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This week's editor

VM

Our guest editor, Valsamis Mitsilegas, director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of London, introduces this week’s theme: Privacy and Surveillance in 2016.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The fateful marriage: political violence and violence against women

Pervasive and diverse, instances of violence against women can only be fully comprehended in the political contexts that give them purpose and meaning.

Between Trump and Baghdadi

Maged Mandour

Backwards looking politics is a malaise affecting both the west and east. It breeds violence as global elites clamber to maintain their grip on power.

 

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.

Outside the box: a Sunni endgame in Syria, Iraq?

A series of related events point to a possible endgame scenario in Syria and Iraq.

The paradox of the Syrian conflict and its politics

While the French president has won public approval and international backing for the fight against IS, differences persist about the necessity of coordinating with Russia.

Why it would be sheer folly to redraw Middle East borders along ethnic lines

However groundless the Sykes-Picot Agreement, is a Balkanisation of Syria and Iraq really the way forward?

Body counting and precision bombing in failed states

The words ‘precision-guided missiles’ are used to make us think that British warplanes can go there and help the good guys, the so-called moderate rebels, without much, if any, collateral damage. 

Three realities of the Isis conflict

The west must prioritise civilian wellbeing in any intervention. What might help?

Paris as a test case for the west

One effective way for western governments to keep their people safe is to press for fundamental reforms in countries where armed extremists thrive, rather than subverting democracy at home.

Why the west cannot defeat ISIS

Maged Mandour

ISIS has emerged from the wounds of the Arab world—for which the west is to a large extent responsibleand current airstrikes are pouring salt into these wounds.

International community neglects to act on Yazidi genocide

Mass murder, rape, slavery, and kidnapping; the situation for the Yazidi community is dire and the international community's reponse has been wholly inadequate.

If ISIS uses chemical weapons, the west will be partly responsible

How can the international community respond effectively and promptly to this growing threat, not just to the Middle East region, but to the world?

Islamic State as the Saddam regime’s afterlife: the Fedayeen Saddam

In the Fedayeen—connected to the global Islamist terrorist movement, combining elements of Ba’athism with an increasingly-stern Salafism—is a microcosm of the Saddam regime’s mutation into Islamic State (ISIS).

IS attacks and not playing their game

For the terrorists, best would be to be left alone to consolidate. Next best would be an epic all-out confrontation with western infidel ground forces. We should not give them what they want.

The fragmentation of power in the Arab world

Maged Mandour

Many Arab countries seem to have reverted to a mode of power reminiscent of a pre-modern form of politics, where coercion is the sole source of power.


Lifting the ban on women’s shelters in Iraq: promoting change in conflict

There is a crisis-level need for shelter in Iraq, so why does the Iraqi government maintain a policy that stymies critically needed temporary housing and threatens the safety of those willing to provide it?

Will Iraq's prime minister implement Al Sistani’s anti-corruption dictates?

The wave of protests sweeping across Iraq has led Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani to demand that Abadi get serious about tackling corruption. But the prime minister's response so far has been far from reassuring.

'Something wicked this way comes': the Arab transitions (part 2)

An excerpt from a NOREF report on the background to the current situation in the Middle East, focusing on the aftermath of the 'Arab Spring'. Part two: Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

The new war for the Middle East

ISIS has stepped opportunistically into the vacuum created by the absence of state, loss of shared narrative and feeble leverage of powers. But there may be a way ahead. A NOREF report.

Why is Turkey bombing the Kurds?

Given interlocking domestic, regional, and international developments, the AKP has launched attacks on ISIS and the PKK, the latter evidently being the main target, with four main objectives.

America's not so exceptional foreign policy

What can explain the myopia of US policy towards Sudan, when it knows Sudan has been facilitating ISIS in Libya, Syria and Iraq, and other terror groups?

The limited effectiveness of US Middle East policy

There's not much the US can do in a post-Saddam Middle East except practice containment (and keep up airpower)—another invasion of foreign occupiers will only drive yet more legitimacy to Daesh.

When it comes to ‘Islamic State,’ the west just doesn’t get it

There is much the west does not understand about its latest enemy, in which it faces more than 'just' extremists.

Book review: Enemy on the Euphrates

Ian Rutledge’s book, Enemy on the Euphrates: The British Occupation of Iraq and the Great Arab Revolt, 1914–1921 (Saqi Books, 2014), is a story of imperial arrogance and plunder and the inevitable reaction it generates.

Remembering Nazik Al-Mala'ika

On the eighth anniversary of her death, we remember the legacy of Iraq's uncrowned queen of poetry, Nazik Al-Mala'ika.

Prospects for a future Kurdistan

A future independent Kurdish state faces many political, economic, and administrative challenges, but its success could be a game-changer in the Middle East.

The theology of American national security

Clinging to policies that have manifestly failed is madness—but that is exactly what the US is doing in Iraq.

The rebirth of Iraqi cinema

A group of young Iraqi filmmakers are working on creating a local film industry, in an attempt to present alternative realities and revive Iraqi culture.

Islamic State: more popular than you think

The powerful rise of religious fascism, though exacerbated by economic and political crises, is rooted in the ethnic and religious intolerance that has thrived in the region for decades.

The age of 'white men in suits'

Maged Mandour

White men in suits support Arab autocrats while the suffering many are vilified as dangerous to the fabric of western societies: external threats or worse, immigrants attempting to infiltrate.

Mosul under IS

Three Sunni men from Mosul describe life under the so-called Islamic State.

The wounds of Baghdad's Frankenstein

Ahmed al-Sa'dawi's novel, rather than reconciling the complexities of violence in Iraq, seeks to exorcise the demons that haunt the lives of ordinary people left with wounds from decades of imperial brutality. From States of Impunity.

The Iraqi crisis: rethinking the narrative

An approach to Iraq focused on military intervention, with some humanitarian assistance, has defied the complexity of the domestic and regional kaleidoscope. No wonder it is failing.

Self-immolation in Kurdish Iraq

Why has self-immolation become an alarmingly common trend in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein?

Iraq's vanishing heritage: risks and solutions

Despite the challenges involved in rescuing Iraq's endangered cultural and archaeological sites, a recent conference put forward concrete, long-term solutions.

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