May 20, 2009
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Michael wants to be Michael - By Kay Azadabeen

Michael Rubin might be trying to compete with Michael Gunter in becoming a scholar and understand the Kurdish conflict in the Middle East. Aside form his first name Michael Rubin does not seem to have much in common with Michael Gunter. While Gunter is objective and use data from different sources to prove his argument, Rubin seems to use assumptions and biased data to make a claim.

Michael Gunter has spend a significant part of his life reading Kurdish history, visiting Kurdish notables, and writing articles and books to understand the Kurdish complex issue and so he is considered a reliable scholar. I am not sure if Michael Rubin has reached the level of Michael Gunter yet. Based on his recent interview with Kamal Chomani in KurdishMedia, Michael Rubin seems to have a long way to become a scholar.

Rubin rightfully argues that “democracies do not murder journalists”. However, he does not have any evidence for his claim. It is known that the agents of Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq have murdered many journalists. However, it is unclear if KRG has ever murdered any journalist.

Rubin argues that “the KRG representatives are friends only with those in power”. Such a statement might indicate that Rubin feels powerless in gaining Kurdish trust; otherwise he would explain that KRG has learned this behavior form the United States to side with the powerful.

Rubin rightfully disagrees with the KRG on corruption but agrees with them on Article 140. He states, “Given how the KRG calls me an enemy, why should I help with Kirkuk”? If based on his scholarly work he has concluded that article 140 deserves support of scholars, Rubin should not expect a reward to help implementing it. True scholars are rational people and do not become revengeful, if their hypothesis is rejected.

He claims that “Qubad Talabani and Masrour Barzani have sacrificed U.S. support for Kurdish aspirations in Kirkuk for the sake of their egos”. Maybe it is Rubin whose ego has been hurt and so he projects it on Kurdish junior politicians. Rubin might be envious of Qubad Talebani for being an articulate, intelligent, convincing, and well mannered Kurdish junior politician. Although Qubad might have come to politic through nepotism, but this is not unusual even in the most democratic country, the United States, as evidenced in Bush and Kennedy families. He argues that when Jalal Talibani dies, President Barzani will throw Qubad Talebani away. I tried to find out how he came up with this scholarly argument and concluded it might be only something that Rubin wishes for. I hope he does not wish that KDP and PUK start their primitive war again, and ruin what they have achieved under their unity.

Rubin argues that “the KRG also makes a mistake by paying people for friendship”. He rightfully describes such people as “little more than prostitutes, doing anything for money”. I am not quite sure if Rubin as a representative of American Enterprise Institute dislikes money and does his services just for the sake of humanity as Mother Teresa did.

He claims that Biden’s interest was not Kurds or Kurdistan, it was just politics. This would be a reasonable argument if Rubin’s interest would have been something else but politic. If it is not for politic, why does he favors few Kurds who have no major role in the Kurdish society and dislikes a major part of Kurdistan that is oppressed by Turkey. 

Rubin states “I disagreed with the KRG on two issues: corruption and the PKK”. I am not aware of any investment of the American Enterprise Institute that has served the disadvantaged people in the Middle East. The goal of his institute is promoting profit making, a goal that often leads to corruption. The reason PKK is still in the mountains is because of the corruption in the Turkish military that is sponsored by profit making defense corporations in the United States, who are paying for the education of people like Rubin.


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