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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Turkey’s Mosul dream: showing up uninvited to a party or having prepared its seat well in advance?

Turkey is already shouldering the greatest portion of the burden for Syrian refugees.  It should temper its approach regarding Mosul accordingly.

The fight for Mosul: the danger of arming Sunni opponents to Daesh and the Sunni/Shia power struggle

The liberation of Mosul, backed up by Sunni powers, themselves backed up by western powers, will only add to the general feeling of injustice experienced by Shias and will only benefit Iran and its conspiracy theories.

Shia militias can be a greater threat to Iraq’s stability than Islamic State

The current security situation in Iraq is likely to worsen if the abuses of civilians by Shia militias within the PMF are not officially recognised and appropriately responded to.

Sowing the seeds of conflict in the Middle East

Whatever else they were guilty of, the two authors of the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, George Bush and Tony Blair, displayed an astonishing ignorance of history.

Iraq 13 years on

As life goes on in Baghdad, plans need to be put in place to make people’s lives more bearable. Planning should not wait until the war ends, because in Baghdad, as in much of Iraq, war is now the new normal.

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.

Chilcot tells us what we already knew – how do we implement?

Decisions to go to war don’t just analyze whether we can win. That is the easy part: the superiority of the western military machine makes this an absolute.

Will Chilcot mention the real reasons for the Iraq War and the hundreds of thousands who have died since March 2003?

As all sides are protecting their interests, who counts the lost lives alongside their own economic and political benefits?

A war of aggression

In Not The Chilcot Report (Head of Zeus books), Peter Oborne makes clear the erosion of trust between the British state and its public, as a result of the Iraq war.

The similarities between Suez in 1956 and Iraq in 2003 are uncanny

The Chilcot report will, at long last, draw lessons from the Iraq war of 2003 – which many experts have concluded was Britain’s worst strategic blunder since the Suez débâcle of 1956.

Carnage in Istanbul and the point of no return

Once the external anchor of Turkey’s democracy, the EU‘s normative influence has sunk as low as its reputation among its many erstwhile supporters, who now feel betrayed and abandoned.

Myth-busting in defense of grassroots women crisis responders

False claims that deny the impact of grassroots women's crisis responses are diverting much needed resources away from the very people making the best use of them.

Yazidi women sold as sex slaves

IS militants are now resorting to social media to sell sex slaves online. 

Regaining hope in Rojava

This is a revolution in consciousness, not only in politics, and it has transformed the lives of countless women and men for generations to come.

Defeating the Islamic State will take more than gunpowder

Attempting to defeat IS without beginning to address the political and structural failures that have led to these circumstances borders on the ridiculous.

Natural borders, beware a dangerous idea

Whatever borders follow the ongoing violence and war, they must under no circumstances be ‘natural’. 

US policy in Iraq – four steps back, two steps forward

What happens over the next few months will decide Iraq’s future, whether that is federalism, confederalism or its breakup. One thing is clear – the US has a role to play.

Young grassroots activism on the rise in Iraq: voices from Baghdad and Najaf

Through banners and slogans, grassroots groups find new, inclusive ways of being Iraqi in a country traumatised by authoritarianism, occupation and sectarian war.

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.

Inside Baghdad: the current state of play

The deal over cabinet nominations by PM Abadi and Sadr conclude months of intensifying protest in Baghdad’s famous Tahrir Square, demanding the reform of an ethno-sectarian political quota system.

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.

Cities of refuge

The 1951 Geneva Convention on Political Asylum was a typical creation of the Cold War: the system cannot deal with the huge population flows now permanently characteristic of our world.

Iraq and Syria didn’t create ISIS - we did

After the Paris attacks, ISIS became yesterday’s story, as if the terrorist movement had disappeared into far lands not able to affect our lives any more.

Why many young Arabs join violent radical groups

The key to combating extremism is prevention. But what are the conditions that lead youth to become radicalised?

Nonviolent strategies to defeat totalitarians such as ISIS

Military might has little success against violent terror organizations. If nonviolent strategies seem impractical, it is an even greater naiveté to think armed solutions can be the answer.

Women in post-conflict Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdistan does much better on women’s rights issues in comparison to the rest of Iraq, yet many challenges remain.

Coalition air strikes and the Sunni 'endgame' in Syria, Iraq

The pattern of strikes by the disjointed US-led coalition of Operation Inherent Resolve remains the best and most reliable public indicator of intentions and future operations in the short-term.

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?

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