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

Behind the rise of the private surveillance industry in Central Asia

Multinational companies–including two listed on the NASDAQ–have been quietly providing Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with increasingly sophisticated surveillance technology to aid state repression.

Uzbekistan prefers regime security over economic integration

Uzbekistan is wary of plans for the economic integration of Eurasia, but why?

 

Central Asia: succession planning in dictatorships

Kyrgyzstan aside, recent elections in Central Asia would appear to indicate that the regions’ leaders are aiming to stay in power for life. But what will happen to their regimes when infirmity strikes, wonders Luca Anceschi?

 

Grey zones and first families: the reality of everyday violence in Central Asia

Central Asia has gained a reputation for sporadic outbreaks of ethnic unrest and Islamist insurgency. But the popular depiction of the stans underestimates the most significant sort of violence – the struggle of much of its population to make ends meet under regimes that pride themselves on control, self-glorification and the latent threat of chaos.

Forbidden art: an oasis in the desert

A recent documentary, “The Desert of Forbidden Art”, tells of a cultural and social phenomenon hidden in the deserts of Uzbekistan. The museum has miraculously preserved rich collections of Soviet avant-garde art, but will it be able to survive under new – completely different, but no less threatening – conditions? The film also illuminates the relationship between the state and the individual, writes Masha Karp

Obama sacks top Afghan war commander, General Stanley McChrystal

Obama sacks top Afghan war commander, General Stanley McChrystal. Southeast European countries denounce Israeli attack on aid flotilla. Refugees returning to Kyrgyzstan. Suspected drug kingpin arrested in Jamaica. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Security contractors participated in CIA counterinsurgency operations

Employees of the private security firm Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, directly participated in CIA counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. European leaders threaten Iran with imminent sanctions. North Korea announces that it is ready to co-operate with the United States. All this and more in today’s security update.
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