by Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi
Middle East Forum (MEForum) Research & Writing
The American Spectator
October 22, 2017
As the war against the Islamic State as an entity controlling territory comes to a close in Iraq, control over territories disputed between the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government (KRG) has come to the forefront. Forces officially affiliated with the Baghdad government, as well as militias aligned with it on this issue, have taken control of several key disputed sites, including Kirkuk city and Sinjar, which were previously held by Kurdish forces.
While it initially seemed that the aim of the operations was just to assert the boundaries that existed prior to the Islamic State surge of 2014, there are indications the rollback may go as far as the 2003 boundaries. What is the root of this crisis? And what, if anything, should be the U.S. role?
Inevitably, much commentary has taken on a moralistic tone, lamenting a supposed U.S. abandonment of the Kurds to the Iranians and their clients, or getting into arguments about whether places like Kirkuk are actually Kurdish. The issue at hand, though, is not so much right or wrong over who should control which area as strategic failure. (Read More)