IS: from a jihadist ideology to a jihadist state

An in-depth look at how the ruthless caliphate gained power through the state disintegration of Iraq and Syria, and the awakening of narrow, sectarian identities. Part 2. 

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world
The sign upon entry to Azaz, Syria now bears the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) logo.

IS: from a jihadist ideology to a jihadist state

An in-depth look at how the ruthless caliphate gained power through the state disintegration of Iraq and Syria, and the awakening of narrow, sectarian identities. Part 2. 

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world
The sign upon entry to Azaz, Syria now bears the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) logo.

Libya: the pressing need for dialogue

The western intervention in Libya in 2011 failed to recognise the complex warp and weft of its pre-democratic tribal fabric. Only a regionally facilitated dialogue can repair the shattered state left behind.

An irresistible force? Arab citizens of Israel after the elections

Binyamin Netanyahu may have returned to power by disowning the two-state solution and scaremongering about Arab voters pre-election. But Palestinians in Israel have become a force to be reckoned with.

The struggle against anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe. And no, that is not because Israel faces ever-growing criticism.

Arms and the men: Sweden’s revoked Saudi arms deal

From the outside, the Swedish snub to the Saudi royals looks like a big triumph for women’s rights over commercial pressures. Close up, the ethical picture is a little muddier.

Tunisia's security nightmare long predates the Arab Spring

The Tunisian massacre did not come out of a clear blue sky. A dictatorship not as secular as presented and its naïve 'moderate' Islamist successor allowed Salafism to emerge.

Military immunity: Colombia's moment of choice

Will Colombia force its military to face up to its past human rights abuses?  

Universal rights, double standards

What is the difference between the human-rights shortfalls of Venezuela and Mexico? Objectively, not much, but Washington has a different perspective.

Estado de violencia

¿Existe alguna manera de resolver esta aparentemente insoluble ola de violencia y criminalidad en México? Se han propuesto muchas salidas, pero en verdad nadie tiene la solución. English

State of violence

Is there any way of resolving the seemingly intractable wave of violence and criminality in Mexico? Many solutions have been proposed, but in truth no one has an answer. Español

When will Islamic State use its chemical weapons?

The west turned a blind eye to the possible use of chemical weapons by militant Islamists allied against the Assad regime in Syria. Now that Islamic State almost certainly possesses them, the chickens are coming home to roost.

A perfect storm: Boko Haram, IS and the Nigerian election

Boko Haram’s alignment with Islamic State adds to mounting insecurity in Nigeria. A fortnight ahead of the already-deferred election, what does this mean for its democratic prospects?

Trident: weak defence

The Conservative-led government of austerity Britain is facing the sacrifice of its sacred cow of high military spending—to preserve the even more precious elephant in the room: the UK’s ‘independent’ nuclear weapon.

The murder of Avijit Roy: championing illiberal liberals

Despite rising political violence in Bangladesh, the west has reserved its outrage for the murder of a secular Bangladeshi-American blogger. But his site tended to curtail rather than uphold free speech.

Egypt’s political prisoners

Egypt’s president has a simple solution for activists who protest against his draconian laws criminalising public assembly. Jail them.

Yemen's frail faultlines

The seizure of power in Sanaa by Houthi rebels has alerted the world to the crisis in Yemen. But it never really went away.

Grief and rage in India: making violence against women history?

There was uproar in India at the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old student on her way home from the cinema. Can we harness the international attention to this case to demand that the world's leaders commit themselves to a policy of zero tolerance of violence against women ?

Indonesia regresses with the use of the death penalty

The prospect of execution of two Australians in Indonesia has caught international media attention, amid Australian protest. But these are part of a wider official spasm, in a country dominated by a ‘tough on crime’ narrative.

With Ghani in Kabul, will relations with Pakistan change?

There are signs that the long-fraught relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan could improve, following the change of leadership in Kabul. Reciprocation from Islamabad will, however, be needed.

IS: from a jihadist ideology to a jihadist state, Part 2

A bizarre new Middle East is taking shape. We are now witnessing the disintegration of two countries and the rise of one ruthless caliphate. Part 1

Climate-chaos migrants set to face increasingly closed borders

Climate change is set to trigger dangerously soaring temperatures this century, forcing many of humankind’s most vulnerable to migrate to survive. Yet the growing global obsession with border security will stifle their safe movement.