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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

openDemocracy has tracked the prelude, course and aftermath of the Iraq war – always seeking to voice vital ideas and perspectives from around the world. Here, a brief guide to our coverage, and a selection of choice cuts.

Iraq: face of corruption, mask of politics

The challenges to Iraq's authorities following the withdrawal of United States military forces from Iraq’s cities include building clean and efficient institutions that command the respect of citizens. The fight against corruption is central to the task, says Zaid Al-Ali.

Iraq’s elections: winners, losers, and what’s next

The lessons of a peaceful Iraqi election are more complex than early readings suggest. The reverberations will be felt in Kurdish and Shi'a politics in particular, says Joost R Hiltermann. 

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.

What Obama means for Iraq

The United States president-elect promises to withdraw troops from Iraq. Will he deliver? Barack Obama's past statements offer a less certain guide than his opposition to the Iraq war might suggest, says Zaid Al-Ali.

The United States and Iraq: still getting it wrong

The latest Pentagon analysis of political and security trends in Iraq is trapped in misunderstanding of even basic realities, says Reidar Visser.

Iraq, Iran and the United States: problems and prospects

A major political initiative is required to build the long-term foundations for stability in Iraq. But with the potential for violent confrontation ever-present, and the three countries involved facing elections in 2008-09, this outcome is far from certain. Joost R Hiltermann reports.

Basra’s second battle decoded

The conflict in Basra is part of a wider political struggle over the future of Iraq, says Reidar Visser.

Uncle Sam in Iraq: the war of narratives

The United States occupation of Iraq is five years old. Has it played the role of a bumbling fool or a conniving neo-colonial? Robert Springborg assesses the argument over America’s role and future in one of the most contested of all modern wars.

Iraq's political space

The flaws in Iraq's political system must be addressed at national level if local progress is to be made

Iraq: the politics of the local

The United States military's cultivation of local forms of power in Iraq creates the potential for the emergence of an Iraqi politics in the next period very different from the kind Washington seeks, says Charles Tripp.

Deaths in Iraq: the numbers game, revisited

The question of how many Iraqis have died since 2003 has been reopened. In answering it, it is vital to clarify the criteria in making a scientific assessment, says Michel Thieren.

Deaths in Iraq: how many, and why it matters

How many civilians have died in Iraq? Iraq Body Count and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health give widely different answers. Michel Thieren examines what is at stake in their contrasting approaches and estimates.

(This article was first published on 18 October 2006)

The architects of Iraq

The impulse that drives United States policy in Iraq is reflected in the professional character of its leading military and diplomatic figures, says Tareq Y Ismael.

Refugees: the missing Iraq benchmark

United States policymakers must address the humanitarian tragedy of millions of Iraqis displaced in and from their country, say Anita Sharma & Brian Katulis.

Iraq's short century: old problems, new perspectives

A leading historian of modern Iraq describes a complex society – of religious and tribal groupings, and competing political ideologies (Arabism, nationalism, communism) – whose oil resources made it invaluable to its colonial masters. Does Iraq’s experience of British rule from the 1920s-1950s offer lessons for its governance today?

(This article was first published on 3 June 2003)

Iraq: a wall to conquer us

The United States plan to cantonise Baghdad follows the sectarian logic of its occupation, says Zaid Al-Ali.

Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United States

Saudi Arabia's new diplomatic activism is a challenge to American plans in the region, says Tareq Y Ismael.

Iraqis in freefall

Whatever official narratives and recovery plans say, the real experience of Iraqis since 2003 is a collapse of livelihoods under war and occupation, says Zaid Al-Ali.

The ghost of Saddam Hussein

The hanging of Iraq's ex-dictator was an instrument of the country's new sectarian logic rather than of justice, says Tareq Y Ismael.

The United States in Iraq: the case for withdrawal

The post-2003 occupation is only the latest chapter in Washington's long, disastrous involvement in Iraq. Zaid Al-Ali tracks a bitter history and draws a lesson.

Washington's Iraqi 'surge': where are the Iraqis?

Iraqis themselves must be at the centre of any attempt to make President Bush's new strategy for their country a political success, says Reidar Visser.

Is this how humans behave?

While Saddam deserves no sympathy, says Anthony Barnett, the ugly gallows scenes confront us with our role in Iraq's horror: we let Blair and Bush lead.

The Kurds and the ISG: losing friends, losing the war

The implementation of the Baker report would be a betrayal of Iraq's Kurds and a defeat for the United States itself, says Dlawer Ala'Aldeen.

The Iraq Study Group report: an assessment

The Baker report's recommendations for future United States policy in Iraq cannot work while United States violence and coercion dominates so much of Iraqis' lives, says Tareq Y Ismael.

Iraq: not civil war, occupation

The Iraq Study Group has still not understood what people in Iraq well know, says Sami Ramadani: that it is the United States military occupation of Iraq itself that is fuelling the violence there.

America in Iraq: stay or go?

The debate in the United States about its military strategy in Iraq and the deployment of forces there is intensifying. Morton Kondracke and William R Polk present sharply contrasting recommendations.

Iraq lives

The voices of Iraqi patriotism in Basra are a rebuke to western advocates of the country’s fragmentation, says Reidar Visser.

Iraq: divide or die

An ethno-sectarian solution is the only way to preserve Iraq as a coherent entity, argue Gareth Stansfield and Liam Anderson.

The US votes: the road ahead for Iraq

United States politicians are rethinking their options in Iraq. But would a new policy resolve or intensify the war? Zaid Al-Ali assesses Washington's evolving agenda.

Sparing Saddam: beyond victor's justice

A US call to spare Saddam from the gallows could restore America's reputation for justice, and be a powerful gesture of reconciliation for the middle east, says John Sloboda.

Kurdistan beyond Iraq

The political pressures in Iraq are pushing the Kurds towards independence, says Dlawer Ala'Aldeen.

Saving Iraq: a critique of Peter W Galbraith

In response to the United States's deepening predicament in Iraq, influential American voices are advocating the country's partition. Zaid Al-Ali assesses Peter W Galbraith's presentation of this case in his book "The End of Iraq."

Iraq's war of elimination

The intense sectarian violence in Baghdad is not uncontrolled but part of a conscious, organised political strategy by Shi'a and Sunni militias alike, says Zaid Al-Ali.

Losing hope in Iraq: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

"Saddam was the ultimate nightmare… but now things are just bad, really bad." Despite a newly elected government, civil war looms ominously on the horizon: what is happening in Iraq and who holds the power? Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, the award-winning photojournalist, talks to openDemocracy about occupation, insurgency, and how his country fell apart.

Iraq's partition fantasy

The supporters of an Iraq divided into three ignore the lessons of Iraq's history, says Reidar Visser.
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