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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

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.

In search of cardinal virtues in Iraq

Political violence has ascended into a mode of governance in Iraq today, wherein religious identity reigns supreme.

Iraq and rest of humanity

To ask, why so much violence in Iraq, is, then, to ask what is happening to humanity everywhere in this world?

The challenges of building a shared Iraqi identity

If we take the fracturing of Iraqi memory to be an indicator of the direction Iraq is headed, then it is clear that reconciliation will also entail reconciling such competing narratives of Iraqi history, and thus identity.

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.

Iraq’s security dilemma and the intractable problem of the PMF

Given the current political forces in Baghdad and security realities in Mosul, an incremental approach is needed.

The survival game: post-referendum politics in Iraqi Kurdistan

The regional hostile post-referendum moves may seem to leave the Kurds with little reason for optimism, but in Kurdistan, resistance never comes as a surprise.

Iraqi Kurdistan: the fight for a seat at the table of nations

The result of Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum was never in doubt, but the budding state’s future is.

Not another story of failed liberation: tensions in Bashur and Rojava in the light of the referendum

Kurds need to rely on their own strength. The people must directly participate in and control their affairs if the fate of many other postcolonial countries is to be avoided.

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.

What we are fighting for

The relationship between Iraq and the United States is intimate, toxic, and enduring. It is a relationship whose violence is generally dismissed as inevitable.

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?

Justice after ISIS: time for judicial triage

The overwhelming reliance on a counterterrorism framework is showing its limits. Judges and local officials in Iraq and Syria are realizing that you cannot lock everyone up.

Kurdistan referendum: why now is the wrong time

It appears that the referendum is arguably nothing more than a bargaining chip used by President Barzani, whilst also covering itself as a clever ploy to lull the suffering Kurdish population away from the on-going problems.

Iraq after ISIS: continued conflict or rebuilding beyond ethno-sectarian identities?

Ignoring priorities that have popular support in Iraq risks undermining post-ISIS attempts to build a stable country, with knock-on effects at a regional level. 

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.

Why the ICC examination into torture and other abuses by UK soldiers in Iraq must continue

The Office of the Prosecutor is under pressure to conclude the examination. It must remain open. The Prosecutor should be taking it to the next logical step – a full-blown investigation. 

الانبعاثات وارتفاع درجات الحرارة في العراق

ترتفع درجات الحرارة في العراق هذا الصيف لتصل لدرجات غير مسبوقة فبحسب الارصاد الجوية العراقية سجلت المناطق الجنوبية قبل بضعة ايام 51 درجة مئوية وهي الأعلى منذ 30 سنة.

Preparing Iraq for the defeat of IS

Multiple segments of the population, including at elite level, have come together in the fight against IS and now the time has come for this effort to extend beyond the battle.

Can the Kurds pull off Kurdexit?

Iraqi Kurdistan president Masoud Barzani and former Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari share their thoughts about the upcoming referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan.

الغطاء النباتي واثره على التغير المناخي في العراق

يعاني العراق ارتفاع في درجات الحرارة وتأثير الرياح الجافة وتكرار العواصف الغبارية في المنطقتين الوسطى والجنوبية بوجه خاص ويتطلب فهم اثارها البيئية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية والصحية وربما السياسية في الوقت الحاضر والمستقبل، للوصول الى الوسائل الناجعة لتقليل الاثار السلبية.

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.

Iraqi feminists mobilise against sectarian laws

The sectarian personal status code comes in a context marked by social and religious conservatisms, sectarian conflicts, political instability and the absence of a strong unifying state.

Whatever happened to peace? Arms, oil and war by proxy

We're living in a new era of proxy warfare, where multiple powers fund local proxies with disastrous consequences. We need to break the cycle.

Britain would have been safer with Corbyn in charge

Jeremy Corbyn consistently voted against wars of choice that Britain could have refrained from taking part in, now regarded as strategic failures, promoting, not reducing, international terrorism.

Lost and found hopes in hell: testimonies from an Iraqi hospital

Yazan al-Saadi gathers some of the astonishing stories from staff and patients of MSF’s trauma hospital in Hammam al-Alil, the closest surgical facility to West Mosul. عربي

آمال ضائعة في جحيم الحرب: شهادات حيّة من مستشفى عراقي

يجمع يزن السعدي شهادات حياة صادمة من موظفي ومرضى مستشفى أطباء بلا حدود لعلاج الإصابات البالغة في منطقة حمام العليل، علماً أنّ هذا المستشفى يشكّل المنشأة الجراحية الأقرب إلى غرب الموصل. English

“Women and Children First”: war, humanitarianism, and the refugee crisis

Is a rethinking of laws of armed conflict or international humanitarian law, humanitarian assistance and refugee policy not significantly overdue?

Frenemies forever: Iraqi Shi’a after Mosul

In Baghdad Iraqi Shi’a political parties and elites are returning to patterns of infighting habituated by decades of coalition- and relation-building in both the pre- and post-Saddam Iraq.

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.

Gertrude Bell: the tragedy of her letters from Baghdad

A remarkable new documentary assembled from Gertrude Bell's letters read over archive footage makes us wish for what might have been

Iraqi Kurdistan: from democratic consensus to de facto autocracy

Due to the war with ISIL and international support, the Kurdistan region is currently run by an autocratic administration under the influence of neighboring countries.

Muddling through in Mosul

The west has treated ISIS as enemy number one while local actors see it as a sideshow in a political arena stretching from the Mediterranean to Iran. What does the defeat of ISIS in Mosul mean for Iraq?

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