This week's editor

Ray Filar

Ray Filar is co-editor of Transformation and a freelance journalist.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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

Yemen at war

With a humanitarian crisis mounting in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has eased its military pressure—for the moment.

Erdoğan, Syria and the Kurds: be careful what you wish for

A complex political triangulation links the Turkish president with the Syrian imbroglio and the Kurdish question, but his political target is receding.

Missing journalists: Tunisia’s Arab Spring meets Libya’s

Two radically different “Arab Springs” have collided in the ordeal of two Tunisian journalists in Libya.

Desperate people, hazardous escapes

Those fleeing violent conflict or brutal repressive regimes, facing darkness and terror as they journey from home to Europe, deserve compassion—not intolerance, paranoia and hate.

It’s not all about Islam: misreading secular politics in the Middle East

Western policymakers once understood the dynamics of secular politics in the Middle East, but this knowledge has been subsumed under a fixation on Islam’s supposed threat to western security interests.

Securitisation not the response to deaths at sea

The European Union has responded to the humanitarian crisis presented by refugee deaths in the Mediterranean—but only through the lens of border control.

Crisis in the Mediterranean: Europe must change course

As leaders of European Union member states prepare to meet to discuss the Mediterranean refugee crisis, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights sets the bar for an adequate response.

For a more 'normal' Israel

An analysis of the future of Israeli politics with Arthur Goodman, the parliamentary and diplomatic liaison for Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Europe’s largest Jewish voice against Zionism.

Silence over Sudan’s bombing of civilians

There is insufficient awareness at the international level about the civilian crisis caused by the government in Sudan, and a failure to mobilise around what information there is.

What the EU must do now to halt this tragedy on its shores

There are answers to the Mediterranean migrant-deaths crisis. They just require the European Union, whose foreign ministers met yesterday, to grasp the political nettle.

Yemen: seeds of conflict, ground of transition

The conflicts in Yemen belong to a complex history, with familial as well as political dimensions. The deep Yemeni context must be grasped if a humane solution is to be found. 

Yemen: dialogue must replace war

The Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen have failed to stem the Houthi advance. Time for jaw-jaw, not war-war.

Our otherness: imagining Balkan and mid-Eastern identities

Rayna Stamboliyska

The original quote by Orwell is “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past”. In just two sentences, he has embraced our fate.

A Gulf in understanding

The outline Iran nuclear deal has highlighted divisions in the region—not just between majority Shia and Sunni states but between those supporting the status quo and those challenging it.

Iran nuclear deal: keeping hope of peace alive

Conservatives in the US, Israel and Iran itself are all opposed to the outline nuclear accord. So it looks like progress.

Misunderstanding IS, again

Replaying the theocratic analyses of al-Qaeda with IS is amnesic and short-sighted and misses the novelty of the group.

Saudi Arabia’s big mistake in Yemen

Saudi Arabia, by committing itself to an unlimited military escalation in Yemen, has over-reached itself.

Defending Tunisia’s constitution

Tunisia faces the challenge of responding to security threats while avoiding a return of the security state that Tunisians rose up against in 2011. It's a rocky but clearly marked path.

Corruption: the Tunisian transition's worst enemy

The key to facing the challenge of radicalisation, while maintaining and making tangible the democratic gains since the revolution, is tackling on-going corruption.

An irresistible force? Arab citizens of Israel after the elections

Binyamin Netanyahu may have returned to power by disowning the two-state solution and scaremongering about Arab voters pre-election. But Palestinians in Israel have become a force to be reckoned with.

The struggle against anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe. And no, that is not because Israel faces ever-growing criticism.

Non-violence, anima of revolution

The  Arab spring in 2011 is but one instance of a wider movement of change, says the author of Philosophy of Nonviolence: Revolution, Constitutionalism, and Justice beyond the Middle East.

The right to resist in occupied Palestine: denial and suppression

The right of Palestinians to resist their occupation is enshrined in international and customary law, a fact that is denied and violated by Israel and wilfully overlooked by the rest of the world.

Afraid of the dark

The lights have gone out in Syria, a symbol for the destruction it has seen. This video, a part of the #withSyria campaign, calls for the international community to step up.

When will Islamic State use its chemical weapons?

The west turned a blind eye to the possible use of chemical weapons by militant Islamists allied against the Assad regime in Syria. Now that Islamic State almost certainly possesses them, the chickens are coming home to roost.

A perfect storm: Boko Haram, IS and the Nigerian election

Boko Haram’s alignment with Islamic State adds to mounting insecurity in Nigeria. A fortnight ahead of the already-deferred election, what does this mean for its democratic prospects?

The impact of the coalition on Ennahda and Nidaa Tounes

The multi-party government in Tunisia has shown the parties' willingness and ability to compromise, but has also revealed divisions that present both risk and opportunity.

Egypt’s political prisoners

Egypt’s president has a simple solution for activists who protest against his draconian laws criminalising public assembly. Jail them.

Yemen's frail faultlines

The seizure of power in Sanaa by Houthi rebels has alerted the world to the crisis in Yemen. But it never really went away.

The increasingly dangerous Israeli-Iranian front in Syria

Israel, Iran and their allies struggle over their interests in the fate of Syria, only adding to the instability in the region.

A question of sovereignty, justice and dignity: the people vs. the government on fracking in Algeria

The call for national mobilisation to oppose shale-gas exploitation in Algeria has been a success. But despite uninterrupted, growing protests and recent clashes, the Algerian government is pressing ahead with its shale-gas development plans.

Iraq: the assault on minorities

Islamic State is certainly a threat—but not mainly to the West, as the horrific experiences of members of minorities in Iraq testifiy.

Referendum on the academic boycott of Israel at SOAS

London's School of Oriental and African Studies is holding a referendum on whether to cut ties with universities in Israel—an experience which will be transformative in more ways than one.

Obama's human-rights lacuna in struggle against ‘extremism’

The US president went on the front foot against fundamentalist violence in the Middle East at a summit in Washington. But he was hobbled by his failure to place human rights in the region front and centre.

Protests in Algeria intensify as shale-gas drilling continues

The ongoing anti-shale gas protests in southern Algeria look increasingly like a head-to-head confrontation between the Algerian government and a well-organised, conscious population.

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