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This week’s front page editor

Rosemary Bechler

Rosemary Bechler is a mainsite editor at openDemocracy

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Understanding right and left populisms

Neoliberal globalization has increased both economic insecurity and cultural anxiety. Have theories of populism taken adequate account of such insecurity – key to understanding the difference between right and left populisms?

Zionism: the history of a contested word

These polarising terms should be shelved, and taken out only when we are discussing political philosophy, which most of the time, we are not.

To become a bit more human: Review of Belén Fernández, “Letter from Iran”

In “Letter from Iran” Belén Fernández reminds us that we—people everywhere—are not Washington cyphers but flesh-and-blood human beings who must keep being defiant in order to retain that status.

Long live the struggle!

A statement by the #she_defends campaign on the international day for the elimination of violence against women: the fight for justice continues!

The Prince: on how many fronts can Mohammad bin Salman act simultaneously?

The Saudi crown prince moves towards concentrating absolute power in his own hands, while escalating tensions on several fronts.

الربيع العربي..عودة للأسباب وتصحيح اتجاهات أصابع الاتهام

العوامل الموضوعية المؤدية إلى انفجار الثورات العربية تكاد تكون متطابقة في معظم الدول العربية، وكانت شرارة الاحتجاجات، وإن لم تلعب الدور الأكبر في استمرارها، تباين مساراتها لاحقاً.

Tehran attacks: local and regional significance

The attacks in Tehran, the crisis in Qatar, and the announced Kurdish independence referendum in Iraq are interconnected parts of a failure to build a cooperative regional system.

US faces risks as Trump misreads the Middle East

Militarising the region further and taking sides in a recently concocted sectarian conflict will likely end in tears.

Trump in the Middle East: context and consequences

Trump’s regional approach to “peace” and stability and the new regional order, aims to ensure the normalcy of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours, especially the wealthy ones.

How to lose the next war in the Middle East: the short answer, fight it!

It’s hardly a brilliant observation to point out that, more than 15 years after the "global war on terror", the entire region is a remarkable mess.

Arab world’s first ordained female pastor is historic

Rola Sleiman made history. She now carries the title of ‘Reverend’ of the Presbyterian Church, the first woman to be ordained in a Middle Eastern Church on February 26, 2017 in Tripoli, Lebanon.

Fighting on all fronts: women’s resistance in Syria

Women in Syria face numerous challenges yet continue to struggle against fascism, imperialism and patriarchy

Iraq and chemical weapons: A view from the inside

In an interview originally published in 2003, Ron G Manley talks to openDemocracy about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Book review: the politics of sectarianism in post-war Lebanon


A rigorous, timely examination of the reproduction of sectarianism and the forms of resistance to sectarian disciplinary power and how, in turn, the sectarian system responds to them.

Hunted, hooded and sold

Maziyar Moshtagh Gohari’s film Cechanok sweeps through the world of Middle Eastern falconry. At the Open City Documentary Festival on 18 June 2015.

Jailed over a T-shirt: freedom for Mahmoud

A letter from Tarek to his brother Mahmoud Hussein, jailed in Egypt for 500 days for wearing an anti-torture T-shirt. Sign the petition calling for his release.

What is your occupation

Despatches from a trip to the 2015 Palestinian Festival of Literature. Part two: occupation.

Lego state

Despatches from a trip to the 2015 Palestinian Festival of Literature. Part one: Allenby.

Singling out Israel: a perspective from the left

How did the struggle for Palestine gain such prominence on the left? The answer might tell us something about broader patterns of thought in left-wing politics today.

Tunisia's entrepreneurial spirit

Tunisia's startups are not the cure-all to the country's profound economic problems, but they're a step in the right direction.

Palmyra: Tadmor and a very different heritage

The ancient city of Palmyra is also home to Tadmor prison, and was lost to us long before IS.

Voyeuring occupation

Taking pictures in Palestinian refugee camps feels crude. But what is more clumsy is to go to the West Bank and ignore the occupation.

Mosul under IS

Three Sunni men from Mosul describe life under the so-called Islamic State.

Spilling the beans, Riyadh style

With recent events, the Saudis are involuntarily proving Obama's point: petrodollars and weapons cannot buy them security, but social and political reform just might.

On power in the Arab World

Maged Mandour

Arab autocrats’ power depends on more than physical coercion or the rise of Islamist extremism: it has deeper roots in the role of civil society, orientalism, and identity politics.

Economic reforms for Tunisia in 2015 and beyond

It is just as important for Tunisia to address economic as security threats. Three key reforms can help maintain gains and fix pressing problems.

Palestinian unity: a dream buried deep?

Neither Fatah nor Hamas are willing to accept power sharing, and the division between them is no longer merely ideological in nature.

Iraq's vanishing heritage: risks and solutions

Despite the challenges involved in rescuing Iraq's endangered cultural and archaeological sites, a recent conference put forward concrete, long-term solutions.

Listen to Syria’s non-violent activists: stop the bombs

Eighty-five groups representing 17,000 Syrians have backed the new campaign Planet Syria, demanding international pressure for an end to the bombs and real peace talks.

Women and the Arab Spring: a dream turned nightmare

Change must start from within each individual. As quoted in the Quran, “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”  

Interview: bread, freedom and social justice

The authors of Bread, Freedom and Social Justice discuss the lessons of the past few years for the labour movement and political activism in Egypt, so that we can move forward.

The rebel

Maged Mandour

What makes a person a rebel? What drove millions in the Arab World to defy their oppressive states and face death, time and time again? And can this sense of rebellion ever be replaced by a sense of normality, in which one accepts the new status quo?

Fraud fighters wanted in the Middle East

Rayna Stamboliyska

Egypt is just one of the places in the Arab world where scientific misconduct is tolerated. But the onus is global. What are research institutions waiting for to enforce policies? And what is the international community waiting for to stop the use of populations as guinea pigs?

The European Parliament must not condone human rights abuses in the United Arab Emirates

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on whether to add the United Arab Emirates to the short list of countries eligible for visa waivers in Europe, despite the country's shocking human rights record.

Forty years on, the effects of the 1973-74 oil crisis still shape British foreign policy in the Middle East

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the start of the 1973 oil shock. Its consequences are still echoing across the world today.

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