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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

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.

Iraq's political space

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

Israel after Lebanon: warning siren, deaf ears

An official report scorns the Israeli military and political elite's failures in the Lebanon war of 2006. Its reception suggests that the next war may be close, reports Thomas O'Dwyer.

The quiet revolution: energy futures in Iran, the Gulf, and Israel

A transformation in energy policy will reshape the middle east's profile as a region defined by oil, says James Howarth.

Lebanon: short memory, system failure

The roots of Lebanon's political fracture lie in the unresolved legacy of its 1975-90 civil war, says Vicken Cheterian.

Arab Christians: a lost modernity

Arab Christians for centuries played a pivotal role at the heart of Arab societies. The last generation has seen the beginning of a great retreat. Tarek Osman maps the forces that have shaped an epic story.

Lebanon divided

Syrian influence across Lebanon's porous borders is intensifying the country's security and political crisis, says Robert G Rabil.

Washington in Lebanon and Palestine: fatal manipulation

The United States's efforts to undermine Hamas and Hizbollah are part of a divisive, unprincipled and dangerous middle-east strategy, says Amal Saad-Ghorayeb.

Lebanon and Israel: back seat, front line

Two worlds collide in a London taxi. Bissane El-Cheikh was one.

Yemen: murder in Arabia Felix

Yemen tends to be propelled into the media spotlight only with such incidents as the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 or the killing of seven Spanish tourists in July 2007. But its modern political history deserves to be more widely known on its own account, says Fred Halliday.

Riviera vs Citadel: the battle for Lebanon

The historic contest between two visions of what Lebanon is and should be will shape the country's direction after Hizbollah's war with Israel, says Nadim Shehadi.

(This article was first published on 22 August 2006) 

Iraq’s pressure-point

The intensification of violence in Iraq is creating political fracture in Washington and narrowing the White House's options.

Lebanon’s Palestinian shame

Lebanon's security as well as its self-interest demands a policy of humanity and respect towards the Palestinians in its midst, says Zaid Al-Ali.

The six-day war, forty years on

The Arabs' defeat by Israel in the lightning war of 1967 was followed by a deeper failure, says Hazem Saghieh.

Lebanon, Syria, Iran: lessons of Sharm el-Sheikh

Iran is up, Syria down, and Lebanon in trouble: Robert G Rabil assesses a new configuration in regional politics.

Israel's post-heroic disaster

The Winograd report dissects Israel's military and political failings in the Lebanon war of 2006. It also leaves the country's leaders with only one option, says Thomas O'Dwyer.

Sunni and Shi'a: coexistence and conflict

The deep and enduring split between Islam's two great sects cannot be healed in a climate of Muslim and Arab denial, says Hazem Saghieh.

The Syrian conundrum

Robert G Rabil's book reveals a Syria-United States relationship more changeable and nuanced than post-9/11 rhetoric indicates, says Carsten Wieland.

Losing your only friend: a liberal Muslim's letter to the west

A mixture of violence, hypocrisy and degradation is corroding the west's standing in the Arab and Muslim worlds. A fresh reconciliation of values is needed, says Tarek Osman.

The European Union and Palestine: a new engagement

The European Union could play a major role in reinvigorating the Palestine-Israel peace process by aiding Palestine. But it needs to be done intelligently and with care, says Richard Youngs

Palestine's argument: Mecca and beyond

The Saudi-mediated pact between Fatah and Hamas marks the return of Palestine as an arena for regional rivalry, says Khaled Hroub.

In the month since the agreement in Mecca, after the summit of 6-8 February 2007 which broke the bloody deadlock between Fatah and Hamas, the implications for Palestine and the region have become increasingly apparent.

Mai Ghoussoub in her time

The Lebanese artist and publisher was a courageous force for the enlargement of life, writes her friend across decades, Neil Belton.

Remembering Mai Ghoussoub

The loss of the Lebanese artist and publisher leaves her friends and colleagues bereft. Maggie Gee, Anna Wilson and Anthony Barnett pay tribute to Mai Ghoussoub.

Madrid plus fifteen

The Madrid summit of 1991 opened the way to the Israeli-Palestinian accords at Oslo in 1993. A gathering of its veterans looked forward as well as back, reports Kanishk Tharoor of Madrid11.

Lebanon's internal struggle: two logics in combat

The war between Hizbollah and Israel in Lebanon was a contest over the nation-state as the foundational unit of political action, says Hazem Saghieh.

Lebanon's two futures

The heated talk of revolution and civil war in Lebanon must be balanced by awareness of the way its people and institutions cope with political crisis, says Alex Klaushofer.

Lebanon on the brink - but of what?

Lebanon's internal political fractures combine with regional pressures to create a perilous moment for the country, reports Zaid Al-Ali in Beirut.

Israelis and Arabs: the Sadat precedent

The historic visit of Egypt's president to Jerusalem in November 1977 holds a vital lesson for those seeking a middle-east peace settlement today, says David Govrin.

Mahfouz's grave, Arab liberalism's deathbed

The Arab world's passage from progressive secularism to conservative religiosity in the last fifty years is illuminated by the work of Egypt’s greatest writer, says Tarek Osman.

A curse on difference: gays vs zealots in Israel

Amid Israel's wider security crises, the aggravation surrounding a gay-pride march provoked fleeting religious unity and a sense of liberty besieged, reports Jan McGirk in Jerusalem.

Syria's quagmire, al-Assad's tunnel

The Damascus regime has survived the fallout of war in Iraq and turmoil in Lebanon, but a closer look suggests that Bashar al-Assad's time is running out, argues Carsten Wieland.

Israel's paralysis

The Israeli novelist David Grossman marks the eleventh anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin with an impassioned plea to his compatriots and political leaders.

Lebanon: slices of life

The war shook the Lebanese inside out. Now – at rallies and parties, in art and life, with white anger and black humour - they are trying to make sense of it all. Mai Ghoussoub shares her journey into hearts and minds.

Driving with Rida

Suez: Arab victory or Arab tragedy?

The Suez conflict of October 1956 is remembered as a moment of Arab triumph as well as British and French humiliation. The perspective of fifty years suggests a different lesson to Hazem Saghieh.

Israel's strategic victory in Lebanon

The new facts on the ground in southern Lebanon suggest that the instant conventional wisdom about Hizbollah's victory over Israel is wrong, argues David Ucko.

Lebanon: who won the war?

Israel's painful post-war inquest is matched by Lebanese scepticism over Hizbollah's "divine victory", reports Eric Silver in Jerusalem.
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