only search openDemocracy.net

This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The strange case of Dr Saud and Mr Jihad

Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, provides a useful metaphor for Saudi Arabia and its relationship with its allies.

Can the Saudi-led coalition win the war in Yemen?

Those deciding for war in March 2015 gave little thought to Yemeni realities, military, logistic, topographic, social or political, human cost, or an exit strategy. But questions are being raised.

The reckless power behind the throne

King Salman's son Mohammad seems to be piloting Saudi Arabia into a series of ever more risky adventures.

Saudi executions: beyond the numbers

The inability to recognise an affront to the rule of law, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator, reveals the region’s dire state of affairs, politically, morally, and intellectually. Arabic

Can Yemenis escape?

So what are Yemenis to do? Close the doors of their houses and slowly die of starvation and thirst?  Or move en masse, the way Syrians are now heading for Europe?

Where is the outrage on David Cameron’s scandal in the Gulf?

The UAE, we now know, was busy planning its own operation against Muslim Brotherhood affiliates at home while urging David Cameron to do the same in Britain.

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?

Saudi blockade threatens famine in Yemen

Yemeni civilians are starving as the international community tacitly allows the blockade to continue. It must be lifted so they have a chance for survival.

The Vienna Talks are the first serious attempt to end the war in Syria

The US is finally playing the role of facilitator, not party to the conflict. That is a good sign, and a hopeful one for the Syrian people.

Europe's refugee-love

Fear pushes us to know the social and political determinations of refugees from a right-wing perspective ('are they potential ISIS militants?'). But compassion works by blinding us to it.

'Something wicked this way comes': the Arab transitions (part 1)

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 one: North Africa, Egypt and the Gulf.

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.

Saudi Arabia's game of thrones

In the round of 'royal musical chairs' that played out two months ago, the Sudairi branch of the royal family consolidated its grip on power at the expense of those loyal to the late King Abdullah. 

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.

Out of the Middle East

It is time for Arab Gulf countries to stop being on the defensive and to accept their responsibility for what is happening in the region.

Spilling the beans, Riyadh style

With recent events, the Saudis are involuntarily proving Obama's point: petrodollars and weapons cannot buy them security, but social and political reform just might.

Palestinian unity: a dream buried deep?

Neither Fatah nor Hamas are willing to accept power sharing, and the division between them is no longer merely ideological in nature.

Amendments to Sudanese criminal law

Walaa Salah

Amendments don't mean change. It’s high time for a comprehensive campaign against the entire legal system, calling for dignity and equality for all.

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.

Sudan and Operation Decisive Storm

Major opposition parties in Sudan boycotted the elections that took place earlier this month, but are now supporting the government's decision to join Operation Decisive Storm disregarding the effect this will have on the people of Yemen.

What if the Saudis win? Avoiding massive sectarian bloodshed in Yemen

Saudis won’t pull the triggers – AQAP, IS and various Sunni militias will do that – but they and their Sunni and American allies will be politically and morally culpable.

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. 

Saudi Arabia’s big mistake in Yemen

Saudi Arabia, by committing itself to an unlimited military escalation in Yemen, has over-reached itself.

This is what a feminist foreign policy looks like

Margot Wallström’s decision not to sell arms to Saudi Arabia demonstrates the fundamental rethink needed to achieve a feminist foreign policy. Herein lies women's power to stop war. 

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.

Will Middle East ground troops be rallied against IS ?

Try as we might, the question of Mr. Assad’s fate will not go away: all roads stubbornly lead back to Damascus.

Saudi Arabia’s new king fuelling the feud among younger royals

Saudi Arabia must cover its tracks by not only forcefully denouncing ISIS and JN but actively introducing stiffer measures demonstrating that it is genuinely combating terrorism. How does this play out in terms of royal power?

Why we hate our reflections: Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State

Al Saud might be afraid of many things, but the main threat to their survival comes from within their historical legacy, from their own language; from the Islamic State.

Succession in Saudi Arabia: no surprises here

People should not expect drastic change in Saudi Arabia, as the regime's primary concern will be to maintain the status quo.

Domestic slavery in Britain “worse than Saudi Arabia”?

This week, 200 years after Britain abolished slavery, the UK’s domestic labour laws have been unfavourably compared to a country in the top ten for human rights abuse

Subsidising climate change

We need to raise awareness about how the rich oil nations keep subsidising oil extraction whilst agreeing that the world needs to cut emissions. Taxpayers cannot passively let their governments do this.

Charlie Hebdo: the Prophet does not want to be avenged

Those who hold Muslims accountable for these acts, or demand that they apologize for them, are delusional. Beyond Europe, Al-Qaeda has declared open war against most Arab and Muslim-majority countries, especially those allied to the west. 

Israel in the Arab consciousness: friend or foe?

Maged Mandour

The events of the Arab Revolt have dramatically shifted the position of Israel in the region. Arab regimes have moved from rejecting the existence of Israel to accommodation, to implicit cooperation, in some cases, open cooperation.

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.

Saudi's husseiniya massacre: sectarianism coming home to roost

The murder of Shi'a worshippers in the Eastern Province, by fighters who are returned jihadis, is the latest instance of blow-back. The Saudi regime must quickly change course.

Syndicate content