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This week's editor

“Phoebe

Phoebe Braithwaite is openDemocracy’s submissions editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Debates and articles from across the openDemocracy website that discuss or are relevant to the Middle East

Call for participants: Syria, Middle East Forum

يبحث موقع openDemocracy عن مشاركين لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط  لسوريا.

openDemocracy is looking for participants for the Middle East Forum for Syria.

Call for participants: Egypt, Middle East Forum

يبحث موقع openDemocracy عن مشاركين لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط  في مصر.

openDemocracy is looking for participants for the Middle East Forum for Egypt.

Trump’s Syrian “safe area” is just another wall

Without a true and robust commitment to save lives, Trump’s idea for a safe area in Syria looks more like a death trap.

Syria: Is peace possible if Assad stays?

Whatever the political outcome, transitioning from violence to peace is not just about the removal of violence. How can this future be achieved and who will do this work?

In troubled Hebron, an innovative programme of activism training brings new hope

The organisation that filmed the notorious incident of an Israeli medic shooting a wounded Palestinian teenager in the head, is at the crest of an exciting new wave of creative resistance.

Protesters say Jordanian law dealing with ‘honour’ crimes is a “license to kill"

Gathering outside the national parliament last month, a group of young protesters confronted one of Jordan’s most taboo topics.

UN report confirms that Israel is guilty of apartheid, and endorses BDS

On Wednesday afternoon, a ground breaking UN report from the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) found the State of Israel guilty of the crime of apartheid.

Adding insult to injury: when Israel and Britain celebrate the historical trauma of Palestinians

Palestinians will not be silenced. We will voice our historical testimony and tell our narrative to make sense of the senseless grievances of colonialism.

The ‘mafia principle’ and godfather Trump

Donald Trump is not an aberration. He is the extreme manifestation of an existing foreign policy doctrine - the ‘mafia principle’ – and he is determined to release the whole potential of its violent core.

Will the re-launch of the Mosul battle by the Iraqi PM reverse Trump’s hostile stance?

The highly unexpected victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential elections sent shock waves across the world, but for Iraq’s PM Haider al-Abadi, it unquestionably heralded the beginning of what promises to be a long-running painful nightmare.

Egyptian feminist movement: a brief history

The reinstatement of the 'deep state' only provides continuum for the further entrenchment of the overarching powers of the patriarchal state. These power asymmetries must be undone.

Time is running out for Ibrahim Halawa

One of thousands of protesters imprisoned in Egypt over the last few years, Ibrahim Halawa’s mass trial along with four hundred and ninety-three other defendants has been adjourned for the 19th time while his health continues to deteriorate. 

From Damascus to The Hague: a refugee's journey

A refugee’s journey through physical and political borders, and the difficulties and risks along the perilous route.

Arab world’s first ordained female pastor is historic

Rola Sleiman made history. She now carries the title of ‘Reverend’ of the Presbyterian Church, the first woman to be ordained in a Middle Eastern Church on February 26, 2017 in Tripoli, Lebanon.

Jobs above all else

Neither the MENA governments nor the international community can afford to let the region’s young down. It is time to effect change to give MENA youth what they really need to succeed: jobs above all else.

Reflections on Western Sahara's struggle for self-determination

Some reflections about the Sahrawi struggle for self determination on the 41st anniversary of the proclamation of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

The current and future challenges of Middle Eastern studies

In the wake of Trump's victory, what are the challenges for Middle Eastern studies in the US? And what should be the role of academics in the field?

Surviving sociology in Egypt and elsewhere

Strangely, although nationalism is a pervasive social phenomenon with immense effects everywhere in the world, it’s not a central preoccupation of sociology or any of the dominant social science disciplines. Interview.

The search for truth over what happened to Giulio Regeni

The full truth is important not only for Giulio’s case, but also for the hundreds of Egyptian citizens who have disappeared, many of them almost certainly suffering the same grisly fate that he did.

‘The intellectuals don’t have the answers’: Lebanese documentary wins at Berlinale

"What can the ghosts of protests past tell us?" A particularly relevant question that Mary Jirmanus Saba's documentary, A Feeling Greater Than Love, asks, and tries to answer.

Can the African Union pressure Morocco to accept a referendum on the Western Sahara?

Can Morocco's admission to the African Union last month trigger a lasting solution to the forty-year long Western Sahara conflict?

Is religious terrorism a product of western modernity?

In the 21st century there is visibly an increase in religiously motivated terror attacks. Many of the radical groups identify themselves with radical Islam, but how did violence and religion evolve to this point?

Marine Le Pen in Lebanon: mission accomplished?

Where to start in discussing Marine Le Pen’s visit to Lebanon? The French “Trump without the crazy” got her first meeting with a head of state and performed a successful media stunt.

Saudi foreign policy under Salman: same goal, different threat perceptions

An in-depth look at the transformations of Saudi foreign policy since the ascension of Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz to the throne.

From failure to engagement: a new western strategy in the Middle East

Western strategy in the Middle East has been torn between support for brutal dictatorships, and an urge to see the region change in the western image.

The seeds of a new special relationship: US voices for justice in Palestine

While the ideological compatibility between Trump and Netanyahu will improve ties between the two leaders, it will have long-standing implications on US approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Legalising occupation: Netanyahu's Trump card

The new law passed by the Israeli Knesset can be a dangerous precedent for the expansion and legalization of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, and the eventual annexation of large swathes of the occupied West Bank.

The Arab digital philanthropy and transparency nexus

The growing digital engagement and online presence of the philanthropic sector in the Arab region is playing a growing role in engaging people philanthropically in a context where personalized ways of giving still have a stronghold.

Morocco's admission to the African Union: a Pyrrhus victory for Rabat

Morocco’s admission to the African Union after decades of absence was received as a victory, but what does it mean for the Western Sahara?

Is Trump repeating Bush’s worst mistakes?

The early signs of the new Trump administration’s policies towards the Middle East suggest that he is poised to repeat some of the Bush administration’s most fatal errors.

The original sin of US foreign policy in the Middle East

Trump’s policy attempts to apply a tourniquet to the perceived 'Muslim problem' that has been manufactured and now exacerbated by the west's wayward dealings in the Middle East.

Leaving stings in the wounds of others: Donald Trump and American foreign policy

If you are from the Middle East, Donald Trump is a sad reminder of virtually all the mainstream politicians you have lived under, often supported by the US government.

Sir Nigel Rodley versus Donald Trump on torture

The novelty and danger posed by the new US president is the fact that he either does not know, or does not care, that the prohibition of torture is one that is considered to be fundamental.

‘The Art of the Deal’ in the Arab Gulf: how Trump could strike a new bargain with Bahrain

America’s new president has yet to fully articulate his foreign policy strategy but one thing is abundantly clear: the next four years are going to be a far cry from the Obama Doctrine.

Do the people of Kurdistan live in security?

The main threat to the people in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq is not ISIL, but failed governance which endangers human security.

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