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This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

From Jordan and Syria to Egypt and Iran, openDemocracy writers track the issues behind the headlines. Gilles Kepel takes the temperature of the Muslim world after 9/11, Daniel Swift examines the deeper currents of Egyptian ‘democracy’, and Ali Shukri assesses the dilemma for Syria after the overthrow of the fellow Ba’athist regime in Iraq.

Egypt under Sisi

The street in Cairo has become an insecure and volatile place. VICE News has been following avid supporters of General Sisi, revolutionaries who feel their aspirations are far from realisation and members of the Muslim Brotherhood outlawed by the military government.

Violence against women in Syria: a hidden truth

Despite saturated media coverage of the conflict, violence against women in Syria has largely gone unreported. Often horrifically abused, they have been doubly victimised by the public silence.

Iraq redux: British commanders before the ICC?

Evidence has been compiled suggesting agents of the UK state committed war crimes in Iraq, punishable before the International Criminal Court. Institutional amnesia about Britain’s early intervention in Northern Ireland may prove to have been costly.

Time to be bold and make peace in Syria

The regime and main opposition factions in Syria are setting preconditions for victory. Alternative, democratic preconditions need to be set for the Geneva talks to end an unwinnable war.

Iran nuclear deal: the fall-out

The interim nuclear deal between the western powers and Iran faces significant domestic and international challenges. But after long hostility it may prove a trust-building stepping-stone to a larger agreement.

To eliminate WMD we need to disarm patriarchy

Civil society must stop the use of chemical weapons being used as a pretext for US-led bombing in Syria. A gendered understanding demonstrates that the only sustainable strategy is to pursue disarmament and strengthen international humanitarian law.

From Morsi to Sisi: the evolution of targeting journalists in Egypt

One of the only consistencies in Egypt, from the Mubarak era through to the SCAF period to Morsi’s rule to the tumultuous summer of 2013, has been encroachments on press freedom and attacks on journalists.  But there have been subtle shifts in how journalists have been targeted, and attacks are becoming more systematic.

New pope Tawadros on the horns of a dilemma

The newly chosen pope of Egypt’s Coptic Christians assumes his leadership in a country ruled by the first Islamist regime in modern history. Is it possible to fulfil the challenge of integrating the Christian community in the political and public sphere without becoming involved in politics?

Kadima: not yet another centrist casualty

Centrist parties have historically not fared well for a variety of structural reasons in Israeli politics. Despite an auspicious start for Kadima in 2005, it too seems doomed. Can the newly elected chairman of the centrist Kadima party, Shaul Mofaz, succeed where others have failed?

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

Thinking about war with Iran

The real Iranian threat is not its nuclear capacity but its independence. If Iran continues to stand as a model of defiance for increasingly poverty-stricken and restless populations of family fiefdoms in the Gulf, the current US-backed setups will either fall or be forced to democratise. These potentially catastrophic losses of empire go a long way to explaining the rising beat of war drums in the region.

We may be stateless but we are not voiceless

The stateless in Kuwait have been trapped in poor conditions for two decades. The Arab Spring has provided hope that at long last their voices might be heard.

Taxation: Bahrain's alternative path to political reform

Bahrain's uprising was curtailed by a brutal crackdown. Could the rising sectarianism and tense Sunni-Shia divide be reversed through taxation?

The India-Israel relationship: what it means for secularism

India's relationship with Israel has the potential to shift the broader Middle Eastern narrative, affirming India's commitment to pluralism.

A new window for academic freedom in Egypt

The end of Mubarak’s thirty years reign may mark an opportunity to revive the Egyptian universities’ founding ideals as autonomous institutions seeking knowledge for knowledge’s sake.

Rafiq al-Hariri's murder: why do Lebanese blame Syria?

The assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister on 14 February has sparked fury in the country and confusion in the region. Lebanese journalist Hazem Saghieh investigates what really happened.

(This article was first published on 21 February 2005)

Thoughts on the Jewish boat to Gaza

Lynne Segal comments on the significance of an all-Jewish aid boat to Gaza that has been intercepted by the Israeli navy today and receives a message of hope from inside Gaza.

Struggling with Gaza power

As darkness descends on more and more parts of Gaza, and temperatures soar, another kind of darkness is creating havoc with people’s equilibrium

Tunnels of Opportunity

Our correspondent in the Gaza Strip visits a car workshop that has just got going again

Waiting for the word in Armenia

The WW1 massacre of more than a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks remains a source of great contention, writes Ara Iskanderian. While there has been some recent reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey on government level, use of the “g” word is still firmly off limits.

Beirut and contradiction: reading the World Press Photo award

Four stylish young women, an open-topped car, the rubble of war-torn Beirut … but where is the real power of Spencer Platt's prize-winning image, asks Mai Ghoussoub.

(This article was first published on 13 February 2007)

Damascus: on the road to peace?

Syria is now being courted by the US as the key to unlocking peace in its troubled region.

Women choosing to be

Have women's lives in Gaza been constrained by a patriarchal ideology under the rule of Hamas? One Gazan resident says no: quite the reverse.

Checkpoints and counter spaces

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian talked to Jane Gabriel about her latest book ‘Militarization and Violence against Women in Conflict Zones in the Middle East'. A Palestinian case-study. In which she analyses Palestinian women's agency and the many different ways in which they create counter spaces to the militarization of their daily lives.

How Do We Cope?

As summit follows summit, the fate of the Gazan people once again hangs in the balance. A young student and entrepreneur chronicles the ingenuity of his fellow Gazans.

The Left and Hamas

In attempting to extend solidarity to those resisting imperialist power today, European leftists suffer from a debilitating failure of imagination, particularly acute when it comes to Islamist resistance.

Musawah: there cannot be justice without equality

Muslim scholars and activists from forty eight countries are today launching a global initiative insisting that in the twenty first century "there cannot be justice without equality" between men and women,

Home truths in the Muslim family

Sky rocketing rates of women's employment in Muslim countries and recent scholarship that has developed a vision of Islam that insists on equality between men and women, mean that the global pressure to reform Muslim family law is mounting, writes Cassandra Balchin.

A message from Israeli women's organisations: the time for women is now

Statement by Israeli Women's Organizations

We women's organizations from a broad spectrum of political views demand an end to the bombing and other tools of death, and call for the immediate start of deliberations to talk peace and not make war. The dance of death and destruction must come to an end. We demand that war no longer be an option, nor violence a strategy,  nor killing an alternative. The society we want is one in which every individual can lead a life of security - personal, economic, and social.

What is Hamas?

Although controversial and polemic, Sara Roy's July 2007 reflections on Hamas present a picture of a complex organisation that should invite a sophisticated policy response.(Originally published in the Midlle East Policy Council Journal)

Egypt: the surreal painting

Egypt today is scarred by inequality and corruption, degraded by poverty and exclusion, divided by cultural conflict, ruled by unaccountable power, and challenged by the anger and alienation of its young. Tarek Osman seeks a pattern amid the flux and a path that could lead through it.

(This article was first published on 14 May 2008)

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.


Washington's choice: subdue Iran, secure Iraq

In managing its unfinished business with Tehran and Baghdad, the George W Bush administration seeks to bind the region - and its successor.

(This article was first published on 12 June 2008)

The Syria-Israel talks: old themes, new setting

The latest phase of negotiations between Damascus and Jerusalem will need the right constellation of events to become more than another lost opportunity, says Carsten Wieland.

(This article was first published on 27 May 2008)

Halabja: the politics of memory

The Saddam-era poison-gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja on 16 March 1988 has from the start been surrounded by distortion and denial. Only truth can deliver justice for the victims, says Joost R Hiltermann.
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