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This week's editor

“Phoebe

Phoebe Braithwaite is openDemocracy’s submissions editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Redirecting the colonial gaze

Are we “decolonising queer liberation” or disciplining the Kurds? Let us attempt a careful and nuanced consideration of the historicity of different struggles.

Not another story of failed liberation: tensions in Bashur and Rojava in the light of the referendum

Kurds need to rely on their own strength. The people must directly participate in and control their affairs if the fate of many other postcolonial countries is to be avoided.

Eastern Kurdistan: a silent politics with huge casualties

It is surely time that organisations that are internally active should dedicate their efforts to resuming activities that give hope to the people.

Kurdish struggles and the challenge of foreign support: the case of Syrian Kurds

What needs discussing critically is the historical and structural reasons that would leave a revolutionary movement with no option but to ask for help from virtually whoever offers it.

Kurds in Iraq: from Sykes-Picot to no-fly zones and beyond

Will the approaching referendum on independence open up a new phase for the Kurds, abrogating the Sykes-Picot Agreement?

شبح بأظافر مطلية بالأحمر

المعاناة تأكلك ولن تتقيأ فجأة شخصاً عظيماً من حطامك. إنك بائس، وهكذا هو الأمر. والآن ماذا؟

صراع البقاء ورهانات التغيير.. الصحافة السوريّة إلى أين؟

من الصعب أن يتحوّل السوري لصحافي يعمل بطريقة احترافية في مؤسسات تخضع لسلطة الممول والأجندة السياسية، وسط فقر الالتزام بمعايير العمل الصحافي.

An Arab perspective on Channel 4’s "The State"

A review of Channel 4's "The State", a show that takes ISIS as its subject and Syria as its backdrop. But does it deliver on its promises?

سياسات العمل الثقافي السوري في تركيّا: التهميش مازال مستمراً -١ من٢

الانتقال القسري نحو السياق التركي يحمل صعوبات لا يختلف طعمها كثيراً عن طعم التهميش الذي اعتاده كثير من السوريون في وطنهم، ومازالوا.

الإضراب عن الطعام يستمر حتى تحقيق المطالب

لافتات السوريين وبياناتهم ووقفاتهم وإضراباتهم تخدم فكرة واحدة، السوري ليس بربرياً، السوري ليس إرهابياً، السوري صاحب قضية محقّة، ولن يتوقف عن الدفاع عنها، أبداً.

Militias and crony capitalism to hamper Syria reconstruction

Reconstruction is a main project of the regime and crony capitalists, linked with a plan to consolidate their political and economic power, while rewarding foreign allies for their assistance with a share of the market.

Justice after ISIS: time for judicial triage

The overwhelming reliance on a counterterrorism framework is showing its limits. Judges and local officials in Iraq and Syria are realizing that you cannot lock everyone up.

Chartering the trajectory of the Syrian poultry industry

While momentary decline in price offers a short-term reprieve for Syria’s struggling citizens, the future of a staple food source in Syria grows increasingly uncertain.

To the victors, the ruins: the challenges of Russia’s reconstruction in Syria

From rebuilt mosques to new oil contracts, Russian firms are cashing in as the Assad regime gains the upper hand in Syria. 

For a secular interpretation of prophethood

The conception of secularism has developed in a prolonged and convoluted historical path and has been so diversified that it often implies multidimensional, ambiguous and contradictory notions. [عربي]

Race to the sea: Qatar and the balance of power in the Middle East

If the Qatari crisis is not managed rationally, then it is likely to compound the present risks in the regional balance of power, with consequences for all states in the region.

Hay’at Tahrir al Sham’s gamble: the failure of blood

As HTS grows at the expense of others, opposition representatives will continue to lose negotiating power in the Astana and Geneva talks, leaving Assad and Russia only one option with which to end the war.

المعارض الروسي دافيدس: الأسباب التي تجعل المجتمع الروسي صامتاً معقدّة

أجرى موقع “حكاية ما انحكت” مقابلة مع  سيرغي دافيديس لفهم موقف المجتمع المدني الروسي من الصراع في سوريا. وهذا الحوار هو نتيجة شراكة بين موقع “حكاية ما انحكت” وموقع أوبن ديموكراسي في روسيا.

Lebanese model an improvable precondition to prevent authoritarianism

The model of Lebanon is indicative of the importance of state weakness, which is possibly a necessary stage for other countries in the region after decades of absolutist domination in the name of the state. عربي

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 English.

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?

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