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About Fred Halliday

Fred Halliday (1946-2010) was most recently Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats / Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) research professor at the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (Barcelona Institute for International Studies / IBEI). He was from 1985-2008 professor of international relations at the London School of Economics (LSE), and subsequently professor emeritus there

Fred Halliday's many books include Political Journeys: The openDemocracy Essays (Saqi, 2011); Caamaño in London: the Exile of a Latin American Revolutionary (Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2010); Shocked and Awed: How the War on Terror and Jihad Have Changed the English Language (IB Tauris, 2010); 100 Myths about the Middle East (Saqi, 2005); The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Two Hours That Shook the World: September 11, 2001 - Causes and Consequences (Saqi, 2001); Nation and Religion in the Middle East (Saqi, 2000); and Revolutions and World Politics: The Rise and Fall of the Sixth Great Power (Palgrave Macmillan, 1999)

Fred Halliday died in Barcelona on 26 April 2010; read the online tributes here

Articles by Fred Halliday

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Fidel Castro's legacy: Cuban conversations

From the archive: first published in February 2008. "What comes after Fidel" is a well-worn topic of op-eds, but the focus should be on an assessment of the character – a combination of the institutional, political, and personal – of the Cuban revolutionary experience as a whole.

Terrorism in historical perspective

All human beings are locked into a conflict that will endure for decades, the outcome of which is not certain. In face of it, says Fred Halliday, citizens need five resources: a clear sense of history; recognition of the reality of the danger; steady, intelligent, political leadership; the building of mass support for resistance to this major threat; and above all, a commitment to liberal and democratic values.

(This article was first published on 22 April 2004)

Solidarity: trails, perils, choices

The idea of solidarity retains its moral force. Yet it is vulnerable to the same manipulations as any category of modern politics. Fred Halliday examines the paths of solidarity under colonialism, communism, and post-1989 democracy; its deformed applications to the Arab-Israeli conflict; two voices of universalism that give it life; and what it needs in order to flourish in the 21st century.

(This essay is published in memory of Fred Halliday, who died in Barcelona on 26 April 2010)

The Left and the Jihad

The left was once the principal enemy of radical Islamism. So how did old enemies become new friends? In a panoptic sweep of a contested history, Fred Halliday reflects.

(This article was first published on 7 September 2006)

Yemen: travails of unity

The growing insecurity and violence in the most ancient of Arab lands are creating a slow political implosion. The world must take greater note, says Fred Halliday.

This article was first published on 3 July 2009

Libya’s regime at 40: a state of kleptocracy

The protection-racket formation that has ruled Libya since 1969 is now being embraced by western businessmen and diplomats. But it belongs to the past, says Fred Halliday.

(This article was first published on 8 September 2009)

Memorandum to the London School of Economics Council warning it not to accept a grant from the Qaddafi Foundation

Fred Halliday (1946-2010), openDemocracy author and Director-Designate of the LSE Middle East Centre, 2006-2008, did not want the LSE to accept a £1.5m grant. He wrote this memo to the University's governing body in October 2009 to try to convince them to give up the money.

Barcelona i Catalunya: the real thing

The scholar of world politics and openDemocracy columnist Fred Halliday lived and worked in - and fell in love with - Barcelona. In a warm essay written five months before he died on 26 April 2010, Fred celebrates the home of his last years.

The other 1989s

The great events in Europe in 1989 had a worldwide impact - and of a more destructive kind than is often acknowledged, says Fred Halliday.

What was communism?

The twentieth anniversary of the fall of communism - as system, ideology and strategic challenger to capitalism - is an appropriate moment to assess its legacy. But this, says Fred Halliday, must discard triumphalism, and be rooted in an awareness of communism's history, its myths, and its relation to capitalist modernity.

Andorra’s model: time for change

European pressure over financial secrecy is obliging one of the continent's microstates to adapt. But there are voices in Andorra itself searching for a different role and identity, finds Fred Halliday.

Iran's tide of history: counter-revolution and after

Iran's regime has made huge efforts to crush the country’s demonstrating citizens. But their heroic and lucid protests have opened a path to the future via a reconnection with Iran’s true revolutionary past, says Fred Halliday.

Iran's evolution and Islam’s Berlusconi

Iran’s open election race is being conducted at an international moment full of opportunities and dangers for this post-revolutionary state, says Fred Halliday.

The Dominican Republic: a time of ghosts

The Caribbean nation was briefly at the centre of world events in the 1960s amid an extraordinary contest for political power. After a long journey it may be time to write a fresh page, says Fred Halliday.

Iraq in the balance

The contribution of Iraq's neighbours could be vital in turning uncertain progress into a definitive settlement of the country's conflicts, says Fred Halliday.

(This article was first published on 26 March 2009)

Iran’s revolution in global history

Iran's transformation in 1979 shares characteristics with earlier revolutions in France, Russia, China and Cuba; but it also makes a unique - and unfinished - contribution to world history, says Fred Halliday.

(This article was first published on 2 March 2009)

The greater middle east: Obama’s six problems

An arc of states across "greater west Asia" will force itself to the new president's attention, says Fred Halliday.

The futures of Iraq

An international study group convened in Barcelona to examine the political options for Iraq after five years of war. Fred Halliday, its chair, digests its conclusions.

Armenia’s mixed messages

Armenia's standoff with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh continues. Its regional climate after the Georgia-Russia war is tense. The cautious signs of rapprochement with Turkey have yet to produce results. But the progress Yerevan needs is limited by authoritarian domestic politics, finds Fred Halliday.

The revenge of ideas: Karl Polanyi and Susan Strange

The crisis of the finance sector is vindication of the neglected work of an economic historian of "great transformation" and an anatomist of "casino capitalism", says Fred Halliday.  

The miscalculation of small nations

The Russia-Georgia war emphasises the need for a nuanced understanding of international politics that recognises the autonomy of local agents, says Fred Halliday.

(This article was first published on 24 August 2008)

Mediterranean mirage: Europe’s sunken politics

Nicolas Sarkozy's multinational and cross-cultural initiative looks less impressive in light of the current flaws and failings of European governance and leadership, says Fred Halliday.

(This article was first published on 29 July 2008) 

1968: the global legacy

The romantic celebration of a year of protest misses its silences and failures - and thus its true, long-term global political significance, says Fred Halliday.

(This article was first published on 11 June 2008)

Tibet, Palestine and the politics of failure

Why do some countries achieve independence and not others? The key factor is "post-colonial sequestration syndrome", argues Fred Halliday, who connects the experience of aspirants to statehood with the moment of international power-politics which entraps or releases them.

(This article was first published on 9 May 2008)

Two feminist pioneers: Iranian, Lebanese, universal

The work of Mai Ghoussoub and Parvin Paidar embodies a humane and life-affirming engagement with the world that is needed today more than ever, says Fred Halliday.

(This article was first published on 18 April 2008) 

Sovereign Wealth Funds: power vs principle

The rise of "sovereign wealth funds" signals the end of the neo-liberal model and challenges western states and financial institutions to develop a coherent and long-term response, says Fred Halliday.

Fidel Castro's legacy: Cuban conversations

The dynamic of change in Cuba as the end of the Fidel Castro era approaches can be understood only by viewing the deep flaws of his leadership style in the context of the record of the revolution as a whole, says Fred Halliday.

(This article was first published on 24 August 2006)

Islam, law and finance: the elusive divine

The recurrent political and media spasms over “sharia" or “Islamic law” too often avoid looking at the reality the terms purport to describe, says Fred Halliday

The assassin’s age: Pakistan in the world

Benazir Bhutto’s political life and death belong to a wider pattern of destabilising assaults on figures of power, says Fred Halliday.

The mysteries of the American empire

The narrative of the United States's long-term decline or retreat is open to detailed challenge on the basis of the historical record and current realities, says Fred Halliday.

Justice in Madrid: the “11-M” verdict

The trial of those accused of the Atocha train bombings leaves Spain polarised and with many questions unanswered, finds Fred Halliday in Madrid.

Islam and Europe: a debate in Amsterdam

The Netherlands is at the centre of European argument about secularism, multiculturalism and Islam. A robust debate with the Dutch politician Frits Bolkestein is the stimulus for Fred Halliday's exploration of these issues in the Dutch context.

Cyprus’s risky stalemate

The blockage of political progress in Cyprus since 2004 only freezes the island's unresolved question, says Fred Halliday

Eternal Euskadi, enduring ETA

The Basque country’s embrace of the modern world is intertwined with the intractable political dispute that has defined it for forty years, reports Fred Halliday in Vitoria.
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