This week's editor

Jeremy Noble, editor

This week Jeremy Noble and the oDR team edit the front page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The European Union's anti-terror plans: lift the secrecy

European justice ministers plan to adopt stringent new anti-terror measures on 1 December without public debate. This is very far from European Union democracy, says Mats Engström.

Israel's political map is redrawn

Ariel Sharon’s split from Likud and Amir Peretz’s election as Labour leader have opened new prospects for Israeli domestic politics, reports Eric Silver in Jerusalem.

America's secret prisons: Alvaro Gil-Robles interviewed

The CIA is accused of operating “black sites” – secret prisons in Europe, using European airports for clandestine flights connected to the transfer of unacknowledged prisoners. Alvaro Gil-Robles, human-rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, tells openDemocracy’s Isabel Hilton that this must stop – and that democrats cannot fight terrorism by abandoning their principles and values.

Washington's mixed signals on Iraq

The Iraq war is provoking bitter opposition, and strategic rethinking about oil dependency, in the United States.

Dayton plus ten: Europe interrogated

The Dayton accords that ended the war in Bosnia in 1995 froze in place an unjust war settlement. Today, their renegotiation is a test of Europe’s moral identity, say Louise L Lambrichs & Michel Thieren.

Dayton's ambiguous legacy

The tenth anniversary of the Dayton peace accords that ended the bloodiest ex-Yugoslav war is marked by a gathering consensus that a new constitutional settlement is needed for Bosnia-Herzegovina. TK Vogel assesses Dayton’s impact and asks what should replace it.

Guantánamo: the United States's torture

The United Nations has cancelled its fact-finding mission to Guantánamo Bay, citing American obfuscation. Isabel Hilton reports from a London conference where ex-Guantánamo detainees reveal what the United States prefers to hide.

Al-Qaida: a question of leadership

An under-reported bomb attack in Karachi is a more significant pointer to the condition of al-Qaida than the latest United States “public enemy”, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The fallout from Amman

The Jordan hotel bombs are a warped success for jihadism. But the path from Sayyid Qutb via Osama bin Laden to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is one of irrevocable decline for the Islamist movement, argues James Howarth.

Arabs' democracy dialogue: an assessment

Arab intellectuals are engaged in a serious argument about democracy in the Arab world. David Govrin assesses some of the principal lines of thought.

Kashmir's earthquake: don't care or don't know?

The Kashmir death-toll is rising yet aid remains a trickle. Beena Sarwar asks why and calls for action.

My 9-year old daughter Maha knows about the earthquake that devastated Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir on 8 October 2005, but she keeps saying: “hurricane – sorry, I mean earthquake…”. It is hardly surprising – our arrival in Cambridge, Massachusetts from Karachi, Pakistan on 27 August coincided with the build-up of hurricane Katrina before it smashed into Louisiana.

Jordan catches Iraq's fire

The Amman bombs, alongside evidence of Afghans training with Iraq’s insurgents, defy American claims that the “war on terror” is being won.

Jordan's 9/11

The Amman hotel bombs have ripped through peaceful Jordan. They represent a dangerous and potent fusion of domestic dissent, revulsion at American influence, Iraqi-influenced insurgent violence and global jihadism, writes James Howarth in Amman.

The rules of the game: Britain's counter-terrorism strategy

The British government has suffered a major defeat on its post-7/7 counter-terrorism proposals, but its plans still threaten the democratic balance between security and liberty, and thus jeopardise both, say Stuart Weir & Andrew Blick.

Learning from Fallujah's agony

The second siege of Fallujah by United States forces in November 2004 inflicted huge damage and casualties on the Iraqi city. Scilla Elworthy asks what went wrong, and what strategy could have worked better for civilians and military alike.

Kashmir's tragic opportunity

Pakistan’s aid efforts are in chaos. The jihadi bombs in New Delhi are venomous. But a limited border opening across Kashmiri lines offers hope for real peace between India and Pakistan, says Muzamil Jaleel.

When the earth shook and the mountains shuddered for a few minutes on the morning of 8 October, the hostile line of control (LoC) – that has split the Himalayan region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan since 1947 – suddenly disappeared.

Iran and the United States: a clash of perceptions

The rhetoric of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ambition of George W Bush are making an attack on Iran more likely.

Delhi's bombs: landscape of jihad in south Asia

The terrorist attacks in India are already having a significant impact on Indian Muslim opinion, says Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr in New Delhi.

Muslims: made in Europe?

The idea that a Muslim community is a European neo-colonial invention is a myth; rather, the emergence of this community represents a rebuke to European claims to universalism, argue Cemalettin Hasimi & Shehla Khan.

Iraqi and American body-counts

The return to Vietnam-era “body-counts” of enemy dead in Iraq is a signal of a military strategy in deep trouble.

Kosovo: the end of the beginning

After six years of stalemate, talks between Serbian and Kosovon Albanians on the future constitutional status of the disputed territory are imminent. James Walston, recently in Kosovo, assesses their likely outcome.

To Iraq and back with the National Guard

A TV documentary series about “citizen-soldiers” in Iraq and their families at home is a moving portrait that exposes growing doubts about the war, says Robert W Snyder.

Multiculturalism and 7/7: neither problem nor solution

Both multiculturalists like Tariq Modood and Bhikhu Parekh and their “solidaristic” critics like Gilles Kepel and David Goodhart are locked into the dead-end of identity politics. The real challenge is to create a genuinely inclusive and liberal public space, says Paul Kelly.

After Syria

The departure of Syrian military forces has left affected village communities in Lebanon with mixed feelings, reports Alex Klaushofer.

Kashmir: the politics of an earthquake

The jihadi-led aid efforts after the cataclysmic Kashmir earthquake expose deep fractures in Pakistani politics, reports Jan McGirk.

They say that not even a single leaf on a tree can shake in Pakistan without the army and its dreaded intelligence service, the ISI, knowing about it.

Against boycott and its rhetoric: a reply to Omar Barghouti

“The actual meaning of ‘true peace based on justice’ is that Israel must be punished before a Palestinian is allowed to greet an Israeli in the street”. The Palestinian writer Samir El-youssef dissects the language of Omar Barghouti’s call for a boycott of Israel.

A world becoming more peaceful?

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There appear good reasons for most people to think that the world is becoming a more dangerous place. In the four years since the 9/11 attacks, the George W Bush administration has pursued a vigorous counter-terrorism policy that has already terminated two regimes and has, at a conservative estimate, seen at least 40,000 people killed, most of them civilians. United States forces are mired in a deep and bitter insurgency in Iraq, and almost 20,000 more troops are active against a determined Taliban guerrilla force in Afghanistan; they have also engaged in border clashes with Syria, and are involved in a tense standoff with Iran over the latter’s nuclear developments.

The 'Muslim community': a European invention

Europeans’ tendency to view immigrants from Algeria and Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq as belonging to a single, homogeneous “Muslim community” reflects an essentialist, neo-colonial view of the “other” which carries negative political consequences, argue Hazem Saghieh & Saleh Bechir.

Iraq: unified by oil?

Iraq’s people vote on their draft constitution on 15 October. A single sentence in the document may be the key to its success, says Tamara Chalabi.

Iraq: a constitution to nowhere

The Iraqi constitution may lead to the country’s disintegration, says Zaid Al-Ali. How did Iraqis reach this point?

America, Iraq, and al-Qaida: no success like failure

Are the thwarted al-Qaida attacks proclaimed by George W Bush evidence of success or failure in the “war on terror”?

No going home to Kosovo

Serbians displaced from Kosovo after the 1999 war, like the disputed territory itself, are in limbo. John Dyer reports from Krusevac, southern Serbia.

The left and al-Qaida: two cheers for Sasha Abramsky

Leftists like Tariq Ali, Robert Fisk, John Pilger, and Arundhati Roy are not misguided progressives but on the other side of freedom, says Eli Lake.

Pakistan's mountain tsunami

“As usual, God is being unjustly blamed for tragedies that are the consequence in large part of human failure.” Maruf Khwaja weighs the balance of cosmic justice and earthly negligence revealed by the Kashmir earthquake.

Even before the devastated coasts and archipelagos of the eastern Indian Ocean had revealed their dead after the tsunami of 26 December 2004, obscurantist mullahs in Pakistan were explaining away to the faithful the largest seaborne disaster in recorded history as “Allah’s punishment” of those who had turned His land into the “playgroun

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