'Trump is best ISIS recruiter': Clinton, Sanders round on GOP 'Islamophobia' in 3rd Democrat debate

Hillary Clinton balanced her attacks on the Republicans with her disapproval of Democrat rivals in the latest debate. The senator called Republican frontrunner Donald Trump “ISIS’s best recruiter,” but also lashed out at Bernie Sanders for criticizing regime change in Syria.

Saturday’s Democrat party debate was marked by more unification against the Republican camp than before.

Millionaire mogul Donald Trump, perceived by the former Secretary of State as the biggest threat, received a beating from Clinton for aggravating an already tense climate of Islamophobia in the US and abroad.

“He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists," she proclaimed. The truth of the claim could not be verified and neither camp would comment, according to ABC News.

“I worry greatly that the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States and literally around the world that there is a clash of civilizations… that there is some kind of Western plot or even war against Islam, which then I believe fans the flames of radicalization,"  she continued, most likely in reference to Trump’s suggestion to ban all Muslims from entering the United States – the latest of his remarks on the threat of terrorism.

When it came to gun control, Clinton stood firm on her core principle that guns will not make Americans safer – something the Democrats like to use against the Republicans. At the same time, however, she had no qualms with arming other countries - in particular sending weapons to the Syrian rebels to use against President Bashar Assad.

The former Secretary of State locked horns with Senator Bernie Sanders on the Middle Eastern strategy, particularly regarding removing Assad, the no-fly zone Clinton (again) proposed and the bigger picture of US involvement on foreign soil, which forms the core of their disagreements.

“Our differences are fairly deep on this issue; we disagreed on the war in Iraq,” Sanders said, alluding to Clinton’s support of almost every military involvement abroad in recent history. “Secretary Clinton is too much into regime change and a little bit too aggressive without knowing what the unintended consequences might be,” the NY Times quoted him as saying.

He added: “It is not Assad who is attacking the United States."

Clinton blasted Sanders for supporting the removal of Muammar Gadaffi in Libya, then continued down the familiar road of advocating sending more arms to so-called moderate Syrian rebels.

“I think it’s fair to say Assad has killed, by last count, about 250,000 Syrians,” Clinton went on, while saying that if the US had armed the rebels even earlier, the current power vacuum allowing ISIS to run rampant would not exist.

Similarly, unlike Sanders, Clinton believes Russia needs to be controlled in Syria. “I am advocating the no-fly zone both because I think it would help us on the ground to protect Syrians, I am advocating it also because I think it would give us some leverage with the Russians,” she said, while Sanders remained adamant about the need to work together with Moscow on fighting terrorism in Syria, instead of focusing on dismantling another government.

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Martin O’Malley was the third candidate present at the debates, but his views tended to be largely overshadowed by Clinton and Sanders facing off. That was to be expected, since Sanders now has precious little time to gain on Clinton, who is enjoying a significant lead. Experts believe it is partly for this reason that Sanders began to focus more on having an anti-ISIS strategy – something he was previously criticized for avoiding.

A national poll released today shows Clinton is leading Sanders by 31 points, except in New Hampshire, where Sanders has a 10 point lead.