This week's editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

International Security Correspondent Paul Rogers provides weekly commentary on the 'war on terror'. His acute commentaries are an indispensable guide to explaining the present conflict's development and mapping the future.

Islam and non-violence: Badshah Khan's example

The story of a Pashtun hero of peaceful struggle needs to be told, now more than ever. An original new book does just that.

Morocco, UN myopia and the Libyan crisis

It may be understandable that the UN should clutch at any straws to address the miasma in Libya. But Morocco shouldn’t be one of them.

Iraq's phantom army

Islamic State's takeover of Ramadi and advance on Palmyra show that the options facing Washington in Iraq-Syria are ever narrowing.

Islamic State, a message from Raqqa

How do young recruits to Islamic State from the west see their campaign? A fifth personal communication from inside the group.

Britain's defence, the path to change

The combination of expensive military projects at a time of austerity should, after the election on 7 May, create the space for an overdue rethink of the UK's international security policy.

Multilateral nuclear disarmament: it would be a nice idea

The conventional wisdom among nuclear-weapons powers is that their arsenals can only be dismantled multilaterally, step-by-step—yet the associated co-ordination dilemmas keep proving insuperable.

Climate change: the south gets real

The pace of reaction to the global climate emergency is increasing, and vulnerable states in the global south are often in the lead.

Iran behind the conciliatory veil

Right-wing US and Israeli venom against the outline agreement is one thing; genuine concern about the Islamic regime’s Shia expansionism and human-rights record is however another.

Mediterranean dreams, climate realities

The drowning of would-be migrants attempting to reach Europe is a humanitarian tragedy that reflects a growing crisis of environmental security.

Prohibiting autonomous weapons systems

They have been dubbed ‘killer robots’. Concerted international action is needed to prevent the emergence of weapons which could operate without meaningful human control.

A tale of two men

The experience of fighters on opposite sides of the "war on terror", marking the 700th column in this series.

A Gulf in understanding

The outline Iran nuclear deal has highlighted divisions in the region—not just between majority Shia and Sunni states but between those supporting the status quo and those challenging it.

Islamic State, a long-term prospect

A powerful coalition seeks to destroy the 'caliphate'. But IS draws confidence from key assets beyond the reach of a blunt military strategy.

A responsible nuclear-armed state?

It may sound like an oxymoron but we need a new global conversation which engages all nuclear-armed states en route to disarmament.

Iran nuclear deal: keeping hope of peace alive

Conservatives in the US, Israel and Iran itself are all opposed to the outline nuclear accord. So it looks like progress.

Misunderstanding IS, again

Replaying the theocratic analyses of al-Qaeda with IS is amnesic and short-sighted and misses the novelty of the group.

Iran celebrates historic nuclear deal—all eyes now on supreme leader

A quarter-century on from the 'Islamic' revolution, Iran's beleaguered economy and its reformist leader desperately need a deal to end sanctions. But will the ideologically-driven Khamenei allow it?

Islamic State: beyond Tikrit

An intense battle for the Iraqi city of Tikrit, north of Baghdad, hints at the background and future of the wider conflict.  

Eyes wide shut: Commons Defence Committee and UK security policy

It appears self-evident to a key Westminster committee that global insecurity requires a significant upgrade in UK military capability. Self-evident—and wrong.

Islamic State: a letter from Raqqa

A fourth personal communication from the heart of territory where Islamic State holds sway.

Arms and the men: Sweden’s revoked Saudi arms deal

From the outside, the Swedish snub to the Saudi royals looks like a big triumph for women’s rights over commercial pressures. Close up, the ethical picture is a little muddier.

When will Islamic State use its chemical weapons?

The west turned a blind eye to the possible use of chemical weapons by militant Islamists allied against the Assad regime in Syria. Now that Islamic State almost certainly possesses them, the chickens are coming home to roost.

A perfect storm: Boko Haram, IS and the Nigerian election

Boko Haram’s alignment with Islamic State adds to mounting insecurity in Nigeria. A fortnight ahead of the already-deferred election, what does this mean for its democratic prospects?

Christian Zionism and Netanyahu's speech

The Israeli prime minister's purpose in Washington was to consolidate a vital and largely unrecognised political-religious alliance.

Climate-chaos migrants set to face increasingly closed borders

Climate change is set to trigger dangerously soaring temperatures this century, forcing many of humankind’s most vulnerable to migrate to survive. Yet the growing global obsession with border security will stifle their safe movement.

Libya, containing the danger

The chaos in Libya will not be stopped by lazy rhetoric or easy options. The country's neighbours, Tunisia and Algeria, can teach the west a lesson. 

Iraq, a new war's peril

The post-9/11 wars In Afghanistan and Iraq never really ended. But in the campaign against Islamic State, their maps are having to be redrawn.

Obama's human-rights lacuna in struggle against ‘extremism’

The US president went on the front foot against fundamentalist violence in the Middle East at a summit in Washington. But he was hobbled by his failure to place human rights in the region front and centre.

Islamic State: bring on the drones

The challenge of jihadism in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere is reinforcing the United States's embrace of "remote control" warfare.

Is there reason to hope for Minsk II?

The last Minsk agreement on eastern Ukraine failed to bring peace. The latest looks similar—but the context has changed.

Ukraine ceasefire announced at Minsk summit—what next?

The ceasefire agreement in Minsk over Ukraine was better than no outcome at all. But only a little better.

Israel’s "iron fist": what happened?

The containing of an explosion on the Hizbollah-Israel frontier has politics to thank. But next time could be different.

“Frankly, I don’t think we know who we killed”

A drone strike in Somalia highlights how the US is increasingly pursuing a strategy of remote-control warfare.

The two big holes in the strategy against IS

The US-led campaign against Islamic State isn’t working. It won’t unless it addresses Shia sectarianism in Iraq and Assad’s atrocities in Syria.

Armageddon's second life

The return of United States-Russia tensions marks the end of the post-cold war. It also heralds a bonanza for companies eager to supply deadly new arsenals to powerful states.

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