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A pedestrian walks past the site for the third presidential debate between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Before the debate, let's decode where the candidates stand on Mosul and ISIS


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WATCH | Here's where the presidential candidates stand on Mosul 

The Mosul military offensive to remove ISIS from Iraq's second largest city is playing out before the final presidential debate scheduled for Wednesday. More than likely it will be part of the debate fodder, as the two very different presidential candidates wage their own battle in Las Vegas on how they would eliminate the terrorist organization. 

Trump and Hillary will battle over Mosul

GOP candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton may pivot from domestic issues to the ongoing unrest in the Middle East and particularly Iraq, as they face off at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for the debate.  Roughly 300 American troops and advisors are aiding the Iraqi military and Kurdish forces to liberate Mosul from ISIS. The city has been under siege by ISIS for more than two years.

Obama's last opportunity to clear ISIS out of Iraq 

It may be President Obama's last opportunity to push ISIS out of Iraq, which entered the country during his tenure as president . A successful operation in Mosul could be viewed as a legacy move for the president and give the Democrats a win before the election.

"I am confident, just as ISIL has been defeated in communities across Iraq, ISIL will be defeated in Mosul as well, and that will be another step toward their ultimate destruction," Obama said.

Mosul won't be won overnight

Obama stressed that the battle for Mosul and against ISIS won't be won overnight. It will be a battle the next president will inherit.

Military advisors and experts working in both camps have long stressed their opinions about what needs to be done to fight ISIS. And both have very different ideas on how to get it done. 

Clinton will kill ISIS leader 

Clinton will say the current offensive in Mosul demonstrates America's strength and determination to fight the terrorist organization. She will reiterate what she has said in the past, that targeting and killing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdhadi "will send a resounding message that nobody directs or inspires attacks against the United States and gets away with it." 

Clinton says Trump has no plan 

Clinton will also argue that the GOP candidate has no detailed plan on how to go after ISIS and criticizes Trump for not having the temperament to handle foreign crisis.

"He has no plan," Clinton has stated numerous times in the past. 

Trump says Obama and Clinton allowed ISIS to spread worldwide 

Trump, however, will argue that it was Clinton and President Obama who allowed ISIS to grow. His advisors have argued that Mosul is a bandage to a much larger issue and the terrorist group exists in more than 30 plus countries around the world. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, an advisor of Trump who has spoken to Circa numerous times, said their main objective is to target the ideology, as well as the leadership. 

How Trump will tackle ISIS

Trump will argue again that Clinton and Obama will not win the war because they fail to call it "radical Islam." He says this quite often and it isn't expected to change.

"These are radical Islamic terrorists and she won't even mention the word, nor will President Obama," said Trump at the Oct. 9 debate. 

Russia and Iran?

And if for some reason, either Clinton or Trump mention Russia and Iran, listen closely because there are direct ties to Mosul. That's because in the region this isn't just a battle over one city or one terrorist group, it's been described by military experts as a proxy war for power.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC

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