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This week’s editor

“Sunny

Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Iran’s protesters are secularizing the 1979 revolution

What we see happening in Iran is the emergence of a new discourse that combines old traditions and new ideas that will strengthen a home-grown democracy.

Iran’s protests: time to reform

Without addressing head-on the drivers of the protests and pursuing popular reform, the Iranian leaders are only buying time until the next standoff between the state and the society.

Iran: the revolt of the deprived

The gap between power and society is also growing inexorably in Iran.

Will Iraq’s PM embrace a Trump-inspired Saudi-sponsored drive to curb Iranian influence?

Trump-MBS strategy has not made significant headway. Will they succeed in escalating anti-Shia confrontation against Iran and its allies?

The return of authoritarianism is priming the Middle East for more conflict

How is the Saudi-Iranian rivalry overwriting the Arab Spring’s key messages?

Critical voices in critical times: revolution without revolutionaries, an interview with Asef Bayat

Asef Bayat talks about revolutions and revolutionary ideas, the place of ordinary people in social transformation, and what we can learn from the “Tahrir moment.”

To become a bit more human: Review of Belén Fernández, “Letter from Iran”

In “Letter from Iran” Belén Fernández reminds us that we—people everywhere—are not Washington cyphers but flesh-and-blood human beings who must keep being defiant in order to retain that status.

Kurds’ choices: heed history or the US?

Who controls Syria’s borders? The US and Israel are encouraging Syrian Kurds to fight the regime and its allies for border control. The ensuing mayhem might unravel the Mideast and far beyond.

The colonial roots of Trump’s discourse on Iran

The colonial image of Persians as hypocritical and unreliable is so deeply entrenched in western imagination, that it affects policymaking on the highest levels.

All ‘hail’ the real king

The Saudi Monarch’s 4 November purge threatens the kingdom’s longstanding policy on dynastic rule, and paves the way for Salman’s abdication of power to his son Mohammed.

Western countries are more secure without nuclear arms

NATO’s current nuclear strategy is untenable. Crises during the Cold War reveal that nuclear strategies become dangerous exactly in the circumstances they are intended to deter, in political confrontations.

Contagion effect and the Saudi grand game in the Middle East

The willingness of Mohammed bin Salman to embark on a series of moves against Iranian power in the Middle East already shows evidence of severe miscalculation.

استفتاء كردستان والمعارضة السورية: لا موقف.. موقف.. وتخبّط

لم تختلف حصيلة أداء هيئات المعارضة بالعلاقة مع استفتاء الاستقلال الكردستاني من حصيلة أدائها بالعلاقة مع مسائل أخرى.

Relinquishing the ‘moral high ground’ to Iran

Any move to dismantle the nuclear deal will only relinquish the moral high ground to Iran, leaving the US as the isolated party.

Eastern Kurdistan: a silent politics with huge casualties

It is surely time that organisations that are internally active should dedicate their efforts to resuming activities that give hope to the people.

Kurdish struggles and the challenge of foreign support: the case of Syrian Kurds

What needs discussing critically is the historical and structural reasons that would leave a revolutionary movement with no option but to ask for help from virtually whoever offers it.

Kurds in Iraq: from Sykes-Picot to no-fly zones and beyond

Will the approaching referendum on independence open up a new phase for the Kurds, abrogating the Sykes-Picot Agreement?

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?

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