The Letter to the Editor below appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post. Written by Qubad Talabani, KRG representative in Washington DC, it is in response to an Op-Ed piece (Kurdistan’s Troubled Democracy) that was published on 18 April 2009 and written by Scott Carpenter and Michael Rubin. Carpenter is the Keston Family Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Democracy Thrives in Kurdistan
Monday, April 27, 2009
Scott Carpenter and Michael Rubin combined untruths, half-truths and faulty analysis in support of their conclusion that there is a democracy deficit in the Kurdistan region of Iraq [‘Kurdistan’s Troubled Democracy,’ April 18].
Contrary to the column’s assertions, Kurdistan’s elections will be administered by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq and not by the government. That commission has already certified five parties, along with another likely 25 entities to run candidates in the elections, so this will hardly be the sham exercise the authors suggested. Furthermore, international election observers have been invited and will be present.
Iraqi Kurdistan achieved stability and democracy long before the rest of Iraq. Not one U.S. citizen, soldier or contractor has been kidnapped, wounded or killed in Kurdistan. While no democracy is perfect and we know there remains much to do, we have a democratically elected parliament, the best record on religious tolerance in Iraq, the most liberal press law in the country and a thriving civil society demonstrated by abundant and unrestricted activity by nongovernmental organizations.
These achievements warrant the respect of scholars such as your authors, not undeserved criticism.
The writer is the representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government to the United States.