Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

News keeps coming!: Iran undermines Turk-Kurd peace pact, ancient Persian chemical warfare, Army col’s, Uighurs, etc.

  Iran is said by the Turks to be trying to undermine the Turkish peace deal with the Kurds. China wants closer defense ties with said Iranians. To the south, Syrian rebel groups are fighting near the Iraqi border. This is an interesting part of the world. Recently archaeologists found evidence that in the ancient ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

 

Iran is said by the Turks to be trying to undermine the Turkish peace deal with the Kurds. China wants closer defense ties with said Iranians. To the south, Syrian rebel groups are fighting near the Iraqi border. This is an interesting part of the world. Recently archaeologists found evidence that in the ancient town of Dura Europos, Persian forces besieging the Romans in 256 AD successfully used a chemical weapon -- a gas -- and killed 19 Roman troops. To the southeast, fighting in Tarmiyah, a strong candidate for the roughest little town in Iraq, killed some Awakening members. In the world of good Army colonels and not-so-good ones, Col. Everett Spain, currently finishing a Ph.D. at Harvard, was awarded the Soldier's Medal for his actions during the bombing of the Boston Marathon. I also am hearing that an Army colonel is in trouble for pulling his 9mm pistol and threatening a staff officer with it. The government of Trinidad and Tobago called an emergency meeting of its own NSC. The Lawfare blog, which is dependable for its facts, for its smart interpretations, and for its slightly right-of-center views, is now carrying advertisements for jockey underwear that costs $24 a pop. Do you think a left-of-center blog would prefer to advertise boxer underwear? Great column on the nature of hard work. This is why everyone should have a manual job as a teenager. When people tell me how hard writing is, I think, "They never worked in a restaurant." Moving right along, there was a shootout on the Vietnamese-Chinese border, apparently involving a group of Uighurs. There apparently is a CIA weapons depot in Boerne, Texas. This confirms everything that New Yorkers have always believed about Texans. And the CIA. Yow. Cinco de and all that.

 

  • To the southeast, fighting in Tarmiyah, a strong candidate for the roughest little town in Iraq, killed some Awakening members.
  • In the world of good Army colonels and not-so-good ones, Col. Everett Spain, currently finishing a Ph.D. at Harvard, was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for his actions during the bombing of the Boston Marathon. I also am hearing that an Army colonel is in trouble for pulling his 9mm pistol and threatening a staff officer with it.
  • The Lawfare blog, which is dependable for its facts, for its smart interpretations, and for its slightly right-of-center views, is now carrying advertisements for jockey underwear that costs $24 a pop. Do you think a left-of-center blog would prefer to advertise boxer underwear?
  • Moving right along, there was a shootout on the Vietnamese-Chinese border, apparently involving a group of Uighurs.
  • There apparently is a CIA weapons depot in Boerne, Texas. This confirms everything that New Yorkers have always believed about Texans. And the CIA.
  • Yow. Cinco de and all that.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.