This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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

Dreams of return find new meaning on Zaatari's third anniversary

The permanence of the Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan is not accepted by all, but is a truth that is transforming lives and attitudes inside the informal city.

Lebanon's refugees: resisting hegemony through culture

Seenaryo, a small independent theatre project that starts this week with Syrian and Palestinian children, seeks to foster an alternative political proposal in a situation where politics has emphatically failed. 

Window on the Middle East - July 28, 2015

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

The limited effectiveness of US Middle East policy

There's not much the US can do in a post-Saddam Middle East except practice containment (and keep up airpower)—another invasion of foreign occupiers will only drive yet more legitimacy to Daesh.

Dialogue in Libya: challenges and conditions of success

Steps need to be taken to promote consensus, in order to consolidate the nation to which Libyans aspire. This NOREF report explores whether there can there be dialogue in the context currently prevailing in Libya.

A solution for Syria (part 2)

This excerpt from a NOREF expert analysis outlines the steps that need to be taken to transfer power to a transitional authority, which could stabilise the country and lead reconstruction.

A solution for Syria (part 1)

Syria is central to the security and future of the Middle East, but conditions for a resolution of the Syrian conflict through a political solution do not exist. An excerpt from a NOREF expert analysis.

Seven trends dominating Egyptian media

Egypt’s media outlets are trapped in a web of biases. Seven trends have dominated the country's media landscape over the past two years.

Religion, class, and Turkey’s new left

A response to Kenan Malik, arguing that though he is right to worry about identity politics, in the case of Turkey he is worried about the wrong people.

When it comes to ‘Islamic State,’ the west just doesn’t get it

There is much the west does not understand about its latest enemy, in which it faces more than 'just' extremists.

Book review: Enemy on the Euphrates

Ian Rutledge’s book, Enemy on the Euphrates: The British Occupation of Iraq and the Great Arab Revolt, 1914–1921 (Saqi Books, 2014), is a story of imperial arrogance and plunder and the inevitable reaction it generates.

Where are you, Arab intellectuals?

A plea for the poetic inspiration and vision needed to counter despair, complacency, repression and extremism.

On Arab Awakening: a response

Can the mass uprisings that happened across the Arab world in 2011 accurately be called an awakening? The editors of Arab Awakening defend the title of their section, while admitting that it may be time to move on.

Syria’s refugees: a global responsibility

Unless the Syrian refugee emergency is treated as a truly global responsibility, we cannot expect hard-pressed countries in the region to maintain the generosity they have demonstrated since the crisis erupted.  

On 'Arab Awakening'

What's in a name? A critical look at our choice of page title some years after the so called Arab Spring.

We need an ICJ ruling on Syria

Getting the world’s most respected judicial body to weigh in on Syria might not stop the regime from bombing civilians, but it will increase the political cost of continued attacks.

The utter failure of the international community to protect civilians in Syria

The Syrian people need an immediate no-fly zone, and for the alternatives to IS/Da'esh and Assad to be taken seriously.

Middle East mix of feudal and dictatorial systems

The political future of the region is unclear, because it depends on the evolution of different political systems. What degree of secularisation/Islamism will these societies allow?

Saudi Arabia's game of thrones

In the round of 'royal musical chairs' that played out two months ago, the Sudairi branch of the royal family consolidated its grip on power at the expense of those loyal to the late King Abdullah. 

Window on the Middle East - June 22, 2015

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

Remembering Nazik Al-Mala'ika

On the eighth anniversary of her death, we remember the legacy of Iraq's uncrowned queen of poetry, Nazik Al-Mala'ika.

Prospects for a future Kurdistan

A future independent Kurdish state faces many political, economic, and administrative challenges, but its success could be a game-changer in the Middle East.

Islamic State: more popular than you think

The powerful rise of religious fascism, though exacerbated by economic and political crises, is rooted in the ethnic and religious intolerance that has thrived in the region for decades.

Yemen: under fire, desperate for peace

Can the Yemen peace talks succeed? The dire humanitarian situation demands it but political factionalism and external interference may prove inordinate obstacles.

The Syrian impasse: navigating hard truths and the road forward

US diplomatic efforts to quell violence in Syria have been halfhearted and ineffective.

The age of 'white men in suits'

Maged Mandour

White men in suits support Arab autocrats while the suffering many are vilified as dangerous to the fabric of western societies: external threats or worse, immigrants attempting to infiltrate.

The Iraqi crisis: rethinking the narrative

An approach to Iraq focused on military intervention, with some humanitarian assistance, has defied the complexity of the domestic and regional kaleidoscope. No wonder it is failing.

Yemen at war

With a humanitarian crisis mounting in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has eased its military pressure—for the moment.

Erdoğan, Syria and the Kurds: be careful what you wish for

A complex political triangulation links the Turkish president with the Syrian imbroglio and the Kurdish question, but his political target is receding.

Missing journalists: Tunisia’s Arab Spring meets Libya’s

Two radically different “Arab Springs” have collided in the ordeal of two Tunisian journalists in Libya.

Desperate people, hazardous escapes

Those fleeing violent conflict or brutal repressive regimes, facing darkness and terror as they journey from home to Europe, deserve compassion—not intolerance, paranoia and hate.

It’s not all about Islam: misreading secular politics in the Middle East

Western policymakers once understood the dynamics of secular politics in the Middle East, but this knowledge has been subsumed under a fixation on Islam’s supposed threat to western security interests.

Securitisation not the response to deaths at sea

The European Union has responded to the humanitarian crisis presented by refugee deaths in the Mediterranean—but only through the lens of border control.

Crisis in the Mediterranean: Europe must change course

As leaders of European Union member states prepare to meet to discuss the Mediterranean refugee crisis, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights sets the bar for an adequate response.

For a more 'normal' Israel

An analysis of the future of Israeli politics with Arthur Goodman, the parliamentary and diplomatic liaison for Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Europe’s largest Jewish voice against Zionism.

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