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

Libya: "Rejoicing at our bloody democracy"

For sustainable peace, the UN must refuse to sanction militarism as the default response to unwanted migration and invest in grassroots women and youth human rights defenders.

From shore to shore: regional collapse and human insecurity

These are policies that, whilst having a humanitarian veneer, radically exacerbate the burdens of migrants and displaced persons from and in countries like Libya, Syria, Eritrea, and Somalia, alike. 

Missing journalists: Tunisia’s Arab Spring meets Libya’s

Two radically different “Arab Springs” have collided in the ordeal of two Tunisian journalists in Libya.

Desperate people, hazardous escapes

Those fleeing violent conflict or brutal repressive regimes, facing darkness and terror as they journey from home to Europe, deserve compassion—not intolerance, paranoia and hate.

Surveillance, migrant deaths and humanitarianism in the Mediterranean

Smugglers are not the cause of migration; they are the consequences of the EU’s expanding border surveillance regime. The EU should concentrate on saving migrants from this regime.

Islamic State’s latest victims: poor defenceless Christian Ethiopians

After all, what IS wants is to create a polarized world of Muslim vs Christians by tapping into local discontent of various sorts.

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. 

Further notes on the evolution of the jihadi international movement

The Islamic State project is finding some consensus in countries where political deadlock reduces our social lives to a primordial level. Social and economic frustration stays at an all-time high level, even in a country like Tunisia.

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. 

Libya: the pressing need for dialogue

The western intervention in Libya in 2011 failed to recognise the complex warp and weft of its pre-democratic tribal fabric. Only a regionally facilitated dialogue can repair the shattered state left behind.

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.

Libya, containing the danger

The chaos in Libya will not be stopped by lazy rhetoric or easy options. The country's neighbours, Tunisia and Algeria, can teach the west a lesson. 

Are we all beheaded Copts?: outrage in Libya

Is the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by ISIS in Libya associated with a broader political project of cleansing the region of religious minorities? Would this not deserve demonstrations of solidarity?

Libya’s downward spiral

Libya after the Qadhafi regime is witnessing a complex array of struggles in which ambitions for power, claims to legitimacy, the taint of the past, and ownership of the 2011 revolution are among the key dividing lines.

This week's window on the Middle East - December 16, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Who cheered Mubarak’s acquittal on?

For history’s sake, the Arab peoples have revolted

Not only did the Arab peoples revolt, but the power of their revolts was so significant and threatening to the regional geopolitical order that the regional powers had to diffuse the collective consciousness at any cost.

This week's window on the Middle East - September 24, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Anti-Syrian sentiment in Lebanon.

Tripoli airstrikes

Maged Mandour

These airstrikes demonstrate new fault lines in the Arab world: between Arab conservative regimes, their Islamist foes, and the democratic secular forces who find themselves in an impossible situation. 

This week's window on the Middle East - July 8, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Syrian refugees in Turkey: “They are everywhere”.

Feeble captain in troubled waters: Algeria’s foreign relations after Bouteflika’s re-election

The current triple crisis also constitutes a chance for Algeria. More than ever it becomes clear that the country is indispensable for a solution of the security problems in the region.

Desolation and despair in Libya: the murder of Salwa Bugaighis

Looking back, it feels as if Salwa Bugaighis embodied not the hopes and aspirations of the majority of her country's people but a dream of revolution, shared by a minority of educated Libyans and nurtured by western journalists and democracy activists, says Lindsey Hilsum

Libya: the migrant trap

The discovery by the Italian navy of 30 bodies in a fishing boat at the weekend highlights the deadly trail of migrants from north Africa—for whom a chaotic Libya represent another hazardous transit point.

The Arab millennials will be back

Like much of the rest of the Arab Spring, the urge of the millennial generation across North Africa and the Middle East for a more multicultural world seems far from realization, but they have put it on a future Arab agenda. Its moment will return.

What is the US administration’s alternative to elections it does not particularly like?

It is in everyone’s long-term interest to stop purposefully undermining developing democratic processes. 

Not the end of the "Arab Spring", is it?

Much has happened in the Middle East in the last four years, but in Europe, the development of the state and of democracy took four centuries and many wars.

The rogue general and the migrant ‘massacre’ on the Mediterranean

Pressure on Europe as asylum-seekers in Libya risk everything to reach safety in Italy while the EU looks the other way.

‘We are here to stay and we won’t shut up’: Lampedusa in Hamburg’s indomitable fight for rights

For those people who stood on that thin cusp between survival and becoming a casualty of war, the consequences of those actions were of existential proportions. For most Europeans these brushes with life, death and profiteering remain largely invisible.

The fate of Gulf migrant workers is deeply connected to the fate of the Arab uprisings

The more the Gulf states pay a reputational cost in the west for maintaining this system of exploitation, the harder it will be for them to resist demands for serious reform. 

Libya, Syria and the “responsibility to protect”: a moment of inflection?

Since the Rwandan genocide and the wars in former Yugoslavia, the idea of a “responsibility to protect” vulnerable populations has acquired currency. The Libyan and Syrian crises have, however, seen the value of that currency recalibrated.

Film review: First to Fall

The author reviews a documentary film shot over an 8-month period about two friends who abandon life in Canada to return to their home country, Libya, to fight in the revolution against Gaddafi’s army.

The Arab Spring popular uprisings – myth and reality

It is critical to recognize the significance of this revolutionary chapter in the modern history of the Middle East and the creative conceptions and articulations of resistance that shattered the system of domination, particularly the popular roots of these uprisings amongst the urban and rural poor.

The Arab Spring and the changing balance of global power

From an empirical-analytical point of view, what has happened in the Middle East and North Africa since Mohammed Bouazizi died? This is not an opinion piece, but an assessment of underlying factors which have put pressure on the aspiration for justice and political reform launched by the Arab Spring. (5,000 words) 

Beyond a self-fulfilling prophesy: religion and conflict in the Middle East

Primordialism is back with a vengeance when it comes to analysing conflict in the Middle East. However, Libya and Egypt help us put religion in its proper place.

Getting transition right

Gathering in Salzburg, Austria looks at improving diversity and inclusion in the post-revolution MENA region.

This week's window on the Middle East - November 13, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Libya's Constituent Assembly: light at the end of the tunnel?

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