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This week's editor

NSS, editor

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

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Hidden Warfare 3: Special forces

While Britain’s conventional army is being slashed, Britain’s special forces are benefiting from special treatment. Their budget was doubled in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Turkey’s Syrian and Iraqi adventures: the underlying message

Turkey is sending a message that its armed forces are still a strong and capable fighting force, despite large-scale purges of officers of the highest ranks.

Trump and climate change: why not talk about threat multipliers?

Discussing climate-linked migration as a “threat” requires adopting the premise that migration is a threat. And perhaps even that migrants themselves are a threat.

Making global citizenship education possible for refugees

Our students, learning about global values, become frustrated that they are unable to experience this world. Learning about diversity, they possess limited opportunities to interact with people from elsewhere.

Syria’s “voice of conscience” has a message for the west

Syrian dissident Yassin Al-Haj Saleh talks about the left and the regime, revolution and hope, Islam and secularism.

Will a No-Fly Zone help the people of Aleppo?

The debate around a no-fly zone in Syria is governed by divisions in the political establishment and opposing views.

Moazzam Begg and The Confession, Part Two.

"Whatever you want to think about Moazzam Begg...  the film demands that you recognize that the rule of law, that quintessential British value, has not been exercised in our time."

Avoiding a precedent in Syria and the Balkanisation of the Middle East

A key part of resolving the Syrian conflict lies in establishing a more coherent military-diplomatic dynamic and in post-conflict planning, and the solution is heavily dependent on perceptions.

Portrait of the artist and The Confession, Part One

An interview with the director of The Confession, Moazzam Begg’s story commissioned by BBC Storyville and the BFI - one of the most resonant modern stories for our times.

The fight for Mosul: the danger of arming Sunni opponents to Daesh and the Sunni/Shia power struggle

The liberation of Mosul, backed up by Sunni powers, themselves backed up by western powers, will only add to the general feeling of injustice experienced by Shias and will only benefit Iran and its conspiracy theories.

Who broke the Syria ceasefire?

Rely on the UK media for your information about Syria, and you probably think it was Russia and Assad. Here is what goes unreported.

I am a human, speaking to you

This is a collaborative article, written by a Syrian refugee minor with additional information from the refugee communities of Konitsa Refugee Camp, Greece, with support from a collective of non-aligned academics.

The US is failing in its moral obligation to Syrian refugees

Although the United States has fulfilled President Obama’s pledge of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year, we should be doing much more.

Being a Kurdish-Turkish mistake

As a Kurdish child, I grew up in Kirkuk under the Baath regime thinking I was an existential mistake: but I liked being a mistake. I still like being a mistake.

A call from Damascus

Alors que j’attendais’, a theatre piece from Damascus currently touring European festivals, makes us understand that the people whose lives are being destroyed are exactly like us. Review.

Europe’s Greek tragedy deepens out of sight

While European leaders continue to hail the EU-Turkey deal – under which refugees arriving in Greece since March are threatened with deportation – its human toll ruins the lives of thousands.

Sowing the seeds of conflict in the Middle East

Whatever else they were guilty of, the two authors of the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, George Bush and Tony Blair, displayed an astonishing ignorance of history.

Book review: "The Battle for Home: The Memoir of a Syrian Architect" by Marwa al-Sabouni

If we can no longer recognise our surroundings as a shared home it becomes easier to contemplate their destruction.

The allure of war: the motivations of Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria

Broadly speaking, religious motivations are the primary draw for Jordanian volunteers in Syria.

On the absence of Arab intellectuals: counter-revolution and the state

Maged Mandour

The inability of the counter-revolutionary forces to appeal to more than the need for security means that the current political order can only be maintained through the use of coercion and violence.

Divide and conquer: offer Jabhat al-Nusra access to the Syrian peace talks

Jabhat al-Nusra’s split from al-Qaeda offers the west a unique and crucial opportunity to create a fully inclusive and strengthened transition in Syria.

Regeni and cosmopolitanism: the false question of national belonging

"Where are you from? - Italy." "Ah, you have Regeni. We have thousands of Regeni in Syria."

Syrian detainees may be central to future negotiations - but they can’t wait that long

Rather than wait for the next round of negotiations, it is imperative that governments and international bodies continue to pressure the Syrian regime.

Why most Syrian men are not joining ISIS

It is by recognising the role masculinities and gender expectations play in societies that we can fully understand and hope to address violence.

The fluidity of identity among Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria

Jordanian volunteers in Syria come from diverse ideological backgrounds that do not necessarily align with the groups they join.

The persistence of elite control in Syria

If lasting political change is to occur in Syria, the experience of its neighbours must be heeded.

Who are they, these revolutionary Rojava women?

Meredith Tax just had to find out who they were - the revolutionary women of Rojava, bearing arms against ISIS, building a new world...she had to find their story, for herself, and in her new book, for us.

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 refugees, whose experiences of war and exile have often been ignored

Carnage in Istanbul and the point of no return

Once the external anchor of Turkey’s democracy, the EU‘s normative influence has sunk as low as its reputation among its many erstwhile supporters, who now feel betrayed and abandoned.

Rojava revolution: how deep is the change?

Is optimism in the future of revolutionary change misplaced in a region torn apart by war and a society where patriarchy has been so entrenched?  Part 6 of Witnessing the Rojava revolution.

The EU-Turkey migration agreement and its humanitarian masquerade

The binding of security to humanitarianism, as is the case with this EU-Turkey agreement, exposes its underlying aim of maintaining the economic trade integrity of the Union.

Confederal Kurdistan: the 'commune of communes'

The demands pushed forward in both parts of Kurdistan are almost identical, both demonstrating an attempt at formally installing a confederal municipal system into the region.

Regaining hope in Rojava

This is a revolution in consciousness, not only in politics, and it has transformed the lives of countless women and men for generations to come.

Defeating the Islamic State will take more than gunpowder

Attempting to defeat IS without beginning to address the political and structural failures that have led to these circumstances borders on the ridiculous.

Iran’s military objectives in Syria and Russia’s contradictory positions

As the US and Russia speak of a mutual agreement over Syria, Iran and Assad are continuing their ruthless slaughtering of the Syrian people.

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