Michael Rubin
Michael Rubin
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

Latest Articles

Erdogan Makes a Bid for the Military

November 30, 2016  •  Newsweek

Much of the reason why so many diplomats and analysts got the trajectory of Turkey so wrong for so long is that they focused on the cosmetic over the substantive.

They focused upon the debate about headscarves in schools and universities, but ignored changes to the makeup of the executive board of the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, even though it was the latter which allowed Prime Minister (and now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan to target his opponents' financial holdings and business interests.

Many analysts—whether out of laziness or ideological antipathy toward those raising alarms—also dismissed concerns that Erdogan had a transformative religious agenda.

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Will Erdogan Bring Assassinations Here?

November 29, 2016  •  Newsweek

Turkey has never been known for its respect for human rights, but one of the most troubling aspects of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule has been Turkey's increasing aggressiveness toward dissidents and political opponents, not only within Turkey's borders but also abroad.

There was, of course, the 2013 assassination of three Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) activists on French soil, the responsibility for which appears to lie with Turkey's intelligence service.

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Trump's troubling security adviser
Choice of Gen. Michael Flynn shows poor judgment on multiple fronts

November 19, 2016  •  New York Daily News

President-elect Donald Trump has asked retired general and former Defense Intelligence Agency head Michael Flynn to serve as his national security adviser. It is a crucial post which oversees the execution of Trump's foreign and defense policy.

That Trump likes Flynn is no surprise. Trump values loyalty and Flynn has stood by him through thick and thin. But if Trump hopes to defeat the Islamic State, push back other enemies and restore America's position in the world, Flynn is the wrong man. He will undercut Trump's ability to achieve his goals.

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Trump Team's First Ethics Scandal

November 16, 2016  •  Newsweek

It's only been a few days, but already it seems Donald Trump's presumptive foreign policy and national security team could be weathering its first scandal.

I have written about General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and an important Trump adviser, and his sudden about-face on Turkey in both his assessment of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's helpfulness in the war against terror and with regard to exiled Islamic theologian Fethullah Gülen. Gülen is a onetime ally of Erdogan's whose exile and perhaps execution the Turkish president now demands.

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Erdogan's Troop Incursion Into Iraq Threatens NATO Unity

November 5, 2016  •  Newsweek

Turkish forces are massing along the Iraqi border, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatens a further incursion into Iraq to prevent Iraqi forces—especially Shiite militias—from establishing control over key towns following their liberation from the Islamic State group (ISIS)

Erdogan's immediate concern is the Iraqi town of Tel Afar, on the road between Mosul and Sinjar. Tel Afar has a large Turkmen population, but is also largely Shiite. The Turks have long claimed ethnic solidarity, seemingly unaware or not caring that many Turkmen in Tel Afar and elsewhere prioritize sectarian over ethnic identity (perhaps half of Iraq's Turkmen are Shiite).

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Books by Michael Rubin

Cover of Dancing with the Devil Cover of Eternal Iran Cover of Into the Shadows

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