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

On the spectacle of violence

Maged Mandour

Violence and repression are becoming more severe, and are symptomatic of the failure of Arab leaders to build a hegemonic vision they can use to control the citizenry. 

The state of regional Kurdish politics: divided as ever

The confidence that prevailed in Kurdish streets in the aftermath of the Kobane victory is now replaced by a growing sense of abandonment and misery, with nationalism its natural expression.

Rojava revolution: It’s raining women

In less than four years, the women’s umbrella organisation, Kongira Star, has set up an autonomous, grassroots, democratic structure which has resulted in shifting patriarchal mindsets and reversing gender discriminatory laws. Part 3.

A Syrian constitution by August: by whom and for whom?

Lasting constitutional settlements require a divided political community to arrive at a shared vision of their common future, and for the general public to support this vision. This takes dialogue, deliberation and time.

Palmyra and propaganda

Those who unthinkingly applaud the Assad regime for recapturing Palmyra run the risk of looking as though they care more for Roman ruins than Syrian lives.

The EU-Turkey deal: unjust and short-sighted

Sending citizens who are fleeing one authoritarian regime to another authoritarian regime will only result in more anger, frustration and extremism in the years to come.

Rojava’s commitment to Jineolojî: the science of women

Travelling in Rojava is to witness the ways in which the different commitments to the revolution present a conundrum. How can one system satisfy the vast differences in human aspirations? Part 2. Part 1.

A revolution for our times: Rojava, Northern Syria

Travelling in Rojava is to witness a revolution experimenting with a form of stateless, direct democracy with women’s liberation, race and class equality at the heart of it. Part 1.

Cities of refuge

The 1951 Geneva Convention on Political Asylum was a typical creation of the Cold War: the system cannot deal with the huge population flows now permanently characteristic of our world.

Syrian lives matter

The suffering of Syrians is seen through four distorted lenses. But to find a sustainable political solution in Syria, we must move beyond clichés. 

Iraq and Syria didn’t create ISIS - we did

After the Paris attacks, ISIS became yesterday’s story, as if the terrorist movement had disappeared into far lands not able to affect our lives any more.

Manifesto for civil liberties

The origins of the manifesto, its elaboration and dissemination, followed by a brief history of the struggle for civil liberties in Europe and the main threats to those freedoms. Español

Why many young Arabs join violent radical groups

The key to combating extremism is prevention. But what are the conditions that lead youth to become radicalised?

Nonviolent strategies to defeat totalitarians such as ISIS

Military might has little success against violent terror organizations. If nonviolent strategies seem impractical, it is an even greater naiveté to think armed solutions can be the answer.

Is there any hope for a peaceful result to the Geneva talks on Syria?

If a lasting peace is to be achieved, the main motivation behind the talks cannot be simply ‘to restore political order.’

Coalition air strikes and the Sunni 'endgame' in Syria, Iraq

The pattern of strikes by the disjointed US-led coalition of Operation Inherent Resolve remains the best and most reliable public indicator of intentions and future operations in the short-term.

How to support Syria

Today’s London conference might make a start by assessing the world’s catastrophic failure to stop the carnage in Syria and how this should be addressed for the future.

Who's missing from Syria's peace talks?

Those organising Syria’s peace talks must go beyond merely ticking the gender representation box. It's essential to move towards real inclusion of women peace advocates and larger civil society.

Hans Blix – a diplomatic life

Hans Blix ponders his long career in international politics and diplomacy, the state of the Middle East, and why he is an advocate for nuclear power. Interview.

Outside the box: a Sunni endgame in Syria, Iraq?

A series of related events point to a possible endgame scenario in Syria and Iraq.

John Kerry, where are women’s voices in the Syria peace talks?

The US may be tempted to congratulate itself for wrangling Russia to the table for the meeting on Syria’s peace talks. Yet an indispensable party is missing: Syrian women.

Conflicting interests in crowded skies prolong Syria’s agony

Turkey-Russia spat is a symptom of different, often incompatible agendas.

The paradox of the Syrian conflict and its politics

While the French president has won public approval and international backing for the fight against IS, differences persist about the necessity of coordinating with Russia.

Why it would be sheer folly to redraw Middle East borders along ethnic lines

However groundless the Sykes-Picot Agreement, is a Balkanisation of Syria and Iraq really the way forward?

The movement of refugees to Europe will continue, regardless of how dangerous EU states make it

Until the war ends and concerted international efforts to rebuild Syria and Iraq are implemented, the root causes of mass displacement will remain.

Body counting and precision bombing in failed states

The words ‘precision-guided missiles’ are used to make us think that British warplanes can go there and help the good guys, the so-called moderate rebels, without much, if any, collateral damage. 

Syria: to bomb or not to bomb? That is not the question

Recognise and accept the hard reality that there is no quick fix to the ISIS problem, no one solution: bombing is not the only option.

Three realities of the Isis conflict

The west must prioritise civilian wellbeing in any intervention. What might help?

Paris as a test case for the west

One effective way for western governments to keep their people safe is to press for fundamental reforms in countries where armed extremists thrive, rather than subverting democracy at home.

Russia’s policy in the Middle East imperilled by the Syrian intervention

This risky experiment in power projection continues traditional Russian policy in the region, but also departs from the careful manoeuvring aimed at exploiting confusion in US and European policies.  

Why we should oppose British air strikes against ISIL in Syria

Britain’s Prime Minister says we should not undertake air strikes lightly – he is right: we need to think about legitimate state building, not replying to terror with terror.

Another ‘Dodgy Dossier’ for war

Undeterred by the disastrous results of ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya, western powers have for four years been determinedly trying to help regime change in Syria along.

Why the west cannot defeat ISIS

Maged Mandour

ISIS has emerged from the wounds of the Arab world—for which the west is to a large extent responsibleand current airstrikes are pouring salt into these wounds.

The aid crisis for Syrian refugees

As the war is prolonged, families are exhausting their savings. Without a massive re-thinking of how aid is delivered and distributed, refugees in the region are going to look for ways to leave.

International community neglects to act on Yazidi genocide

Mass murder, rape, slavery, and kidnapping; the situation for the Yazidi community is dire and the international community's reponse has been wholly inadequate.

Syndicate content