The Corner

Bad to Worse in Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdistan may be the least violent area in Iraq, but it is fast becoming the least tolerant place for civil society, the most corrupt region in Iraq, and the most dangerous place in Iraq to invest or be a journalists.  Indeed, Iraqi Kurdistan is becoming Syria.

The latest report on the harrassment of journalists ahead of elections is disappointing, especially as traditional Kurdish friends of Washington have now allegedly become abusers.

As to the most dangerous place in Iraq to invest, e-mails are flooding in from those who were encouraged to invest by the U.S. government and Defense Department, only to find contract law ignored in Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s written pledges violated, and threats of extra-legal appropriation made.

Corruption in Iraqi Kurdistan has grown to ensnare some prominent former U.S. officials. Many of those who are now singing the Kurds’ praise may find themselves embarrassed by their willingness to look the other direction right now. The situation is becoming analagous to those in denial as they spoke in the 1970s of investment opportunities in Saddam’s Iraq, in the late 1990s of oil-pipeline deals in the Taliban’s Afghanistan, or more recently in Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela.

Meanwhile, U.S. congressmen and generals who agreed to meet Kurdish officials as a favor to Qubad Talabani, the local Washington representative, may be aghast to learn that photos of their handshakes have become campaign posters for politicians with reputations for the most egregious corruption.

Michael Rubin — Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More
Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
Film & TV

Game of Thrones: A Father’s Legacy Endures

Warning! If you don't want to read any spoilers from last night's series finale of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Right now. There is a lot to unpack about the Thrones finale, and I fully understand many of the criticisms I read on Twitter and elsewhere. Yes, the show was compressed. Yes, there were moments ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More