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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Founder, Director and Editor of democraciaAbierta

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Israel-Palestine negotiations in an election year

All the parties have an apparent interest in pursuing the talks further, although largely to gain political consensus at home.

Bosnia: blood, honey, and war's legacy

A film portrayal of the horrors of systematic rape during Bosnia's war of 1992-95 highlights the victims' suffering and bravery. But the romantic thread of Angelina Jolie's work fails to convince, says Peter Lippman.

Nigeria: the challenge of “Boko Haram II”

The radical Islamist group Boko Haram poses an increasing threat to the Nigerian state in the country’s north. How has it become so powerful and effective? The ingredients of an answer lie in the complex history, power-relationships and social inequalities of this marginalised region, says Morten Bøås.

The arrest of Professor Ghulam Azam: a grandchild's account

The arrest of a leading opposition figure in Bangladesh is a stark reminder that without due legal process, examining the wrongs of the past can quickly become an opportunity for political leverage in the present.

Exceptionalism as an excuse in Europe’s crisis

This crisis is being used by the national leaders to push the EU down the wrong institutional path, namely intergovernmentalism. The British Tory-led government veto played a role in this, pushing the other member states down the only road that remained available to them, an intergovernmental treaty, but it did so on already ‘fertile ground’.

Yemen after Saleh: between uncertainties and divisions

After nearly nine months of protests, more than 900 deaths and approximately 25,000 wounded, the President of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh has transferred power to his deputy, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.

America, Israel, Iran: signals of war

A range of military and political developments, from the very rare planned deployment of three huge United States armadas in the Persian Gulf to Israeli fears of Barack Obama’s re-election, is evidence of rising danger around Iran.

Tipping the scales within Hamas

As the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, undergoes an unprecedented internal power struggle, the time has come for western decision-makers to constructively engage moderate Islamists not only in Tunisia and Egypt, but also in the Palestinian territories

Ahmadinejad, an anti-imperialist - really?

It is necessary for world opinion to progress beyond the crude binary opposition of the enemy image if we want to understand the true nature of the Iranian regime, and if we want to avoid war.

Attacking Iran: lessons from the Iran-Iraq war

Military action against Iran, and even the continuing threat of attack, is likely to give the Islamic Republic a new lease on life

The December 2011 Bonn Conference: a farewell to Afghanistan?

Several new elements are added, almost daily, to worsen the complexity of the situation, and rumours of an imminent military coup in Islamabad do little to clarify matters.

The contest over peace and security in Africa

The dominant interventionist approach to peace and security in Africa by-passes the hard work of creating domestic political consensus and instead imposes models of government favoured by western powers. The emergent African methodology offers a chance to develop locally-rooted solutions too often sidelined.

The far horizons of peacebuilding – and the near

Peacebuilding and development can no longer be thought of in terms of what was always an over-simplified polarisation between the powerful stability of the giver and the weak turbulence of the beneficiary. It was always wrong to see the world that way; now it’s impossible.

War with Iran? How should Britain proceed?

Conflict with Iran is looming, with the US and Israel circling around the possibility of a pre-emptive strike to prevent the manufacture of nuclear weapons. What course should Britain take? And what is the role of the Liberal Democrats?

The freedom bus

A chance to share stories that underscore the rich Palestinian history of popular resistance and sumud (steadfastness).

Why the UK government must get to the bottom of any complicity in torture

Following the closure of the Detainee Inquiry chaired by Sir Peter Gibson, the government must commit to a new, transparent and robust investigation if it wishes to restore the moral authority it has lost.

Tomsk to Jaipur: India fails to protect freedom of speech

Salman Rushdie's wholly involuntary no-show at the Jaipur Literary Festival, a big event in India's cultural calendar, highlights yet again the country’s failure to uphold freedom of speech as well as the authorities’ cynical readiness to pander to religious fanatics for narrow electoral advantage

Arda’s flags: a postcard from Abkhazia

The strategic significance and territorial claims on the region of Abkhazia have meant its citizens have become used to a life lived in geopolitical limbo. Following the 2008 South Ossetia war, however, a small number of small countries began to recognise Abkhazian independence. A tailor thought of a novel way to mark the development, reports Oliver Bullough.

The Iran complex: why history matters

A sense of enduring history and more recent experience of bitter conflict inform Iran's nuclear stance. To understand this could be a way to avoid war.

Hidden from view, debarred from debate - EU report on arms exports

The report attempts to collate data on 2010 weapons sales by EU member countries. Western Europeans were the biggest arms exporters. The biggest customers were the repressive regimes of the Middle East and North Africa who collectively bought 8.3 billion Euros worth of arms.

SCAF’S parliament

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is the main obstacle to the revolution, and parliament is to be permanently distracted by political contestation irrelevant to the goals of the revolution.

A conflicted moment for the Armenian consciousness

The reason the French genocide law has proved so popular amongst Armenians is that it represents the prospect of a final catharsis to a tragic history. In reality, however, it is yet another obstacle to reaching a conclusion.

Rwanda: a step towards truth

A new French report into the incident that sparked Rwanda's genocide is of vital importance on three grounds: discrediting false accounts, establishing facts, and raising further questions. But it leaves critical questions unanswered, including over the role of a key French mercenary, says Andrew Wallis

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.
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