This week's editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Palestinians in Syria struggle for bread and agency

Rather than being 'neutral', Palestinians in Syria find themselves caught in a deadly grip between Assad's regime on the one hand and extremist groups on the other.

Can pluralism be taught?

Human conflict is unavoidable, but violence is not. By facing up to the ‘unacceptable’ we can learn to live with difference. 

The tale of the useful bulldozer

A single incident in the air war against the Islamic State offers a lesson in its character.

Between Scylla and Charybdis: life in Pakistan’s tribal frontier

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas touching Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan suffer a toxic mix of state and non-state violence and neglect. The consequences are unlikely to be good.

Do we all live in Bhopal now?

A Greenpeace study finds 473 US chemical facilities each endangering 100,000 or more people with a Bhopal magnitude disaster on its 30th anniversary.

Turkey: seeing Kurdish politics through a narrow prism

With its stance on Kobane, Ankara is in danger of undoing advances in the Kurdish peace process. It must act boldly now to set things back on course.

British perfidy in Greece: a story worth remembering

It was the day, seventy years ago this Tuesday, when the British Army at war with Germany switched their allegiance, opening fire upon – and arming Greek collaborators with the Nazis to fire upon – a civilian crowd in Syntagma Square.

The fog of war

Tweets are emerging as a novel form of incriminating evidence in a rapidly changing terrain of modern warfare. What ought to be their evidentiary value and legal status under international law of armed conflict?

The Cold War was a success compared to this

As long as the radical left held to the democratic rule of law, they were given the space to articulate their views. They didn’t flee to communist walhallas, but remained in the sights of the intelligence services.

Changing the behaviour of male perpetrators of domestic violence

Domestic violence shows no sign of abating. There is growing recognition that working with male perpetrators - alongside intervention and protection for women - is essential to reducing the violence that kills two women every week.

Belgian jihadists in Syria: alienation, consumption, power

Politicians are flexing their muscles and alienated youngsters are defiantly posting their Syrian ‘adventures’ online, but in the meantime the rule of law is being eroded without much notice.  

Hijacking Europe and denying Eurasia

It makes moral and political sense to integrate Ukraine into the west as soon as possible. But for clueless western leaders, the only way to do so is to reaffirm the non-European character of Russia.

IS – a threat to the structure of international law?

The theological and ideological basis for IS’s struggle visualizes this as a fight against the spiritual power centre of European public international law: Rome.

Masculine violence: call of duty, or call for change?

The much-hyped launch of a new gun-shooting video game this month reveals the thread of gender linking socially-endorsed militarism to criminal sexual assault. Where are the social programmes that would address the reshaping of masculinity?

Afghanistan-Iraq: back to the future

Washington hoped for a clean getaway from the two countries it invaded in the early 2000s. The Taliban, like the Islamic State, has other ideas.

For history’s sake, the Arab peoples have revolted

Not only did the Arab peoples revolt, but the power of their revolts was so significant and threatening to the regional geopolitical order that the regional powers had to diffuse the collective consciousness at any cost.

Tabit and sexual violence in Darfur

Darfur has practically been closed off to journalists, politicians and independent civil society organizations, and sexual violence and rape have now become a reality in women's day-to-day lives.

Twenty-five years since first election of a black US governor, L Douglas Wilder

Progress has been slow. Other than Wilder, only one other African American – Deval Patrick of Massachusetts – has been elected governor of any state. 

Towards a psychology of war

Women may participate in war, but in our social imaginary, war is still man’s business. The few women who fight have not undone the dominant symbolic association of passive receptivity with femininity or of masculinity with domination.

Endgame: the United States and Iran

What stands in the way of Iran and the US cooperating openly to meet twin threats of Sunni extremism and state failure is any failure to resolve the nuclear deadlock. 

The geostrategic consequences of the Arab Spring

The Arab awakening is creating a new socio-political and economic reality in the region, transforming the balance of power, not because states have become stronger, but rather because states have become weak and fragile.

Qatar: diplomats return but differences remain

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have ambassadors returning to Qatar after a nearly year-long absence, a boost for a Gulf state that could do with positive media coverage.

Eric Hobsbawm and MI5

He was an increasingly isolated figure, regarded at the time with a contempt and hostility from some Party apparatchiks that exceeded even MI5 denunciations. 

Brazil doubles down on cyber security



The out-sized military response risks compromising citizens’ fundamental rights. If Brazil is to build a cyber security system fit for purpose, an informed debate is imperative.

Women peacebuilders: transforming the system from the inside out?

Navigating between cooperation and confrontation vis-à-vis institutions of power, as WILPF approaches its centenary it must continue to avoid cooptation into a system that produces the violence it abhors.

“Someone is making a killing from war”

In this 2005 note for War Resisters’ International, Howard Clark explains why the campaign against war profiteering is integral to WRI’s broader promotion of nonviolence. Taking action against those who profit from war involves facing a powerful lobby in favour of military expenditure.

Remembrance and the reserve-reserve army of labour

In November each year, with increasing collective commitment it seems, we remember the servicemen and women who have died in recent wars and those of the previous century. It is curious, remembrance.

Physical space and ‘Occupy’ tactics: a new trend in civil resistance?

Does the term ‘occupation’ delegitimize movements by casting participants as short-term guests, instead of representatives communicating grievances held by a wider society within a public forum that is theirs?

The Sahel-Sahara between 'Arab spring' and 'black spring'

The international media spotlight follows the US politico-military agenda to the Middle East but potentially transformative developments to the west in Africa deserve much closer scrutiny.

The Italian social strike is a landmark event for the precariat

Last week the Italian precariat took a step beyond primitive rebellion and began to constitute itself as a politics. As its arguments take shape those involved must work to engage with communities outside of the activist world.

A political tsunami called ‘Podemos’

Are we entering the ‘bear hug’ phase in the political and economic Spanish elites’ strategy to beat Podemos, or have they begun to realise that Podemos could win?

Saving Europe from salvation

National competences are not something one can waive away with a magic wand and reassign to international institutions. Limited sovereignty all round is the road we must travel.

Iran’s emerging institutional power and its effect on negotiations with the United States

It is now the US shift in institutional power that is threatening the process and undermining the President’s efforts. 

The law is the law: legalistic distortions between official Spain and Catalonia

The Catalanists’ democratic credentials are shoehorned into a one-size-fits-all horror story of minority nationalism that allows non-violent Catalans to be condemned in carelessly violent language. 

Britain and the EU – a sorry tale of collapsing influence and dishonest debate

Without EU 'reforms' he may not even recommend a 'yes' in the referendum on membership in 2017, says British PM. But what he asks for is mostly there already.

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