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This week's editor

“Phoebe

Phoebe Braithwaite is openDemocracy’s submissions editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Seeking refuge in refugees

Glimpses of life in a Greek refugee camp through the diary of a young volunteer.

هوامش فيما حول العلمانية

يفيدنا النموذج اللبناني، رغم كل ثغراته، بتوضيح مفهوم بسيط يخص منطقتنا. غياب الدولة في النموذج اللبناني هو كناية عن غياب تمركز السلطة.

PKK music: engineering a social revolution

Music has shaped the social engineering of the entire Kurdish community, be it in Turkey and Syria to the swathes of Rojava in northern Syria.

من السلفية إلى العلمانية

لقد كانت هناك دائماً سلفية من نوع ما، وهي تمثل إيديولوجيا تتلوّن كلّ مرة بثوب جديد والقالب نفسه لا يتغيّر ويمكن تصنيفها في تيارين كبيرين لكلّ منهما جزئيات كثيرة متفرعة.

A trip to liberated Minbic in Northern Syria: from hell to paradise

The city of Minbic (Manbij) and its surroundings are among the most contested regions in the Syrian war. Ercan Ayboga interviewed representatives of the new Democratic Administration in Minbic.

On the duality of laicism and dictatorship and the rise of political Islam

Is there another outlet or framework in the Arab world outside the dichotomy of Islamism or nationalism? [عربي]

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.

White phosphorus over Raqqa

The local population in Raqqa is paying a very heavy price for the massive aerial attacks on the town.

‘Lost in Lebanon’ explores restless wait for return

The film examines various dimensions of loss through a new concept of life in exile, in a country where precarious residency comes without self-awareness.

A new international municipalist movement is on the rise – from small victories to global alternatives

In a world stuck between neoliberal crisis and authoritarianism, a reinvigorated municipalist movement is proving a powerful tool to build emancipatory alternatives from the ground up.

عودة كرة القدم إلى مدينة حلب يسلّط الضوء على مناورات النظام السياسية

بالنسبة للكثيرين، كان هذا عرضاً من قبل الحكومة السورية، لاستخدام كرة القدم كأداة لتعزيز صورتها كـ"محرّر" المدينة، وجاء على حساب عشرات الآلاف من السوريين القتلى أو النازحين. English

Russia’s Syrian Constitution reveals more than anticipated

The draft constitution reveals more about Russia and its views of what’s best for Syria, than what the Syrians themselves might possibly contemplate.

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.

Return of football to Aleppo highlights regime’s political theatrics

On January 28, locals from western Aleppo gathered to watch a football match, as a testament to how powerful the effect of a single strategically positioned match can be on a dictator’s image.

“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?

Red lines: can we be sure that Assad was responsible?

Why has the mainstream media reported Assad’s guilt as a fact and failed to address the crucial question of why he deliberately shot himself in the foot – twice?

To stand up for the powerless in Syria, the Left must embrace complexity

The Syrian uprising has divided the international Left between those who support Assad and those who support the Syrian opposition, while muting the voices of Syrians whose realities force them to reject simple binaries.

Towards an inclusive and pluralistic citizenship in Syria

Talk about building a new form of citizenship in Syria might seem unrealistic today, but in fact, it should be seen as a long-term strategy.

Why strike Syria, Trump?

Waging war and licensing military conflict is as big as it gets. We must be cautious of spurring on a president we can’t trust.

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.

Tabqa Dam: the key to capturing Raqqa

An interview with Sinan Deniz, a Kobane-based ANF journalist embedded with the SDF forces in their battle to take the Tabqa dam and liberate Raqqa from Islamic State control.

عقدة الإسلام السياسي السوري وعقدة مستقبله

عقدة الإسلام السياسي السوري تستمد خيوط تعقيدها من خيوط عقد الأزمة السورية ذاتها، من جهة، ومن عقدة خيوط البنية الفكرية الأصولية ذاتها، من جهة أخرى، سواء أخذت هذه البنية شكلاً سنياً أم شيعياً

Conflict in Syria: stop instrumentalising women’s rights

The international community is not listening to us. It must depoliticise the fight against sexual violence and humanise the countering violent extremism strategy.

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

Estados Unidos contra Siria: ¿Guerra Justa o sólo guerra?

La administración Trump ha cruzado una línea que Obama no cruzó: atacar directamente a Siria. Las consecuencias para la política exterior de Estados Unidos son potencialmente catastróficas. English

US strike against Syria: a Just War or just a war?

The Trump administration itself has crossed a line that Obama did not cross: directly attacking Syria. The consequences for US foreign policy are potentially catastrophic. Español

Trump: justified yet unpredictable

The airstrikes were justified. But Trump’s policymaking is dangerously unpredictable.

Regime wages war of documents on Syrians

One of the oldest manifestations of the Syrian government’s corruption has always been the blockage and manipulation of official documents.

Assad’s rational brutality

Bashar al-Assad is a rational tyrant. Since he inherited the presidency in 2000, Assad has strategically employed brutality to repress dissent and maintain power.

الفاعلية النفسية والأمل: مساعدة المجتمعات على معالجة نفسها

يتناول هذا المقال نموذجًا يرتكز على مجالس مستقلة التنظيم تابعة للمعارضة كشريكٍ رئيسي محتمل في تعزيز القدرة على معالجة الصحة العقلية في المجتمعات المتأثرة بالصراع. English

Agency and hope: helping communities healing themselves

When planning mental health services, treating PTSD is what usually comes to mind. What role do local communities play in building resiliency in Syria? عربي

Trump’s Syrian “safe area” is just another wall

Without a true and robust commitment to save lives, Trump’s idea for a safe area in Syria looks more like a death trap.

Syria: Is peace possible if Assad stays?

Whatever the political outcome, transitioning from violence to peace is not just about the removal of violence. How can this future be achieved and who will do this work?

Solution for Syria en route: ‘Democratic Federation of North Syria’

Hediye Yûsîf, Co-Chair of the council of the new political structure, renamed ‘Democratic Federation of North Syria’, explains the thinking and the process behind the initiative.

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