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Constitutional conventions: best practice

The future: Islam and democracy

Is Islam and democracy incompatible? Islamic principles have influenced the legal code of Muslim countries for decades. And the debate as to whether Islam can co-exist with democracy is currently surrounding the re-writing of the constitutions of numerous countries across the Middle East and North Africa. Can faith be a strength? Or is it always a weakness that leads to conflict?

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The return of Banisadr to the heart of Iranian politics

A permanent state of crisis has intersected with the Supreme leader’s actions to create conditions for the emergence of a new ‘post-reformist’ conjuncture. Could this lead to a paradigm shift in Iran?

A hollow referendum

Instead of articulating a brand-new direction for the country, the referendum simply served to legitimize and solidify the powers that President Erdogan has held since July 2016.

Many birds, one stone: why did Iran execute 25 Sunni Kurds in August 2016?

In the chaos and instability the region is experiencing, now more than ever, religious and racial minorities find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

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.

2016 Moroccan elections: the past never happened

The one institution that benefited from the post-Arab Spring uncertainty and continues to profit from poor party politics, including the failed stint of the PJD in ‘power’, is undoubtedly the monarchy.

Kingdom of arbitrary detention: how Saudi Arabia shuts down its most vocal critics

The institutionalised repression practiced by Saudi authorities is exposed by the fight led by one of the Kingdom’s most respected human rights organisations, the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA).

‘Democratic’ doublespeak in Bahrain: how the government spins its summer of repression

If the government continues to imprison or deport every critical voice, Alfadhel’s distortion of democracy may well triumph in Bahrain.

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?

Erdogan at a crossroad: dictatorship or democracy

An interview with A.H. Banisadr, Iran’s former president, about the aftermath of the coup in Turkey.

The suspension of Wefaq: a triumph for democracy in Bahrain

Wefaq’s suspension by a Bahraini Court in July 2016 should be seen as a first executive step towards the establishment of a democratic society.

Europe’s misguided applause for Morocco’s reform process

Stability under the cover of autocracy is not only unjust and brutal but also unsustainable.

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 political economy of the Arab Spring: searching for the virtuous circle

No matter how tragic the short and medium-term consequences of some of the uprisings, their outbreak might eventually lead the Arab world to enter steadily the trajectory to democracy and good governance.

رمضان والشرطة

تختلف آراء الناس حول ما إذا كان الشرب أو الأكل خلال شهر رمضان الكريم جريمة ولكن عندما تصبّ الشرطة اهتمامها ووقتها على هذا الموضوع أكثر من الجرائم الفعلية، يتساءل المرء عن الجهة أو الغرض الذي تخدمه. English

Bahrain's uprising and its movement for radical change

Women and youth were at the forefront of Bahrain's uprising in February 2011, and are at the heart of the ensuing movement for radical change.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

 

UGTT and the culture of dialogue in Tunisia

On the fifth anniversary of the uprising, national dialogue is what brought Tunisia to where it is today.

After the Paris attacks, what role for reforming education in the Middle East?

Recent terrorist attacks are an opportunity to push for crucial curriculum and educational reforms in Egypt and the Muslim world. 

How ISIS provincialised Europe

A politics of blame, of ‘us’ versus ‘them’, serves only to endorse ISIS’s Manichean worldview. Only an ethos of intercultural dialogue can help produce the "strange multiplicity" that an irreversibly multiethnic Europe so urgently needs.

Why the west cannot defeat ISIS

Maged Mandour

ISIS has emerged from the wounds of the Arab world—for which the west is to a large extent responsibleand current airstrikes are pouring salt into these wounds.

The ISIS threat: terror, propaganda and ideology

Mainstream Muslim scholars must engage with reinterpreting passages of the Qur'an that seem to support ISIS' treatment of women. Translated excerpt from Trusselen fra IS: Terror, propaganda og ideologi.

European values and the Arab world

Maged Mandour

EU politicians can promote 'European' values by stopping their support for autocratic regimes, and by starting to ask tough questions about radicalisation.


Jihadists and activists: Tunisian youth five years later

Refocusing attention on activist youth helps clarify the complexity of this historical moment we have variably called the 'Arab Spring' or 'Arab Awakening'.

Tunisia – tug of war?

Tunisia is now at a crossroads, facing the largest challenge to its democratic transition yet. How should it respond without undermining the rights and freedoms that have been so resolutely fought for?

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.

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.

Bleak prospects for the Muslim Brotherhood

Maged MandourThe main obstacle facing Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is arguably not physical repression, but the urgent need for self-rehabilitation.

 

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?

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.

Out of the Middle East

It is time for Arab Gulf countries to stop being on the defensive and to accept their responsibility for what is happening in the region.

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