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

Mosul under IS

Three Sunni men from Mosul describe life under the so-called Islamic State.

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.

A Syrian’s view of Europe

Humam, fleeing his war-torn country, made the perilous crossing from North Africa to Europe. He now reminds Precarious Europe how big and wonderful Europe can be.

Challenging the Syrian state: using information systems to document human-rights violations

How modes of resistance to document state-sanctioned violence changed after the uprising. From States of Impunity.

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. 

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.

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.

Listen to Syria’s non-violent activists: stop the bombs

Eighty-five groups representing 17,000 Syrians have backed the new campaign Planet Syria, demanding international pressure for an end to the bombs and real peace talks.

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. 

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. 

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.”  

Where are the people of Syria?

To mark the fourth anniversary of the uprising, the people of Syria tell their stories. 

Afraid of the dark

The lights have gone out in Syria, a symbol for the destruction it has seen. This video, a part of the #withSyria campaign, calls for the international community to step up.

The Rojava revolution

People fighting for survival experiment with their own path to democracy in the Middle East. Not just another effort to carve out an ethnic niche, but to establish a multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracy.

When will Islamic State use its chemical weapons?

The west turned a blind eye to the possible use of chemical weapons by militant Islamists allied against the Assad regime in Syria. Now that Islamic State almost certainly possesses them, the chickens are coming home to roost.

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.

Salaam and Paz: the word for Peace is Women

Situated far from sites of official peace negotiations, women’s activism, caretaking and community-building is often relegated to the category of service provision, but sustainable peace depends upon it. 

The increasingly dangerous Israeli-Iranian front in Syria

Israel, Iran and their allies struggle over their interests in the fate of Syria, only adding to the instability in the region.

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

I shall leave as my city turns to dust: Queens of Syria and women in war

In ‘Queens of Syria’, ancient Greek tales of loss and dislocation in conflict echo through to the contemporary realities of Syrian women, whose experiences of war and exile have often been ignored

Dateline Damascus: fighting on all fronts

For 12 days, two Dutch journalists travelled all over Assad’s Syria. They spoke with high-ranking officials in government and generals at the front lines. A unique look behind the scenes.

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.

Syria's digital civil war

Militarised spyware has played a crucial role in the Assad regime's offensive against the Syrian opposition. But further risk remains as Syrians' data has been swept up in the global surveillance dragnet. 

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.

Riding the caliphate interstate with Jeff Steinberg

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

The Islamic State's arrival in Gaza

With a never-ending siege on Gaza, the economic capacity of Palestinians has shrunk to an unbearable limit where families struggle to feed their children. A breeding ground is thereby created for extremism and radical ideologies. 

Infographic: understanding sectarianism

A very accessible introduction to how we should grasp and portray sect and sectarianism in Syria and the Middle East.

Anti-Syrian racism in Turkey

A wave of xenophobia is ruining the lives of Syrian refugees in Turkey where they are seen as criminals, accused of stealing jobs and responsible for anything that goes wrong. Media incitement and state inaction fuel the flames.

The intimacy of tyranny: Syria's de facto state legitimacy

The state has remained resilient in conflict-ridden Syria. A look into the intricacies of the abusive citizen-state relationship, and the state's Hobbesian passion for self-preservation.

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?

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