Tag: Kirkuk

This week on Banter, Michael Rubin joined the show to discuss the recent Kurdish referendum on independence from Iraq, the Kirkuk crisis, and the implications of an independent Kurdistan for the Middle East as well as the US. Rubin is an AEI Resident Scholar and former Pentagon official whose research focuses on the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, and diplomacy. He has written extensively on the Kurds, including the recently published monograph, Kurdistan Rising.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to Bowe Bergdahl pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, glad that justice is being done and not being swept under the rug in the case of the soldier who left his unit in Afghanistan and was returned by the Obama administration in exchange for five top level Taliban detainees. They also groan as Iraqi forces are now fighting with the Kurds over territory in northern Iraq when they’re supposed to be finishing off ISIS. And they unload on Newsweek for its reckless reporting, including such gems as interviewing pedophile and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about politics and declaring the Family Research Council a hate group.

Fear and Loathing in Kirkuk


There’s trouble in the works in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. However, before we can explain what happened there over the weekend, we need to provide some background.

Kirkuk is roughly a four-hour drive north of Baghdad, and closer than that to the Iranian border. It is a complex mix of ethnic groups, with the largest being Kurds, Turkmen, and Arabs. Plus Assyrians, Armenians, and a smattering of Jews.

It would be a hairy place anyway, mixing Iraqi national politics, international politics, religious politics, ethnic politics, plus internal local and tribal politics among the Kurds. Then add oil to that. The Kirkuk Field produces half of Iraqi oil experts.