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This week's editor

Adam Ramsay, Editor

Adam Ramsay is Co-Editor at openDemocracyUK.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The possible devastating outcome of a Kurdish referendum

An attempt to establish a Kurdish state including Kirkuk is likely to result in a truncated and economically devastated mini-Kurdistan.

Race to the sea: Qatar and the balance of power in the Middle East

If the Qatari crisis is not managed rationally, then it is likely to compound the present risks in the regional balance of power, with consequences for all states in the region.

Defying conventional wisdom and ‘getting real’ with Iran

The process of reviewing the new US administration’s policy on Iran has been greatly hampered by out-of-date preconceptions and wanton comments on the part of some senior officials interested in scoring points with certain domestic constituencies.

Qatar crisis: a broader consolidation of power

Despite the real tension and rivalries, there is far more that unites Qatar and surrounding countries than what separates them.

The return of Banisadr to the heart of Iranian politics

A permanent state of crisis has intersected with the Supreme leader’s actions to create conditions for the emergence of a new ‘post-reformist’ conjuncture. Could this lead to a paradigm shift in Iran?

Behind The Saudi-Qatari spat and the fragmentation of the GCC

The sanctions on Qatar aim to force the government of Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to alter its foreign policy – particularly regarding its warming relations with Iran.

Lebanon in the eye of the regional storm

Hizbollah’s proven armed capability in Syria, Israel’s perceived political defeat in 2006, coupled with a possible US and Saudi green light, may make confrontation inevitable.

Iran’s city and village council elections and women’s political participation

Iran's city and village council elections highlight Iranian women's increased involvement in the political process and decision-making.

Tehran attacks: local and regional significance

The attacks in Tehran, the crisis in Qatar, and the announced Kurdish independence referendum in Iraq are interconnected parts of a failure to build a cooperative regional system.

The surreal ‘grand coalition’ against Iran

The open manifestation of an ‘American-Sunni’ coalition against Iran with huge anti-Shia intonations does nothing to promote peace, stability and coexistence in the region.

The significance of Rouhani’s win: reality or illusion?

What lies ahead for Iran? Two personal views on the Iranian elections, one hopeful and one pessimistic from two people who supported Rouhani in the elections, one more reluctantly than the other.

Iran's precision engineered elections

The Islamic Republic of Iran's engineering of its so-called elections starts from the very day the Guardian Council announces the short list of candidates.

Iran’s presidential election: the cynical moderate versus the representative of the deep state

As the incumbent moderate president faces off the Islamic Republic's deep state, potential variations and the shadow of previous disputed elections looms menacingly.

Tale of a stillborn migration

Some stories are not dramatic enough to be widely reported by the media. Yet, like other cases of flagrant injustice, they are worth being told. This is one of them.

Method in Trump’s madness?

A look at Donald Trump’s 'travel bans' with an eye to the harvesting of personal data, and the EU-US Privacy Shield, now on life support.

Populism, terrorism, and the crisis in western democracies: an interview with Iran’s former president

Abolhassan Banisadr, Iran's first post-revolutionary president, discusses neo-liberalism, the crisis in western democracies, and the relationship between Islamic terrorism and the rise of far-right politics.

The president who loved generals

General Mattis, now shaping Washington’s Iran policy, asked by President Obama what he thought were the top three threats, replied “Number one: Iran. Number two: Iran. Number three: Iran.”

Syrian civil society

The third annual meeting of the Syrian Civil Coalition was held in Beirut on January 27-30 2017. Could a new understanding have come too late?

Many birds, one stone: why did Iran execute 25 Sunni Kurds in August 2016?

In the chaos and instability the region is experiencing, now more than ever, religious and racial minorities find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

Campaign to free Arash Sadeghi

Iranian civil society activists Arash Sadeghi and Golrokh Ebrahimi-Iraee are victims of the regime's emboldened judiciary.

Make Russia great again? Aleppo and a plea from another world

During the last days of December, Russia will host a round of diplomatic talks with Iran and Turkey.

The regional implications of the fall of Aleppo

The lesson Arab autocrats are likely to learn from Syria is simple: under the current international climate the use of severe repression is effective.

Táhirih unveiled: poet, theologian and revolutionary

Táhirih – an important figure in Persian history – helps us imagine a more diverse feminism and a more progressive Middle East. Her legacy is not limited to Bahá’ís but belongs to all of us.

Erdogan at a crossroad: dictatorship or democracy

An interview with A.H. Banisadr, Iran’s former president, about the aftermath of the coup in Turkey.

What is missing in President Barzani’s rhetoric for a Kurdish state-building enterprise?

The question before Masoud Barzani is what to do in order to turn state-building rhetoric into a future Kurdish state.

Can Islamism provide deliverance?

Maged Mandour

Modern day Islamism represents the interests of a specific social class that has few qualms about current social and economic structures.

The June 1981 coup: the stolen narrative of the Iranian revolution

We can fundamentally transform our understanding of the Iranian revolution by letting the untold stories to be told.

Iran’s military objectives in Syria and Russia’s contradictory positions

As the US and Russia speak of a mutual agreement over Syria, Iran and Assad are continuing their ruthless slaughtering of the Syrian people.

Will Iran’s new parliament improve women’s rights?

The problem was the Guardian Council, a body which has veto authority over any legislature, which in this case rejected all 33 bills introduced by women deputies.

The moat that preserves the castle. What are the elections in Iran for?

As Frantz Fanon once argued, for colonial powers the most effective way to control a colonized people is to humiliate them. Reformist discourse in Iran functions in the same way.

The state of regional Kurdish politics: divided as ever

The confidence that prevailed in Kurdish streets in the aftermath of the Kobane victory is now replaced by a growing sense of abandonment and misery, with nationalism its natural expression.

The troubling political economy of Iraq’s Sh’ia clerical establishment

Iraqi and Iranian Shia have been competing over Iraq's shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala since the invasion. Al Sistani's successor will have to cope with the fall-out.

Saudi executions: beyond the numbers

The inability to recognise an affront to the rule of law, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator, reveals the region’s dire state of affairs, politically, morally, and intellectually. Arabic

Hans Blix – a diplomatic life

Hans Blix ponders his long career in international politics and diplomacy, the state of the Middle East, and why he is an advocate for nuclear power. Interview.

The drowned and the saved: Foucault's texts on migration and solidarity

This is (along with Islamism and neoliberalism) one of a certain number of global issues on which Foucault can be credited with having shown a degree of prescience; and the future he foresees is sombre.

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