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This week's editors

RB, editor

Rosemary Bechler edits openDemocracy's main site.

Parvati Nair directs the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility.


Cameron Thibos edits Mediterranean Journeys in Hope.

En Liang Khong is assistant editor at openDemocracy.

Alex Sakalis is the editor of Can Europe Make It?

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Living in the best of times? The violence externality

Contemporary fears of violence, of foreign dictators or local gunmen, are often inflated, misplaced and stoked up by powerful interest groups. Yet in rejecting the irrational moral panics which so often seem to pass as news these days, it is important that we do not fall back on nihilistic complacency or naïve civilisation. Chris Parton argues for a more nuanced, dialectic discussion of violence in the modern world.

Blair's book tour kicks off with a bang

There was an angry reception for Tony Blair at a book signing in Dublin today. In the kind of scenes the ex-Prime Minister is likely to encounter throughout his book tour, angry anti-war protesters pelted Blair with eggs and shoes.

Blair's flawed approach to peace in Northern Ireland

Tony Blair's effort in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland is often heralded as his greatest achievement, but the approach he took to the peace process has left a mixed legacy.

America in Iraq: power, hubris, change

The zealous attitudes and fevered misjudgments that drove United States policy towards Iraq in 2003 could yet have a second life over Iran.

Mozambique riots leave six dead

Riots in Mapuso highlight emerging food price crisis. Middle east peace talks kick off despite Hamas attacks. Shia festival hit by bombings in Lahore. Nato air strike blamed for ten fatalities in northern Afghanistan. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

A question of judgement - Iraq and the Labour Party leadership race

With voting in the Labour leadership contest underway, David Wearing examines why the Iraq war was such a fundamental call which has much to teach us about a future leader's judgement.

Healing Sierra Leone: challenges facing the Commission of Inquiry

Messeh Kamara issues an emotional call for reconciliation, courage and openness as Sierra Leone reexamines its past in a proposed Commission of Inquiry.

Iran reinvigorates a strategy for regional dominance

Tehran’s ‘three Persian speaking countries’ project is aimed at subjugating Afghanistan

Obama’s failing middle east policy

Avni Dogru summarises the middle east's falling in and out of love with US President Barack Obama. Without a rapid reversal of US policy, it looks as if the downward trend will only accelerate.

The Iranian regime thrives on the spectre of military confrontation

The increasingly militarised confrontation between the United States, Israel and Iran only strengthens the Ahmadinejad regime's intransigence, allowing it to side step an ongoing crisis of legitimacy.

Rhetoric and reality: the clash of civilisations from Classical Greece to today

The concept of the ‘clash of civilisations’ is usually traced back to Classical Greece. In Classical times as today, this idea of an unbridgeable gap between the West and the Rest does not describe reality, but is instead a line of political rhetoric. The article continues our series Lest we forget, an editorial project in association with History & Policy, asking historians to reflect on wars gone by and the light they shed on present conflicts.

US declares an end to combat operations in Iraq

President Obama declares an end to combat operations in Iraq. Israeli settlers to resume settlement building in Hebron ahead of peace talks. Pakistan blocks British military aid in flood relief efforts. All this and more in today's briefing.

Report implicates Rwanda in crimes against humanity committed in Congo

Rwanda responds angrily to allegations of genocide; Iran tests new generation of ballistic missile guidance system, but maintains it remains committed to terms of nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Ukrainian Security Service accused of adopting Soviet-style tactics against political opposition. CIA worries about wider effects of US citizens' involvement in terrorist activity. India and China contemplate suspending defence exchanges. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Kashmir: a place of blood and memory

In attempting to suffocate a separate Kashmiri identity, India reveals the cracks in its own idea of nationhood, argues Nitasha Kaul.

Netanyahu coalition partner calls for Abbas to "dissappear"

Netanyahu distances himself from Yosef remarks before Israeli-Palestinian talks are set to begin in Washington. Chinese and North Korean media confirm Kim Jong-il visit. Campaign continues against female parliamentary candidates as five are killed in western Afghanistan. Chechen president heads operation that kills nineteen in his home village. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Managing Terrorism, two views reviewed

The one-time head of Downing Street security strategy and an academic expert set out their views on how the authorities should respond to terrorism. One appeals to the 'genius' of the UK's system the other sets out some basic rules.

A formula for failure: the Kabul Conference on the future of Afghanistan

The Afghan mission continues to flounder without direction, over a month after the "future of Afghanistan" was discussed at the Kabul Conference.

Wanted: Economic Equality to Mend Kyrgyzstan

Media reports of disturbances in Kyrgyzstan’s two main cities Bishkek and Osh focused on human rights and ethnicity. However, Balihar Sanghera suggests that the root cause lies in economic inequality.

Israel’s security: beyond the zero-sum

The prospects for progress in the direct Israeli-Palestinian talks in Washington are meagre. But breakthrough is essential if Israel is to be saved from itself.

UN mission fails to protect civilians in the DRC

The UN mission in the DRC is failing to protect civilians, as it emerges that 200 women were raped in a systematic attack in North Kivu earlier month. A US official alleges that Taliban forces have threatened foreign aid workers in Pakistan. A wave of attacks across Iraq raise questions about Iraqi stability. Human rights groups allege that state anti-terrorism drive violates human rights in Yemen. All this and more in today’s briefing...

Why attacking Iran is still completely nuts

The nuclear dispute will not be resolved by negotiation, but that doesn't make an attack on Iran any less absurd.

Beware of meddling in Kyrgyzstan!

Despite deep fissures in Kyrgyz society in the aftermath of the upheavals, external intervention would be counterproductive, advises John Heathershaw. Instead, foreign governments should concentrate their efforts on reducing the stakes of the conflict.

Al-Shabab renew offensive in Mogadishu

More attacks in Mogadishu, as Al-Shabab steps up its campaign against African Union troops. Convicted Islamists escape prison as fears of militant action in Central Asia increase. Russian security forces kill top Causcaus Emirate leader. Report calls for further US-Russian nuclear disarmament. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Building a global peace movement

How can we build a strong and effective global peace movement?’ Cynthia Cockburn, Howard Clark and Dave Webb reply to Diana Francis

Twenty-first century mercenaries - Afghanistan's answer?

Contracted officers could be the future of international support for the Kabul government, argues Ray Kane.

Kaliningrad's Day of Anger

Some weeks ago Kaliningrad achieved a first in Russia by getting its governor Georgy Boos fired by the Kremlin. On 21 August thousands gathered to protest at the state of Russia and to demand the resignation of Putin and his government.

The Clash of Civilizations revisited

Samuel P. Huntington’s oft-pilloried work, “The Clash of Civilizations”, has long lost its original academic potency. However it has growing leverage at the grass-roots level where the clash has been reinterpreted to justify growing islamophobia

Kosovo: the UN court has spoken, let the dialogue begin

The Balkans are the next chapter in a quintessentially European story about competing claims for identity, sovereignty, and independence; and the European Union (backed by the United States) has a key role to play in it

Will Fini finish-off the Berlusconi saga?

Mr.Fini, who has rebranded himself a liberal Conservative with a Cameron-like position, may be paving the way for a new party of his own

Collective persecution of the Bahais in Iran

Many countries use national security as the pretext for violating human rights, but why should Iran single out the Bahais for this kind of persecution

Jordan’s uranium and Israel’s fears

At a time when other regional ties with Israel are facing setbacks, US and Israeli moves to prevent Jordan from enriching its own uranium may be misguided when Jordan can play positive role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

In search of an Israeli left

The disconnection between the international left and its counterparts in Israel has become near total, to the detriment of the causes that both espouse. But a situation with complex roots can be remedied by looking more closely at the work of people on the ground, say Keith Kahn-Harris & Joel Schalit.

Taliban propose joint committee to investigate civilian deaths

The Taliban propose a joint committee to investigate civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Pakistan has announced a crackdown on charities connected with Islamist militants. Israel and Palestinian Authority are on the brink of direct talks. The South African government uses a heavy hand to suppress the national strike. All this an more, in today’s security update.

An asymmetrical drone war

The United States and Israel see the next generation of armed drones as a potent reinforcement of their military capacity against insurgents and rogue states. But Iran and Hizbollah too are in the race.

Colombia: a tale of two leaders

Juan Manuel Santos has made a refreshing start as Colombia’s president by departing from the policies of his predecessor, Álvaro Uribe. But to map a new political direction he will need support from uncertain allies, says Adam Isacson.
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