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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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

Human rights’ universality and correlation with culture

If democracy and human rights were collective values, wouldn’t they have been more appealing to the world?

Theodor Herzl and the trajectory of Zionism

An interview with Professor Derek Penslar, former professor of Israel Studies at Oxford University, offers one possible explanation for why Jewish nationalism is so divisive and garners such controversy.

On the international day for women human rights defenders: building bridges of solidarity and protection

Patriarchy affects the lives of women human rights defenders as much as the ongoing wars, bombs, and crisis do, and it should not be neglected.

Trump, Putin, and the new Middle East

The election of Trump will give second wind to autocrats in the region as well as create space for the growth of Russian influence.

Thank you Mr. Trump, the unifier

A letter to President-elect Trump, thanking him for unifying progressive voices from all corners of the world by winning this election.

My 350 on Donald Trump: Widening the Gulf

The Gulf Arab states will welcome the end of Obama's administration. But there are no guarantees that Trump will be a better partner.

Trump's first steps on Israel / Palestine

Free advice for Trump from a fellow American citizen and Palestinian who lives and works under Israeli military occupation.

US drone base in Tunisia: expanding a borderless war against terror to North Africa

By normalising the use of drones, the US might be planting a seed that people in the Arab world reject: the seed of arbitrariness.

Are litmus tests on culture spreading from Israel to Berlin?

Pro-Israel journalists and politicians in Germany target a Palestinian arts and culture festival, its curators and the venue hosting it.

Trump can't simply delete a dangerous campaign

Attacking your opponent is one thing during the campaign, but attacking entire groups has far-reaching effects that do not get ‘deleted’ so quickly.

Lebanon's foreign minister shouldn't celebrate Trump. Here's why

Lebanon should not celebrate any foreign president or leader who espouses “poisonous rhetoric” that affects a large portion of its population.

A Middle Eastern take on Trump’s election

An open letter from the Middle East to the American people after the election of Donald Trump as the new president of the United States.

Mosul: the looming battle has begun

The Mosul operation marks the return of US forces to Iraq after their 2011 withdrawal. What would a long term stability in Mosul need?

Turkey: the road towards dictatorship and the west’s responsibility

The recent arrests of HDP co-leaders and MPs is another dangerous episode in Turkey’s road towards absolute dictatorship.

Syria’s “voice of conscience” has a message for the west

Syrian dissident Yassin Al-Haj Saleh talks about the left and the regime, revolution and hope, Islam and secularism.

10 years on: Jordan’s anti-terrorism law and the crackdown on dissent

It is now time that the authorities stop labelling all those who dare speak their minds as “terrorists”.

Will a No-Fly Zone help the people of Aleppo?

The debate around a no-fly zone in Syria is governed by divisions in the political establishment and opposing views.

Avoiding a precedent in Syria and the Balkanisation of the Middle East

A key part of resolving the Syrian conflict lies in establishing a more coherent military-diplomatic dynamic and in post-conflict planning, and the solution is heavily dependent on perceptions.

The fight for Mosul: the danger of arming Sunni opponents to Daesh and the Sunni/Shia power struggle

The liberation of Mosul, backed up by Sunni powers, themselves backed up by western powers, will only add to the general feeling of injustice experienced by Shias and will only benefit Iran and its conspiracy theories.

I am a human, speaking to you

This is a collaborative article, written by a Syrian refugee minor with additional information from the refugee communities of Konitsa Refugee Camp, Greece, with support from a collective of non-aligned academics.

The surfacing of trauma: the myth and history of Sunni-Shia divide

Sunnis and Shias have lived together in peace for centuries, and up to the new millennium have barely had a history of bloody conflict. Why now?

Troca de favores nas Nações Unidas

O candidato favorito para suceder a Ban Ki-Moon como Secretário Geral da ONU é o Ex primeiro-ministro português António Guterres. Mas o procedimento de eleição continua a ser pouco democrático. English Español 

Horse trading in the UN

The leading candidate to succeed Mr. Ban Ki-Moon as new Secretary General of the UN is former Portuguese PM Antonio Guterres. The election procedure, however, is as undemocratic as ever. Português Español  

Intercambiando favores en las Naciones Unidas

El favorito para suceder a Ban Ki-Moon como Secretario General de la ONU es el ex primer ministro portugués, Antonio Guterres. Pero el proceso de elección sigue siendo poco democrático. Português English 

Burkinis accepted: for a poor woman scrubbing France’s floors

The woman on the beach in her human quest to be visible, had the grace, understandably, to be bewildered. A large swathe of your citizens are bewildered, France. The world is bewildered, France.

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

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