This week's guest editors

The slow pace of female empowerment in the Gulf

These oil-rich countries cannot sustain long-term growth and prosperity if half the population remains marginalised and excluded from the workforce. The GCC states should begin to invest in and reform public and private sector institutions in favour of female-friendly policies.

The black swan of the Gulf

The military and security apparatuses of these Gulf states plays a role in keeping the peace, but the best way forward is to build a civil society that is bound by a unifying mechanism such as a functioning, representative, elected parliament.

The United States and Pakistan – beyond the verbal division

The United States and Pakistan engage in a war of words. Iraq to strengthen air sovereignty with the acquisition of 18 F-16 jets. Protests continue in Andhra Pradesh as demands increase for Telangana state. Unguarded weapons depots in Libya cause concerns. Anwar al-Awlaki is killed, but his legacy remains. All this in today’s briefing…

The Arab 1989 revisited

The establishment and deepening of a democratic culture is a long-term project and is intergenerational. As divisions open up between the elites and the street as well as within the elites, the events of 2011 across the Middle East and North Africa represent a powerful first step in a larger process of transformation.

Refolution in the Arab world

A new word is needed to describe these events of recent months. They should be called ‘refolutions’, radical refusals of the old choice between reform and revolution - remarkably sensitive to the grave dangers and high costs of using violent means to get their way

Gulf States: studious silence falls on Arab Spring

New demands for political reform in the Gulf are meeting a repressive response by regimes especially panicked when pro-democracy protests swell into cross-sectarian movements for meaningful political reform. This brutality polarises opinion between advocates of reform and proponents of repression. It also poses a dilemma for western policy makers in their engagement with their strategic partners in the region.

Twenty-first century mercenaries - Afghanistan's answer?

Contracted officers could be the future of international support for the Kabul government, argues Ray Kane.
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