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This week's editor

Tom Rowley is editor of oDR.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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

The allure of war: the motivations of Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria

Broadly speaking, religious motivations are the primary draw for Jordanian volunteers in Syria.

On the absence of Arab intellectuals: counter-revolution and the state

Maged Mandour

The inability of the counter-revolutionary forces to appeal to more than the need for security means that the current political order can only be maintained through the use of coercion and violence.

متفرّجة مصرية في تركيا

إذا كنّا نحبّ الديمقراطية، يجب أن نتمنّاها للجميع بغضّ النظر عن عقائدهم. يجب أن نقف في وجه الطغاة، سواء كانوا يرتدون بذّات عسكرية أو كانوا إسلاميين أو مستبدّين مدنيين. English

Divide and conquer: offer Jabhat al-Nusra access to the Syrian peace talks

Jabhat al-Nusra’s split from al-Qaeda offers the west a unique and crucial opportunity to create a fully inclusive and strengthened transition in Syria.

The moment the revolution broke down in tears

Globally, it seems that younger generations are on the losing side of the battles for more democratic, progressive and inclusive policies and societies.

An Egyptian bystander in Turkey

If we love democracy we should wish it upon everyone, regardless of ideologies. Stand against oppressors whether they are in military uniform, are civil autocrats or Islamists. عربي

Erdogan and Gülen: two sides of the same coin

A response to an article in the Huffington Post appealing to Fethullah Gülen.

Regeni and cosmopolitanism: the false question of national belonging

"Where are you from? - Italy." "Ah, you have Regeni. We have thousands of Regeni in Syria."

Egypt - the resistance

In the Arab world, even the smallest acts of resistance can give a sense of self-worth, encouraging a long-demoralized people to feel that change, after all, is possible.

Turkey 2016 and Egypt 2013: the politics of time

It isn’t the capability of recognizing a historical moment that differentiates the Turkish trajectory from the Egyptian, it is rather the historical moment itself and what it represents. عربي

The political economy of the Arab Spring: searching for the virtuous circle

No matter how tragic the short and medium-term consequences of some of the uprisings, their outbreak might eventually lead the Arab world to enter steadily the trajectory to democracy and good governance.

Ramadan and the police

People dısagree over whether drinking or eating during holy month is a crime, but when police devote more time to this than actual crimes, what or who do they serve? عربي

On patriotism

After living abroad for five years, I found myself asking my mother, who still lives in Alexandria, how she still has this strong patriotic bond to Egypt after all she has seen. عربي

The fluidity of identity among Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria

Jordanian volunteers in Syria come from diverse ideological backgrounds that do not necessarily align with the groups they join.

Sur: against state violence in Turkey - an interview with former mayor Abdullah Demirbas

As a richly articulated living history, Sur shattered the stereotype of the Middle East as intellectually backwards and culturally empty. A call for international support.

On the absence of Arab intellectuals: the colonial connection

Maged Mandour

The colonial experience of the Arab world did not only stunt its social development, it also inhibited the development of class-consciousness.

Abu Dhabi announces launch of Israeli-installed mass surveillance system

The Internet of Things applies unique identifiers to objects, including people to be followed, and provides large amounts of data on all aspects of an individual’s movements and activities.

The persistence of elite control in Syria

If lasting political change is to occur in Syria, the experience of its neighbours must be heeded.

The covert drone war in Yemen

The United States’ covert drone war in Yemen - at least 15 years old now – continues. European countries are directly and indirectly involved.

Opting out: why my decision to not vote has everything to do with the attacks at Atatürk Airport

By choosing not to vote, I am opting out of choosing whose life, whose community, I view as expendable. I cannot stop the next attack, or the one after that.

The Libyan GNA: the rise and impending fall of the Libyan political agreement

A viable Libyan state that will restore normalcy and security to the daily lives of its citizens must be given the same priority as the international community’s immediate desire to combat Daesh. 

Can Islamism provide deliverance?

Maged Mandour

Modern day Islamism represents the interests of a specific social class that has few qualms about current social and economic structures.

The policy desert

Policy makers need to focus on the Middle East and North Africa’s three big crises.

Gaza: a city no one wants

The Gazans have been abandoned and left in the hands of Hamas to do with them as they please. This policy is transforming Gaza slowly but steadily into a hotbed of radicals.

Yazidi women sold as sex slaves

IS militants are now resorting to social media to sell sex slaves online. 

Who is afraid of the urban poor?

Maged MandourIn Egypt, both the ruling elites and the urban middle class cling to the military regime, in the hope that they will be protected from a seemingly inevitable tide of social unrest.

Continuous catastrophe, yet still we seek accountability

Commemorating the Nakba and protecting refugee camps are entwined and equally critical endeavors: without historical accountability, without identifying perpetrators and victims, there is no redemption.

Palestine’s forgotten children

Next year will mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Britain has a historic responsibility to challenge the Israeli government’s conduct in the West Bank and Gaza.

Why is a military coup in Saudi Arabia possible?

Saudi Arabia is the most significant player in determining the future of the Arab revolutions. There are two ways to break this stalemate: replace Saudi regional hegemony, or change the regime controlling it.

Defeating the Islamic State will take more than gunpowder

Attempting to defeat IS without beginning to address the political and structural failures that have led to these circumstances borders on the ridiculous.

Iran’s military objectives in Syria and Russia’s contradictory positions

As the US and Russia speak of a mutual agreement over Syria, Iran and Assad are continuing their ruthless slaughtering of the Syrian people.

ISIS and Israel on the Golan Heights

The Yarmouk Valley is run by ISIS – and left alone by Israel. This is a testament to the complex, cynical and calculated machinations of the actors in this conflict.

Europe’s challenge in the Horn of Africa

A combination of a top-down approach aimed at preventing wars, and a bottom-up approach framed by the people’s issues, is the best chance for progress. Where is the EU?

Saudi Arabia's new best friend: India

After being let down by Pakistan, Saudi has turned to India for trade and defense cooperation – while Iran has approached Pakistan. This may signify a change in traditional power structures across the region.

For partners in managing refugee flows, don’t look to Libya

Current proposals for European cooperation with Libya to contain migration and refugee flows are ill-advised.

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