Azad Lashkari / REUTERS

The Clash Over Kirkuk

Why the Real Crisis Is in Baghdad—Not Erbil

It is an indictment of U.S. foreign policy that the two major players in the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) have come to blows: the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Four days ago, Baghdad deployed thousands of its forces and the militias of the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) to Kirkuk, which is claimed by both the KRG and Baghdad. After clashes following the KRG’s refusal to hand over the province, Baghdad now controls the oil-rich territory. Kirkuk has long been one of the country’s most dangerous flashpoints and the …

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