Michael Rubin
Michael Rubin
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

Erdogan Has Nobody to Blame for the Coup but Himself

July 15, 2016  •  Foreign Policy

This is not what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meant when he said he wanted to transform Turkey. The tanks and gunfire in the streets of Ankara mark the fifth time since 1960 that the Turkish military has attempted to stage a coup. Even if this one proves unsuccessful — and the elected government now seems likely to come out on top — it calls into question the stability of Erdogan's political movement. How exactly did a leader who began his rule 13 years ago with such promise derail so badly?

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The Battle for the Soul of Iraqi Kurdistan

July 14, 2016  •  Foreign Policy

"Independence and the right of self-determination is our supreme goal," Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north of Iraq, declared late last month. It was an uncharacteristically blunt statement, but the Kurdish aspiration for statehood is nothing new.

The Kurds have long pointed out that they are the largest people without a nation. And much like their compatriots in Syria and Turkey, Iraq's Kurds spent much of the 20th century battling a hostile central government — in this case Baghdad — for their independence.

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Who Is Stopping Kurdish Leaders From Visiting the U.S.?

May 24, 2016  •  Newsweek

There's something strange going on at the State Department. Civil war continues unabated in Syria, peace talks and "ceasefire" notwithstanding. In Iraq, meanwhile, the fight against the Islamic State remains hampered not only by political chaos in Baghdad, but also by corruption both there and in Iraqi Kurdistan.

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Learning to Love the Unlovable Saudis

April 15, 2016  •  Newsweek

Let's face it: It's hard to like the Saudis.

It's an autocracy. Their princes behave badly. Saudi diplomats race through the streets in foreign capitals oblivious to public safety, and sometimes drunk. In the Middle East, they have a reputation as rude, entitled, lazy, and brutal. They consider women second-class citizens. Up until a few years ago, there was hardly a Sunni Islamist terror group that the Saudis did not bankroll privately if not officially. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi and the still classified portion of the 9/11 Joint Congressional Report reportedly suggests at least some official Saudi complicity.

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Pakistan on the Mediterranean

March 28, 2016  •  The Washington Free Beacon

On March 18, European and Turkish diplomats signed off on a comprehensive deal on migrants pouring from Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East through Turkey and into the European Union. Under the terms of the deal, for every illegal migrant the E.U. returns to Turkey, Turkey would send one refugee for resettlement in Europe. Additionally, Turkey and Europe agreed to re-open discussions concerning the Muslim country's efforts to join the E.U., and Europe agreed to allow Turks visa-free travel throughout the Schengen zone.

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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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