This week's editor

Heather McRobie

Heather McRobie is an editor at 5050.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Iraq's female citizens: prisoners of war

Iraqi woman human rights defender Yanar Mohammed spoke to Jennifer Allsopp at the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference about grass-roots responses to the atrocities women are facing under ISIS.

The Arab World: towards bi-polarity?

Maged Mandour

In Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain, it will be very difficult for revolutionary democratic movements to succeed in such a bi-polar order.

Shelters without walls: women building protective infrastructures against rape

Women from Colombia, Syria, Nicaragua and Iraq are implementing multi-layered prevention strategies in their communities against rape being used as a weapon of war, offering immediate protection and countering stigma.

Arab autocracy & revolution

Maged Mandour

Until now, the struggle between autocrats and revolutionaries has been confined within national boundaries. But as the trend shifts towards a pooling of autocratic regimes’ resources, any future confrontation must be regional. 

US airstrikes weaken ISIL but keep it as a viable threat

The US Air Force stood idly by as ISlL swept towards Baghdad, but swiftly scrambled in August to launch airstrikes to halt an unexpected advance towards Irbil – capital of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). 

Shia crescent: self-fulfilling prophecy

Iran does not have influence over the region’s various Shia actors by default, but is helped by the way the Arab world regimes have historically treated Shia actors in the region. 

Islamic State: beyond Tikrit

An intense battle for the Iraqi city of Tikrit, north of Baghdad, hints at the background and future of the wider conflict.  

Women and the Arab Spring: a dream turned nightmare

Change must start from within each individual. As quoted in the Quran, “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”  

In the shadow of an empire

Maged Mandour

The reasons for the involvement of the west in the MENA region are not limited to oil and security. These are the arguments used by both local autocrats and western powers to maintain control. The real threat however is a global revolutionary movement.

9/11 wars: a reckoning

Snared by geopolitical interests, post-9/11 interventions have too easily been captured by leading states. A robust law enforcement process must serve enforcers of law, not agents of geopolitical interests.

Misdirection at the Chilcot Inquiry

The Inquiry shows us that when asked a difficult question there is nearly always a way to deflect responsibility.

IS: from a jihadist ideology to a jihadist state, Part 2

A bizarre new Middle East is taking shape. We are now witnessing the disintegration of two countries and the rise of one ruthless caliphate. Part 1

Iraq: the assault on minorities

Islamic State is certainly a threat—but not mainly to the West, as the horrific experiences of members of minorities in Iraq testifiy.

A Saudi-Iranian grand bargain

Pundits have long criticised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for propagating Wahhabism, its austere brand of Sunni Islam, but have failed to address the underlying regional context.

There is no such thing as a moderate Syrian opposition

The Syrian Arab Army has multiple charities that go house to house looking after its men in uniform.

Riding the caliphate interstate with Jeff Steinberg

An interview on the origins of Islamic State and its relationship with regional and global powers.

EU and the Arab world: 'cooperation' to fight terror is an excuse

Maged Mandour

The EU is following a bizarre logic, where support is given to autocratic regimes who benefit from the rise of extremist groups, instead of seeking reasons for the rise of radicalization among European youth. Why?

The military-industrial complex in Iraq

Radical Islam has proven, with Washington’s help, a worthy successor to the Soviet Union, a superb money-making venture and great way to build a monumental national security state.

Arab dictators: between tactical brilliance and strategic stupidity

Maged Mandour

The Arab World is becoming increasingly unstable and the current elites are using severe coercion to remain in power. However, the use of coercion will lead to instability, as the opposition becomes more radicalized and prone to violence.

On Charlie Hebdo, freedom of speech, terrorism, and the value of lives

Muslims, especially in France, have nothing to apologize for. This does not mean they shouldn't take a stance and condemn these acts of violence. But they should not apologize.

The CIA torture report: through Arab eyes

Maged Mandour

The fear that the US has lost its moral compass is vastly exaggerated, for the simple reason that the US - at least in the Arab World - never possessed this moral legitimacy in the first place.

Dogs, water and coffins: an untold story of British torture in Iraq

The UK has engaged in abuse and torture during the ‘War on Terror’ whilst, simultaneously, maintaining that its actions are driven by the ideals of democracy and human rights.

The stories we tell about ISIS and women

Political and popular discussions about strategies to confront ISIS are doing women in Iraq and Syria a disservice, and playing into the hands of ISIS.

Sexualized violence in Iraq: how to understand and fight it

Sexualised and gender-based violence in Iraq, highlighted in recent weeks in relation to ISIS atrocities, has been at the heart of sectarian and authoritarian politics and developments since 2003. How can we talk about it and mobilise against it?

Battle for Kobane puts Kurdish peace process on knife's edge

Kurdish protestors could hold the promise of a new chapter in their history: in which people refuse to be part of a state-constructed artificial dichotomy between the Kurds and the Turks.

The last Arab

Maged Mandour

The signs of the erosion of Arab identity are visible across the region. This identity is directly tied to the nature of the Arab political order: the two go together.

Kobane, transforming the regional dynamic

The fight for Kobane is not limited to a local struggle against IS militants, but reverberates politically and strategically across the region.

This week's window on the Middle East - November 3, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: A Syrian fearing exile and return.

Amidst ISIS war, Kurdish discourses on national self-determination

The US and EU urgently need a better understanding of realities on the ground, the nature and diversity of attitudes to national self-determination in various parts of Kurdistan, and how they have been affected by the war against ISIS.

Why not Kurdistan?

As the Iraqi crisis haunts the Kurds, double standards in the principle of self-determination come to the fore.

Can the Arab world defeat ISIS?

Maged Mandour

What will three forces contribute to the defeat of ISIS: Arab autocrats, moderate Islamist groups and secular democratic protest movements - the first initiators of the Arab Revolt? We can discount the first...

When the US chooses terrorism

IS was created by lack of justice, dignity and governance. Instead of tackling these root issues, the US chose to target the outcomes through brutal terrorism to maintain its hegemonic power structure in the region. 

Kobane: the struggle of Kurdish women against Islamic State

The international community should support a secular, multi-religious and multi-ethnic Rojava with democratic ambitions, that is a threat for IS and equally for the conservative Islamic government in Turkey. This is democracy in action in the Middle East.

Kobane: long live Obama

It now appears that Kobane will not fall. But Turkey’s apathy towards the plight of the city, coupled with their stealthy support for ISIS, is something the Kurds will never forget.

What does Kobane mean for the international community?

There is still time to quell IS in Syria but the world must be prepared to act immediately, before it is too late.

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