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This week’s front page editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Syria: the next Algeria?

The situation in Syria is becoming increasingly grim. As the standoff between the protesters and the regime turns more violent, the prospects for a democratic transition become more remote.

The Occupy Movement - a revolution in our sense of self

The Occupy Movement, far from having no programme, has revolutionized our sense of self. The Citizen of the World adopts a panoramic view of society and takes the interests of others all over the world to be as important as her or his self interest.

The thirty-year war: past, present, future

The prognosis of a thirty-year war looked outlandish as Saddam's regime toppled, persuasive as Iraq's insurgency erupted - and now less plausible amid American forces' retreat. But two core issues continue to give it life.

The Rusting Lady and my insignificant part in her downfall

The Meryl Streep film of Margaret Thatcher gets an OurKingdom editor reflecting on his own brief encounter with her.

Post-BICI Bahrain: between reform and stagnation

As the first anniversary of the February 14 uprising approaches, the regime and the country at large find themselves at a crossroads in which there is dangerously little space for a strong middle ground.

Downgrading Iranian-British relations: the anatomy of a folly

Caused by the inexperience of British Tories and intransigence of Iranian conservatives, the recent rupture in relations between Tehran and London could have far-reaching implications for both sides - particularly for Iran, ultimately the main victim.

Uncertainty looms amid progress in talks with the Taliban

The Afghan Taliban and the United States have begun talks, advancing prospects that coalition forces can withdraw from Afghanistan. But there are many potential pitfalls on the road to peace: a real risk of a political and military stalemate in Afghanistan, forcing the United States to leave the region under uncertain and possibly dangerous terms.

Thinking about war with Iran

The real Iranian threat is not its nuclear capacity but its independence. If Iran continues to stand as a model of defiance for increasingly poverty-stricken and restless populations of family fiefdoms in the Gulf, the current US-backed setups will either fall or be forced to democratise. These potentially catastrophic losses of empire go a long way to explaining the rising beat of war drums in the region.

Strait of Hormuz: Iran’s bluff and the west’s fears

Iranian military action in the Strait of Hormuz is highly unlikely. It would not at all benefit most global and regional powers and would have disastrous consequences for Iran itself.

Counter-balancing Saudi Arabia: why the US should not abandon Bahrain’s reformists

Rather than calling upon the United States and other western powers to abandon the Bahraini leadership at this time, we should instead be calling upon them to increase their ever-so vital support of the kingdom’s reformists through a series of different aid and development packages.

Ron Paul on Iran

Paul’s stance on Iran may place him outside the mainstream of Republican presidential candidates. It doesn’t place him outside the mainstream of the American public.

Taliban leadership decries sectarian attacks

Recent bombings in Afghanistan have raised fears of mounting violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites. This cannot be in the Taliban's strategic interest, argues Christopher Anzalone.

Meet the ‘new’ Hamas: strategic shift or temporary deviation from a violent path?

Contrary to the widespread assumption that the recent ‘nonviolent turn’ would be a new and unprecedented development in the evolution of Hamas, the history of the group reveals a constant internal tension along this political-military line

The quiet war in Saudi Arabia

There are good reasons not only for the media, but for western governments to begin taking an active interest in the ongoing street conflict in Eastern Province

Islamism and secularism in Tunisia

In Tunisia at least, radical Salafism is not just a challenge to secularists: it’s also a challenge to moderate Islamists like Ennahda.

The snails are marching in their shells one year on

Ancient wisdoms and future challenges come together after the elections in Egypt: the Islamic parties will not have things all their way

Why are Egyptians and the west surprised by the Islamists' victory in post-revolutionary Egypt?

What should liberals do to play any effective role in Egypt's post-revolutionary parliament? It is time to stop moaning and start acting

Budapest: thoughts on December 24

Government campaigns against the poor are nothing new in Hungary. But 2011 saw some unusual developments.

Al-Qaida: an open endgame

There is powerful evidence for the argument that the al-Qaida movement is in decline. But there are other processes at work - including in United States presidential politics - that could yet create a different outcome.

Mocking justice: Guantánamo Bay hits ten and is here to stay

Today marks one decade of the illegal prison camp. A personal tragedy for those who remain and a global outrage. Obama's broken promise to close it and British politicians' failure to bring home Shaker Aamer must not pave the way for normalisation.

The euro and an ancient divide

The coming months could leave an indelible mark not only on the very economic subsistence of many western states but also at a deeper level on an ancient philosophical debate between republicanism and liberalism.

Social contract theory for Occupiers: what law, culture and history tell us

No legitimate social contract can be devoid of stewardship, responsibility and duty. Recognising this allows us to assess both the historical significance of the democratic revolutionaries of our time, and the scale of the political challenge posed today by hypocrisy.

Iran in the straits?

How are recent events in Iran to be interpreted? History has a lot to teach us, argues David Madden

What are diplomats for? and are they part of the problem?

Is diplomacy a large-scale, real-life version of the famous Milgram experiment on suffering, responsibility and authority? The reviewer of Carne Ross's ‘The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power And Change Politics in the 21st Century’ is convinced by the arguments

Mexico, war crimes and a slippery slope

The drug war in Mexico has left tens of thousands of people dead and the country in peril. What difference will a new war crimes charge brought against the government make?

Lebanon: calm before the storm?

The momentous events of 2011 in the Arab world have widely overshadowed Lebanon. With neighbour Syria continuing to be embroiled in unrest and growing sectarian civil conflict, Lebanon's future is full of opportunities and risks.

Seven reasons for Palestinians in the West Bank to seek real change

Acknowledging the complexity of the Palestinian situation, it is surely time for a new revolt against the occupation, for the sake of human dignity and freedom.

Armenia-Turkey: the end of rapprochement

A diplomatic process designed to normalise relations between Armenia and Turkey led to the signing of two protocols in 2009. Its failure is rooted in the miscalculations of both sides, says Vicken Cheterian.

The death of Khalil Ibrahim: what it doesn't mean for peace in Darfur

The likely future of the JEM without Khalil Ibrahim is fragmentation and eventual disintegration

America, Israel, Iran: a dangerous moment

The tensions between Washington and Tehran are being further fuelled by naval exercises and discussion of strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. This makes the absence of a direct communications channel all the more worrying.

Iraq's political crisis and the shadow of sectarian politics

As the US completed its official withdrawal from Iraq, a series of events stoked a political crisis that will push Iraq toward a precipice.

Chronicle of a non-violent protest: Jobat, Madhya Pradesh (India)

For more than three weeks over 130 people have carried out the longest occupation of government-owned land ever registered in Madhya Pradesh (a state in central India).

In the shadows of globalisation: drug violence in Mexico and Central America

The wave of violence afflicting Mexico and the northern triangle of Central America (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) is caused by three developments: changes in the global drug market, the effect of the war against organised crime and the international financial crisis, making the problem not just a criminal one.

America, Israel, Iran: a shifting risk

A series of developments - in Iraq, the United States and Iran itself - nudges the balance of calculation towards an attack on Tehran. The additional danger is that this could happen by inadvertence.

Fumbling for change

If politics is “the art of the possible” then 2011 has left us, as artists, with suddenly a much larger canvas and a new palate of colours to choose from. This broadened scope requires of us a new capacity for imagination.
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