This week's editor

Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald is Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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?

Arab dictators: between tactical brilliance and strategic stupidity

Maged Mandour

The Arab World is becoming increasingly unstable and the current elites are using severe coercion to remain in power. However, the use of coercion will lead to instability, as the opposition becomes more radicalized and prone to violence.

(Syrian) black skin, (Lebanese) white masks

Refugees in Lebanon face a violent troika: the state, the Lebanese bourgeoisie, and the weather.

Damascus’ stifled voice from the left

The story of Syrian Revolutionary Youth: the rise and fall of a grassroots movement offering a third alternative beyond the regime/Islamists binary, whose clear, principled stance made it the target of extreme regime persecution.

For young refugees from Syria, education equals hope

Young Syrian refugees have shown extradordinary resilience, but hope for their short and long-term futures hinges on better educational opportunities.

This week's window on the Middle East - December 16, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Who cheered Mubarak’s acquittal on?

Making local ceasefires work in Syria

Any approach to Syria should be judged by its ability to stop the daily abuses against civilians. Advocates of local ceasefires must strive for a balance between immediate relief from the daily suffering and commitment to basic rights and the aspirations of Syrians.

Israel in the Arab consciousness: friend or foe?

Maged Mandour

The events of the Arab Revolt have dramatically shifted the position of Israel in the region. Arab regimes have moved from rejecting the existence of Israel to accommodation, to implicit cooperation, in some cases, open cooperation.

When the people wanted to bring down the Syrian regime: Hezbollah as a counter-revolutionary proxy

The fruits of heroic resistance are feeding regional interests rather than the people that resisted. The proxy role of Islamic resistance is becoming a bargaining tool in regional diplomacy.

Palestinians in Syria struggle for bread and agency

Rather than being 'neutral', Palestinians in Syria find themselves caught in a deadly grip between Assad's regime on the one hand and extremist groups on the other.

The stories we tell about ISIS and women

Political and popular discussions about strategies to confront ISIS are doing women in Iraq and Syria a disservice, and playing into the hands of ISIS.

القصة السورية كما يجب أن تتلى

الكم الهائل من الأحداث والتجارب الإنسانية التي تختزنها الثورة السورية ولّدت حاجة ملحة لتوثيق هذه الحكايات، لنجد أنفسنا اليوم – ثلاث سنوات ونيف على عمر الانتفاضة- أمام محتوى ضخم أنشأه السوريون علّه يساعد بإيصال صوتهم إلى العالم. In English

Assad's secular sectarianism

A historic overview of the manipulation of sect and religion by a Syrian elite only concerned with survival. 

For history’s sake, the Arab peoples have revolted

Not only did the Arab peoples revolt, but the power of their revolts was so significant and threatening to the regional geopolitical order that the regional powers had to diffuse the collective consciousness at any cost.

الانتفاضة وإعادة تشكيل الذاكرة الجمعية في سوريا

استطاع نظام البعث منذ توليه السلطة في سبعينيات القرن الماضي أن يحكم قبضته على الفضاء العام فارضاً سيطرته المطلقة، ما أدى إلى إحداث فجوة في الذاكرة السورية امتدت حتى اندلاع الثورة في آذار 2011. In English

Why is the Syrian regime afraid of Louay Hussein?

We need to refocus our view on Syria: 200,000 people dead, millions wounded and displaced, and still a man can be arrested for an opinion he published in a newspaper.

Syrians do not feel they need a state

Syrians were allowed to fear or abuse the state, never identify with it. No wonder if they have clung even to unfamiliar groups with terrifying ideologies that provided their basic needs.

Kobane, and the failure of Turkey's Kurdish policy

Heavily influenced by the memories and legacies of the past, Turkey has not demonstrated the required degree of flexibility and imagination in dealing with the issue of Syria’s Kurds.

هل النظام السوري طائفي؟ حوار مع سلامة كيلة وفكتريوس شمس-- الجزء الثاني

نواصل في هذا الجزء من حوارنا مع المفكر الماركسي سلامة كيلة,الذي يجاوب سؤال هذه الحلقة بتحليله بأن النظام السوري ليس طائفيا, ومع الكاتب فكتريوس شمس, الذي  يصرّ على أنه "نظام طائفي في العمق". In English

Battle for Kobane puts Kurdish peace process on knife's edge

Kurdish protestors could hold the promise of a new chapter in their history: in which people refuse to be part of a state-constructed artificial dichotomy between the Kurds and the Turks.

الشبكات الاجتماعية في سورية: ناقل تعبيري أم صانع حدث؟

تأثير الشبكات الاجتماعيّة، وبخلاف الثورات الأخرى، اختلف في كل مرحلة من مراحل الثورة السورية. العمليات العسكريّة رجحت تأثير الافتراضيّ على الواقعيّ في تحديد شكل ومعالم الخطاب السياسي المرافق للثورة، وذلك بعد أن أنهت الاعتصامات وتأثير الساحات فانتفت معها إمكانية إنتاج برنامج احتجاجيّ سلميّ ذو أهداف ومطالب وشعارات واضحة يخرج من رحم هذه الساحات. In English

The last Arab

Maged Mandour

The signs of the erosion of Arab identity are visible across the region. This identity is directly tied to the nature of the Arab political order: the two go together.

Oil politics and the battle for Kobane

Decades of energy colonialism in the Middle East come face to face with a democratic challenge in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan).

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