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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Remnants of a Greek past, image from the future

The tendency to deflect all discussion of protest and resistance onto the issue of violence is also misleading when it comes to assessing the track record and future prospects of Greek anarchism

4-Star Wars: flashpoint in Kyrgyzstan

Supplying fuel to the American government to keep military planes running into Afghanistan is a lucrative business. Involving as it does politics and politicians in desperately poor Kyrgyzstan, it is also a highly controversial one. Nick Kochan writes on the fuel contracts that have come to be viewed as issues of sovereignty for the new Kyrgyz government

Breaking our promise to Haiti

The Haitian government’s handling of the situation has been spectacularly poor. But the international aid sector's record has also been dismal.

Sri Lanka prohibits UN war crimes investigation

Sri Lankan officials forbid the UN from conducting an independent investigation into alleged war crimes in that country. A new report claims that 57 journalists were killed around the world in 2010; 25% fewer than last year. All this and more in today's security briefing.

The SWISH Report (17)

What is the condition of al-Qaida, and what are its prospects in 2011 and beyond? The movement commissions the well-regarded SWISH management agency to deliver a further independent evaluation, to which openDemocracy has exclusive access.

The year in security

openSecurity's briefings team highlight a selection of security developments from the past year and the clues they hold for 2011.

The human organs of the Council of Europe: there is no evidence in the Marty report

Dick Marty's report to the Council of Europe reflects the unfortunate politicisation of that body by Russia since accession in 1995. Kosovan politics is not clean, but there is no evidence of organ trafficking by Thaçi. And Marty's judgement is clouded by his anti-American instincts. Christophe Solioz disagrees here

Best of OurKingdom 2010

A very brief look back across OK's 2010

Drilling for war

Provocative demonstrations of US military might are no way to avert conflict in east Asia, argues Angel Gómez-de-Ágreda

The Con-Dem Christmas Carol

The ’12 Cuts of Christmas’, sung by student protesters on the tuition fee demonstration at Parliament Square, summed up this year’s defiantly festive spirit. You can join in the iconoclast carol with the video and lyrics in this post.

The toll of the world

The casualties of 19th-century industrial disasters in northern England and tragedies in Bangladesh and Iraq today are connected by deep economic and political forces - and by an ethical understanding that stretches decades ahead.

The military response to direct action, General Kitson's manual

In 1971 a counter-insurgency manual set out an operational response to non-violent direct action protest movements as well as military insurgencies like the Provision IRA in Northern Ireland, drawing on the UK's colonial experience. Today, it holds a surprise for a new reader.

Postmodernism in the Streets: the tactics of protest are changing

Three things were revealed by the recent wave of nationwide student protest. Firstly, the demonstrations represent a new political mood, that can manifest itself in excess and formless anger. Secondly, they cannot go on as unwieldy, monolithic marches. Thirdly, a new infrastructure is proving capable of rapidly mobilising disparate, localised groups in a way that can give form to the emergent appetite for direct action.

Afghanistan: time to face reality

Ranj Alaaldin argues that only the drastic curtailment of Nato ambitions in Afghanistan, and some unpalatable choices, will secure any semblance of stability in the country.

Health services in the Gaza Strip

A visit to a Gaza hospital brings home the effects of a conflict that is a relentless war of attrition

After protests, militancy in the Valley

The killing of a young Kashmiri heralds renewed militancy in the Kashmir valley after summer's protest movement.

On the frontline - Western Sahara

The recent European Parliament resolution on Western Sahara did not cite Moroccan repression and the need to liberate Sahrawi political prisoners. Nor did it call upon MEPs to send a contingent to investigate. Just as well. The Moroccan authorities would have stopped them at the border – again.

A Reluctant Zionist

Most articles about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict take a side. This piece is different. The future of Israelis and Palestinians is together.

China seeks to calm Pakistan over closer India ties

China seeks to allay Pakistan’s concerns over closer ties to India. India is implicated in mass human rights abuses of Kashmiri detainees. EU foreign ministers keep pressure on Israeli over settlements and Gaza. All this and more, in today’s security update…

Human security in Burma: an unreachable conclusion?

Human trafficking needs a joint-up approach if it is to be beaten in Burma, says Thanawat Pimoljinda

A rage unquenched: AfPak, Iraq, and the west

A pattern of attacks in the United States and Europe by individual jihadists is deeply connected to both the effects and the perceptions of a decade's war across the greater middle east.

War is not a video game: drone attacks that kill innocents can only escalate and prolong violence

Drone attacks that kill innocents are a sure way to multiply enemies

West Papua: from morning star to mourning

Inspired by the US civil rights movement and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, the movement for democratic self-determination in West Papua is using new tactics of nonviolent action to advance its cause.

Square one for the US and Syria?

Relations were knocked back when a seemingly innocuous statement snow-balled into a something of much greater consequence last spring. In April the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, set off alarm bells by claiming – without evidence – that Syria was shipping SCUD missiles to Hezbollah.

The gay Orient

The west, unlike India, for example, has unwittingly created a wedge between ‘straightness’ and ‘gayness’ that makes it difficult for society to accept homosexuality as ‘normal’.

New York Times slams UK education policy as myopic, unfair, cruel, unwise, utter failure

Wikileaks showed that the incoming British government was desperate for American approval, perhaps they should rethink their education cuts

Lebanese consensus-building: weathering a tempest

With the Special Tribunal of Lebanon indictment for the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri set to be issued ‘very, very soon’, the weary and the wary in Lebanon are holding their breath.

US power, wikileaks, student protest, Christopher Hitchens and openDemocracy under attack: moral authority, or authoritarianism?

Authors, authority and authoritarianism. A turbulent week raises the question of truth and legitimacy

The New Sound of the Streets

Driving the new wave of protests in England especially is a generational divide that is economic and cultural: the system traded on the alienation of the young from it but it was never mere passivity and now it started to erupt.

Reflections on a Riot

What happens when you go to a demonstration peacefully and are caught up in a riot? An honest account of what it is like for both sides as English higher education is marketised

Berlusconi’s politics of an eternal present

Berlusconi dictates an idea of the eternal present based upon a model of eternal youth and embodied in the narcissistic cult of the self. But there is a democratic affirmation of the individual that can replace this with a narrative that builds our collective future

The state of things: a London protest

A student protest in central London reveals the ugly face of an unaccountable government and the angry one of an alienated young generation, finds Delwar Hussain.

#demo2010, a new generation seized Britain's Parliament Square and it won't be defined by Rock Toffs swinging from the Cenotaph

The British government lost control of the capital last night; it was not supposed to do so.

America: the panoptic shiver

The hacked United States diplomatic missives reveal both the vast ambition and the new vulnerabilites of the world’s superpower.
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