Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The Kurdish war with Iraq

A perplexing conflict.

Iraqi forces drive past an oil production plant near the city of Kirkuk during an operation against Kurdish fighters on Oct. 16. (Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi forces drive past an oil production plant near the city of Kirkuk during an operation against Kurdish fighters on Oct. 16. (Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

Excuse me. This should be big news. But even your dependable Best Defense has kind of been asleep at the wheel over this. I’ve asked some friends who understand Iraq better than I to ‘splain the situation. So far no takers.

Basically, Baghdad attacked the Kurds on Monday. Ho hum you say? OK, but both these sides are supposed to be our ally.

Which of these sides is not like the other? Well, the Kurds helped liberate Mosul recently. Meanwhile, the Baghdad forces are aligned with Tehran — that is, the people President Trump has been saying are bad.

Excuse me. This should be big news. But even your dependable Best Defense has kind of been asleep at the wheel over this. I’ve asked some friends who understand Iraq better than I to ‘splain the situation. So far no takers.

Basically, Baghdad attacked the Kurds on Monday. Ho hum you say? OK, but both these sides are supposed to be our ally.

Which of these sides is not like the other? Well, the Kurds helped liberate Mosul recently. Meanwhile, the Baghdad forces are aligned with Tehran — that is, the people President Trump has been saying are bad.

So, which side are you on, Mr. President, which side are you on?

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

The Taliban delegation leaves the hotel after meeting with representatives of Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Qatar in Moscow on March 19.

China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

Beijing has its eyes set on using Afghanistan as a strategic corridor once U.S. troops are out of the way.

An Afghan security member pours gasoline over a pile of seized drugs and alcoholic drinks

The Taliban Are Breaking Bad

Meth is even more profitable than heroin—and is turbocharging the insurgency.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addresses the U.N. Security Council from her office in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sept. 4, 2020.

Belarus’s Unlikely New Leader

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya didn’t set out to challenge a brutal dictatorship.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid

What the Taliban Takeover Means for India

Kabul’s swift collapse leaves New Delhi with significant security concerns.