This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

War, globalisation, nationalism, revolution: Fred Halliday illuminates the forces shaping 21st-century world politics

Libya, Syria and the “responsibility to protect”: a moment of inflection?

Since the Rwandan genocide and the wars in former Yugoslavia, the idea of a “responsibility to protect” vulnerable populations has acquired currency. The Libyan and Syrian crises have, however, seen the value of that currency recalibrated.

Tunisia, from hope to delivery

Tunisia has turned a political corner. But great economic problems remain which require careful management and good government, says Francis Ghilès.

After Snowden: UN takes first small step to curb global surveillance

The debate on international electronic spying, blown open by the US National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden, moves this week to the United Nations General Assembly. It begins what is set to be a long battle to affirm the privacy rights of global citizens

Mandela: explaining the magnetism

While the world stops for Nelson Mandela’s departure from it, his iconic status is unquestioned. Yet there is a more complicated underlying narrative to tell.

Afghanistan: beyond ethnicity

The international community has addressed Afghanistan through an ethnic prism. As anxiety grows about the future after international forces leave in 2014, a trajectory needs to be established towards a post-ethnic society--and the dispersed diaspora can play a role.

Gulf states and Iran: don't moan, act

The international deal over Iran reveals the weakness of Arab Gulf diplomacy. It's time for a new approach, says Khaled Hroub.

Typhoon Haiyan: natural disaster meets armed conflict

The huge destruction in the Philippines in the November typhoon hit a poor region already long affected by violent conflict. The two are deeply related, says Colin Walch, who was conducting research in the area when the typhoon struck.

Sharing our future: how the world can avert climate chaos

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report calculated a ‘budget’ for greenhouse gas emissions  if global average temperature rise is to be contained within 1.5-2C. Amid fractious debates between rich and poor at the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Phil England spoke to Christian Aid’s expert, Mohamed Adow, about how countries could agree to share the remaining allowable emissions.

Revolution in the revolution: a century of change

A continuing cycle of revolutions, albeit irregular and unpredictable, is a feature of the modern world. But comparing experiences across the decades reveals a transformation in the nature of revolution itself, says Hazem Saghieh.

Young Afghans in the UK: deportations in the dead of night to a war-zone

Each year around 400 children forced by war to leave their families and homes in Afghanistan seek sanctuary in the UK. Lisa Matthews writes for Young People Seeking Safety Week on the young adults who, having rebuilt their lives, are now at threat of return. 

The Rohingya: bargaining with human lives

One year on from the violence of June 2012, new empirical evidence about the treatment of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, Burma, has taken the issue from the realms of international human rights and humanitarian law to that of international criminal law, says Amal de Chickera.

Paths to change: peaceful vs violent

The diverse experiences of the Arab spring renew the question of whether non-violent movements are more effective than armed struggle in achieving the overthrow of authoritarian regimes, says Martin Shaw.

Convincing suicide-bombers that God says no

The dominant perception of suicide-attackers has paid too much attention to the unchallenged assumptions of past experts and too little to the clinical evidence, says Adam Lankford.

Refugee studies: the challenge of translating hope into reality

It is one thing for rigorous research to influence policy, and another for that policy to then go an and achieve its intended positive outcome. James Souter argues that Refugee and Forced Migration studies has an important, yet ultimately subsidiary role in the task of improving the lives of refugees and forced migrants

The 'politics' in Ethiopia's political trials

The Ethiopian regime is using the legal system to eliminate dissident voices and drag protesters to court under terrorism charges. Far from guaranteeing equality and justice, the country’s courts serve as an instrument in the Government’s hands to legitimize persecution of political adversaries while justifying its practices to the west.

India Burning

When the rice harvest season finishes in a few weeks, fields in India will turn black as farmers burn thousands of acres. This practice shows one of the failures of the Green Revolution, with devastating regional and global consequences. A food-security-obsessed India cannot ignore these issues for much longer.

Stateless in Burma: Rohingya word wars

In order to understand how the ‘Rohingya crisis’ has come to pass we need to consider the narrative built by three groupings of international actors - the Burmese government, host countries for Rohingya who have fled and the international community at large.

Through hell to limbo in a lorry

“In my life I will forget lots of things, but I will never, ever forget those two small boys … left behind in the snow.” Elizabeth Kennedy reports on children’s journeys from Afghanistan to England and life in limbo as they approach 18.

The Taliban and Afghanistan’s war

The pattern of war in Afghanistan is changing amid evolving relationships within the Taliban, between the movement and its base, and its engagement with western and local forces. Antonio Giustozzi examines the current military and political situation.

Fred Halliday: an unfinished voyage

The core themes of a new book of Fred Halliday’s openDemocracy columns underline his work's enduring vitality, says David Hayes.

[This article was first published on 23 March 2011}

The Holocaust and genocide: loose talk, bad action

The dangers of genocide denial are widely recognised. But the politics of "genocide mobilisation" - and the legal and discursive infringements that often follow - can also be a barrier to historical understanding and justice, says Martin Shaw.

Sanctioning Iranian oil

With increasing geopolitical instability in oil producing states and the barriers that stand in the way of reaching a multilateral policy, the threat of sanctions in Iran only serves to intensify uncertainty surrounding oil price forecasts for 2012

Iran in the straits?

How are recent events in Iran to be interpreted? History has a lot to teach us, argues David Madden

Giant strides or fairy footsteps

How much progress can be made in tackling climate change without a global deal?

Armed conflict, land grabs and big business: Colombia’s deadly pact

The recent assassination of Colombian marxist insurgent group leader Alfonso Cano has been hailed internationally as an advance towards peace, giving Colombia a boost down the path to becoming the latest emerging market of Latin America. A closer look at the history and nature of Colombia's nearly 50 year-long armed struggle, however, tells us otherwise.
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