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This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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

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.

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.

Young grassroots activism on the rise in Iraq: voices from Baghdad and Najaf

Through banners and slogans, grassroots groups find new, inclusive ways of being Iraqi in a country traumatised by authoritarianism, occupation and sectarian war.

Interview: Martin Kobler, the UN envoy trying to put Libya back together

The veteran German diplomat speaks about the challenge of uniting Libya and ending a civil war.

On the spectacle of violence

Maged Mandour

Violence and repression are becoming more severe, and are symptomatic of the failure of Arab leaders to build a hegemonic vision they can use to control the citizenry. 

The Turkey–EU refugee deal and how to really solve 'the problem'

Unless there is mobilisation to provide a better life for those in underdeveloped parts of the world, the 'problem' of people's desire to migrate in search of a better life will persist.

Palmyra and propaganda

Those who unthinkingly applaud the Assad regime for recapturing Palmyra run the risk of looking as though they care more for Roman ruins than Syrian lives.

The EU-Turkey deal: unjust and short-sighted

Sending citizens who are fleeing one authoritarian regime to another authoritarian regime will only result in more anger, frustration and extremism in the years to come.

Politics, racism and Israel/Palestine

If we need to be vigilant against the evil of antisemitism, we need to be equally vigilant against the kind of virulent racism which is gaining ground in Israel.

Papeles de Panamá: "una vieja tradición de la piratería inglesa"

Editores de openDemocracyUK, openDemocracyRussia y DemocraciaAbierta comentan las implicaciones de los "Papeles de Panamá". English

Giulio Regeni, Egypt, and the deafening silence of Europe

Giulio Regeni's case is not only about academic freedom, but about the responsibility of EU states to protect their citizens: silence cannot be the response to his torture and murder.

Why many young Arabs join violent radical groups

The key to combating extremism is prevention. But what are the conditions that lead youth to become radicalised?

The revolution and rural Egypt: a lost opportunity?

Maged Mandour

The peasantry is still missing from the discourse of the protest movement. As important as political and security sector reform are, the protest movement must include rural Egypt if it is to reach critical mass.

For expats in the Middle East

A quick guide on how to avoid accidental racism when discussing your problems or experiences living in the Middle East.

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