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This week’s editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Security challenges raise questions about Turkey’s regional power status

As Turkey flies air strikes against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq and fails to play an important role in the Syrian crisis, its ambitions to become a regional power need to be questioned. Report highlights links between Islamist insurgents in northern Nigeria and al-Qaeda. In West Africa, piracy is on the rise, while a human rights commission reveals that thousands of unidentified bodies have been buried in mass graves in Kashmir. All this in today's security briefing.

Dig deep into corruption in India

Manmohan Singh's government faces its biggest challenge as it prepares to quell the rising protest against the most corrupt government India has ever witnessed. The demand for a new anti-draft bill by activist Anna Hazare and his team is creating a revolution.

The Time We Live

What might we hope for from life? Watching the London riots from afar John Berger finds a small passport that lets him visualise what is missing from a looter's expectations

The 'democratic opening' and the illusion of advanced democracy in Turkey

Kurdish lawyer, author and human rights activist Muharrem Erbey was imprisoned by Turkish authorities at the end of 2009 for fighting against human rights violations against his people. He wrote this letter from prison.

Inside the battle of Tripoli

The Libyan legend was written by civilian Libyans with high expectations of a future free Libya, who have risen up from every corner and carried arms to end one of the world’s totalitarian regimes.

After South Sudan: integrating Africa

The battle for ideas, for allegiance, for identity has gone on in Africa as it has everywhere. Breaking up existing state territories in Africa would be at least as arbitrary as when imperial powers did so at the Berlin conference in 1888.

Multiculturalism and Dutch political culture

In the case of the seventeenth century Dutch Republic, there was no single, dominant religion. There was also no absolute majority religion. Instead, each province and each town had its own religious cultural groups.

Norway: terror and Islamophobia in the mirror

As Norway ends its first month of mourning, media soundbites tell us that there is a desire to draw a line and move on. But there are lessons to be learned about the consequences of institutional ‘hate speech’ and prejudice in high places. Can Norway lead the way in learning these lessons?

The rising of China

In an environment of increased political liberalisation, yet without clear channels to apply pressure on government agencies and leaders, citizens today frequently resort to ad hoc demonstrations, protests and occasionally riots.

Sandwiches, Red Bull and Public Support: police officers talk about England's riots

A fortnight after a peaceful protest against the shooting dead of Mark Duggan sparked four days of rioting across urban England, police officers tell their stories of violence, sleep deprivation and acts of kindness

Inconvenient truths: international accountability and domestic politics in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan regime needs to be intellectually and electorally defeated. But in this task, the spectre of international intervention is not merely a distraction, but a hindrance.

Don't say working class, say families

The J-14 movement in Israel and the Wisconsin Cheddar Revolution raise similar issues of security, social welfare and democracy. Both are challenged by a newly potent, yet de-classed Middle Class.

The dog days of the Soviet Union: the coup

The (unsuccessful) coup d’état in August 1991 eventually brought about the end of the USSR. Rodric Braithwaite was British Ambassador at the time. He kept a diary and has kindly allowed openDemocracy Russia to publish the entries for those eventful 5 days.

Will Iraq play to the US tune in Syria?

Obama wants Assad gone, but can US ‘ally’ Iraq be persuaded to turn on the Syrian regime?

Carnival in the Capital: how England's riots recall a history stretching back to Dionysius

To understand the riots that swept across English cities, remember the carnival: a temporary lapse in the normal social order when the law is suspended and the oppressed become free

The UK's largest Traveller community faces imminent eviction

Half of the largest Irish Traveller Community in Britain must vacate their homes by the end of this month, or face the bulldozers. The eviction is to go ahead despite UN warnings that Britain is in danger of violating her international human rights obligations

America’s lost wars: the choice in 2012

The United States remains embroiled in conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. The outcome of the current presidential-election campaign will determine whether it can escape another decade of war.

Egypt's legal revolution

In post-revolutionary Egypt, many activists have shifted their attentions to drafting the next constitution, which they hope will deal a coup de grâce to the nation’s vestigial ills. But such efforts seem misplaced. Constitutions everywhere are seldom panaceas, and no legal document will right the country’s woes until the Emergency Law is abolished.

Abusing the Swiss system of direct democracy: the Swiss People's Party aims to stop "mass immigration".

The SVP in Switzerland has taken advantage of a global trend to build a new political consensus through the use of dangerous political propaganda.

China’s first aircraft carrier begins sea trials as tensions in the South China Sea rise

China’s first aircraft carrier made its maiden voyage from Dalian port. The United States has refused to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. Indian anti-corruption activist, Anna Hazare has been arrested. Russia’s S-500 system could be included in NATO’s missile defense in Europe. All this in today’s security briefing…

Look at England's urban spaces: the riots were inevitable

We only had to look at our English urban spaces to predict that riots would someday sweep across our nation. Our cities have parallel areas, suitable for both the privileged and the underclass, occupying the exact same space: collapse was inevitable

All sides guilty of breaching international law in Somalia

All sides guilty of violating international law in Somalia, says new report. Wave of attacks rock Iraq. Assault on Syrian port enters third day. US officials reject report on drone death figures. Gaddafi defiant as rebels claim control of West. All this and more in today’s briefing...

Chimerica: the rise of the wing nuts

Regardless of the differences between China and America, a parallel can be drawn between the two countries: the 'wing nuts' or aggressive xenophobes.

Disorder in world cities: comparing Britain and France

French and British cities are alone in Europe in experiencing recurrent urban outbreaks of disorder and mayhem. What can we tell from comparing the English riots to what happened in French cities and towns in 2005?

Arab Spring and the Turkish model

The idea of democracy in Turkey suffers from an ethno-centric definition of citizenship and rejects the more inclusive understanding of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity.

Dangerous liaison? Evaluating relations between Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda

The detention of Ahmed Warsame in the US has renewed the discussion about possible cooperation between the powerful Somali Islamist insurgent movement Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Christopher Anzalone assesses the links.

David Cameron must remember the lessons of Bloody Sunday

In the aftermath of the riots that swept across England last week, the UK government must not rush to adopt draconian policing tactics.

Strike pressures PT Freeport Indonesia into serious negotiations

Indigenous Papuans are waging a four-decade long nonviolent struggle for independence from Indonesia. At the heart of Papuan grievances lies Freeport, the world’s largest gold and copper mine, owned and operated by US based company Freeport McMoRan and their Indonesian subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia.

A new city on the Mosquito Coast

Honduras is open for business. Can its underdevelopment be tackled by creating charter cities which set their own laws?

Islamabad under scrutiny from China as Pakistan-trained terrorists blamed for attacks in Xinjiang

China publicly links recent attacks in Xinjiang province to Pakistan-based terrorist group. Radical anti-US cleric al-Sadr warns Washington that military trainers could become targets. After years of fighting, al-Shabab withdraws from Mogadishu. NATO, Kosovo and Serbia reach agreement following violent clashes between ethnic groups in northern Kosovo. All this in today's security briefing...

ICTY: favouring prosecution over justice?

The partial retrial of Kosovo's former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj over charges of murder, cruel treatment and torture heightens concerns that the ICTY may be bending fundamental legal principles in favour of the prosecution, argues Roland Gjoni

Ukraine, Belarus, Russia — family reunited?

Ukraine is busy absorbing the news that opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has been arrested under corruption charges. Most analysts consider the process to be politically motivated, and part of a strategy of power consolidation by the ruling Party of the Regions. Dmitri Travin asks if this means that “once-democratic” Ukraine has finally joined her Slavic siblings Belarus and Russia in a retreat to authoritarianism.

A Middle Eastern recipe of strife and blood, sprinkled with tempered hope

As Ramadan begins, we look at how the Arab Spring turns into an Arab Summer with increasingly messy situations in Syria, Bahrain, Libya, and beyond. This and more in today's security briefing...

The call of conscience

Six journalists humble audiences with their collective commitment to a calling above high office, fame, lucre and security. Theatre review.

Syrian dialogue: a bullet in the head

Simple demands have been met with doublespeak and duplicity.
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