually be needed on the ground to fight ISIL [AP]
    Some analysts and lawmakers have suggested that US combat units may eventually be needed on the ground to fight ISIL [AP]

    His brother launched a war in the Middle East that cost tens of thousands of lives and is now partly blamed for the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL).

    So now Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is trying to change the narrative, an early move that may pay dividends later in his bid for the White House in 2016.

    On Tuesday, the sibling of former US President George W Bush launched his first major foreign policy offensive against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and current US President Barack Obama.

    In excerpts released by the Jeb campaign, he blamed Obama and Clinton - while US secretary of state - for not doing enough to stop the rise of ISIL. He also criticised them for withdrawing American forces from Iraq too early.

    "That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIL moved in to fill - and that Iran has exploited to the full as well," he said.

    The former Florida governor is not only establishing his foreign policy credentials early in the race, says John Hudak, political analyst at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, but also trying to re-work the narrative that his brother George is ultimately responsible for the turmoil in the Middle East because of his decision to send troops to Afghanistan and Iraq back in 2001 and 2003.

    "A line like 'I am a Bush, we know foreign policy’, is a) unsatisfying, b) reminds of dynasties and c) could lead people to remember George W Bush’s foreign policy in a poor light," says Hudak.

    Putting the war’s failures and the rise of ISIL on Obama and Clinton is a better long-term strategy. "It is a tougher sell outside of a Republican primary, but the benefit for Jeb Bush is that he can focus on it now, offer remarks he will not have to walk back later, and if he wants to avoid focus on his brother’s record simply opt not to bring it up at a later date," adds Hudak.

    At the moment, the US is engaged in a coalition bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria to destroy ISIL. Some analysts and lawmakers have suggested that American combat units may eventually be needed on the ground.

    But Bush is not going there, saying in his remarks, "Instead of simply reacting to each new move the terrorists choose to make, we will use every advantage we have - to take the offensive, to keep it, and to prevail. In all of this, the United States must engage with friends and allies, and lead again in that vital region."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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