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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

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.

Higher education reform in Algeria: reading between the lines

The LMD reforms have tied the fate of the Algerian higher education sector to European intellectual and economic development, reinforcing the neoliberal assault on higher education and on society at large.

A fascist history of the Egyptian revolution II: laughter and the future

The revolutionary calls were necessary; they united otherwise mutually hostile groups, politicised the apolitical and neutralised the anti-political. But it was not exactly a rupture nor a total break with the past.

On illusions and inflated condoms

Maged Mandour

The Muslim Brotherhood, secular activists and even regime supporters have decided to shield themselves from reality, focusing on a discourse that provides them with a protective layer from the grim conditions engulfing them.

Window on the Middle East – February 7, 2016

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East.

'Commons sense’: you either see it or you don’t

Some of the debates regarding agency, change and commoning that flowed through openDemocracy in 2015.

Can Hariri coexist with a strong Christian president in Lebanon?

Hizbullah Chief Nasrallah is unwavering in his support for Aoun. Now, following Geagea’s endorsement of Aoun, can Hariri accept the Lebanese Christians’ preferred candidate?

Something is rotten in the state of Tunisia

Tunisia’s foreign friends would do well to remember that in 2011 there was a revolution in, not of the system. The current state of stasis is not a good omen for the future.

The hidden triumph of the Egyptian revolution

A message to the revolutionaries of Egypt: you can no longer recognise your pre-2011 self.

عون راجع" إلى بعبدا: جعجع يفوز بهذه الجولة"

السياسة حسابات. وكل شيء نسبي. ويبقى السؤال الأهم: في زمن التسويات النووية الدولية وإنعكاساتها على لبنان، هل من مكان لشؤون الناس، بدءًا من النفايات المتراكمة في شوارعنا؟

Rebuilding Kobanê

A report from the war-torn city of Kobanê about the people trying to rebuild what Daesh and US bombs have destroyed.

Between Trump and Baghdadi

Maged Mandour

Backwards looking politics is a malaise affecting both the west and east. It breeds violence as global elites clamber to maintain their grip on power.

 

The reckless power behind the throne

King Salman's son Mohammad seems to be piloting Saudi Arabia into a series of ever more risky adventures.

Saudi executions: beyond the numbers

The inability to recognise an affront to the rule of law, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator, reveals the region’s dire state of affairs, politically, morally, and intellectually. Arabic

Abu-Sakha’s Christmas

Six hundred Palestinians are currently being held in administrative detention by Israel. One of them is Abu-Sakha, a teacher at the Palestinian Circus School.

Islamic Reformation?

We keep hearing calls for an ‘Islamic Reformation’, but the Protestant Reformation was not a liberal enterprise: it was the original ‘fundamentalism’, whence the label now applied to Islam.

Outside the box: a Sunni endgame in Syria, Iraq?

A series of related events point to a possible endgame scenario in Syria and Iraq.

Poisoned apple: the curse of social media in the Gulf

The increased social media use in the Gulf might signify some progress for its citizens, but the extent to which it empowers them is greatly outweighed by state surveillance through the same vehicle.

Israel Firsters

For the past few months Israelis and Palestinians have experienced a wave of terrorist attacks mainly on civilian targets. Peace education may have an answer.

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