This week's editor

Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald is Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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

The role of Assad in the rise of ISIS

Assad sees a proxy war as a better alternative to revolution—as do Arab Gulf countries—and has had a role in the rise of ISIS as a result.

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.

Riding the caliphate interstate with Jeff Steinberg

An interview on the origins of Islamic State and its relationship with regional and global powers.

Jordan vows to avenge Kasasbeh's murder

The murder by IS of Lt Muath Kasasbeh has caused outrage everywhere, especially in his home country, Jordan, which wants a price paid in blood.

The two big holes in the strategy against IS

The US-led campaign against Islamic State isn’t working. It won’t unless it addresses Shia sectarianism in Iraq and Assad’s atrocities in Syria.

Decolonising Palestinian economies

There are at least five different economies in Palestine that co-exist with the Israeli economy, and they are all subjugated to Israeli colonisation. Decolonising them is key to real economic stimulus.

Saudis and Wahhabis: a marriage between politics and piety

Much speculation has surrounded the new Saudi Arabian king Salman’s policies with respect to the powerful religious establishment: the Wahhabi clerics. Are Saudi-Wahhabi relations a problem worth worrying about?

Spreading the risk: how to win back Islam from the fundamentalists

‘Spreading the risk’ is a great idea, but the aim should be to amplify the voice of those moderate Muslim movements challenging the hardliners, because without them reform in Islam is not possible.

Shale gas in Algeria: anger mounts as the government lies by omission

Protests break out across Algeria against the shale drilling ambitions of the government and European multinationals.

Will Essebsi reconstruct himself?

Essebsi should take this crucial moment in Tunisian history as an opportunity to reinvent himself, to rise to the many challenges he faces—greatest of which is to unite Tunisians and support the democratic transition.

Yemen: descent into anarchy

With the resignation of its president and prime minister, Yemen lacks the capacity to steer its political transition towards the goal of greater stability. The alternative, however, does not bear thinking about.

Succession in Saudi Arabia: no surprises here

People should not expect drastic change in Saudi Arabia, as the regime's primary concern will be to maintain the status quo.

Lebanon is cracking under the pressure from Syria and Iraq

Hizbullah's attack today on Israeli forces near the Shebaa Farms area contested by Lebanon highlights how the country is a fragile mosaic close to shattering.

Women raped and enslaved by warped IS code

Hannah Arendt would have called it the 'banality of evil'how Islamic State dresses up medieval misogyny as divine direction.

Tunisia: the Arab exception's test

The probable election victory of Béji Caid Essebsi is a vital moment in the pioneer country of the Arab revolts. It also reveals the scale of Tunisia's economic challenges.

The presidential election and linguistic violence in Tunisia

The leading presidential candidates and some of their supporters are setting a bad example with hostile, exclusionist rhetoric, fuelling a tense political atmosphere.

We promise you an operetta

The development of Egypt's military-brand nationalism over the past year can be traced in a series of formulaic, epic 'operettas'.

Who is accountable for Gaza reconstruction?

The latest war in Gaza brought not only vast human suffering but devastation to its already pummelled built environment. Yet UN-sponsored reconstruction is proving agonisingly slow.

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.

Egypt: from bathhouse to prison

No one is immune to the Egyptian authorities’ ruthless crackdown. Most recently ‘debauchery’ charges have been brought against those deemed to fall short of their moral standards.

Britain in Bahrain: eyes wide shut

 A new naval base in the Gulf reveals both the flaws in Britain's strategic thinking and the limits of its military capacity.

Call for the release of Ahmed Maher

The Egyptian activist and leader of the April 6 Youth Movement languishes in jail with countless others, as western governments resume business as usual with an increasingly oppressive Egyptian state.

Time to end the ambiguity

Israel needs to decide, once and for all: is this an occupation or not?

Is a boycott of Israel inconsistent? Yes and No

A recurrent challenge in controversies over boycotting Israeli policy is consistency. But what is problematically inconsistent is not the singling out of Israel, but the charge of inconsistency itself.

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.

Turkey: seeing Kurdish politics through a narrow prism

With its stance on Kobane, Ankara is in danger of undoing advances in the Kurdish peace process. It must act boldly now to set things back on course.

The decline of political Islam in Tunisia

A host of factors and failures have combined to outweigh Ennahda's successes in the transitional period, seeing its popularity shrink since its electoral victory in 2011

The Bahrain Debate: rethinking the conflict

This debate hopes to recreate a historical moment for civil society participation and action, by arriving at a more articulate understanding of the nature of the conflict that enables us to suggest practical solutions.

Khomeini to IS: paths of revolution

The Middle East's political map survived decades of tumult. Its long-term unravelling began with Iran's uprising in 1979.

Turkey, Kobane and the Kurdish question

The US wants Turkey to join the military effort against Islamic State at Kurdish-dominated Kobane, across the Syrian border—but Ankara’s focus is the Kurds within its own.

Syndicate content