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This week's editor


Mairi Mackay is openDemocracy’s senior editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

A tale of three cities: Washington, Baghdad, Tehran

The United States's war in Iraq failed to curb Iranian influence in the region. The war's architects now seek to make Tehran pay for their mistake.

Rwandan opposition leader appears in court

Rockets intended for Israel hit Jordan. Sudan poll results delayed amid fraud allegations. Blasts shake tense Thai capital. All this and more in today's briefing.

From Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos and the other Chagos Islands - people speak out

The people of Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos and the other Chagos Islands speak out on Britain’s proposal for a Marine Protected Area

Don't mention the war. Grow up.

The Liberal Democrat leader wrote this article for the Guardian in 2002. It is now being used against him by a hysterically melancholic tabloid press in Britain. We are proud to republish it.

Iran accuses US of nuclear threats

Tehran criticises US' nuclear threats. Victory likely for Bashir after controversial Sudanese elections. Peshawar stuck by twin suicide attacks. Ethnic violence threatens Kyrgyz interim government. All this and more in today's update.

The Arab-Israeli war of narratives

The Arab-Israeli war of narratives that has led to Holocaust-denial on the one hand and Nakba-denial on the other opposes two entirely symmetrical visions of the origins of this intractable conflict. In Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives, Gilbert Achcar traces a complex history of interpretations from Arab responses to the earliest intimations of the Nazi genocide, through the creation of Israel and the occupation of Palestine, to last winter's Israeli offensive against Gaza. Demonstrating that to the present day there has never been one Holocaust-denying ‘Arab’ narrative, Achcar calls for a genuine dialogue based on a full and mutual recognition of both the Holocaust and the Nakba. We publish two extracts from the book’s Introduction which trace the origins of the narratives around these two terms.

Thai army deployed as ‘red-shirts’ move towards Bangkok’s business district

Political upheaval in Thailand reaches new levels as opposition threaten counter-protests. Sudan elections criticised, but seen as positive step forward. Iranian leader Khameini labels US ‘nuclear criminal’. Constitutional clause hinders formation of new Iraqi government. Clinton urges renewed peace efforts in the Middle East. All this and more, in todays security update.

Getting to peace: what kind of movement?

Today’s antiwar movements could become wider and deeper and more united if they took the critique of gender properly to heart

Cambodia: surviving the Khmer Rouge

On 17 April 1975, the Khmer Rouge began a terrible political experiment in Cambodia. It was to last for four years. Var Hong Ashe tells the epic story of how she survived it.

(This article was first published on 15 April 2005)   

Cyprus: local perception, European illusion

The chances of an internal resolution of the enduring Cyprus conflict are receding. This reinforces the temptation of many to embrace a “European solution” as the way forward. But the European Union's understanding of democracy is less principled than Greek Cypriots would like it to be, says Hubert Faustmann.

Parallel paths: radicalisation and terrorism

Demos' latest report, 'The edge of violence', sets out a new agenda for counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation strategies in Canada and Europe. While it breaks important ground, it leaves significant questions unanswered, argues Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-Seal.

Russia-Poland: a history too terrible

The plane crash at Smolensk which Poland’s president has provoked an outpouring of Russian sympathy, from Putin down. It has helped many Russians identify their country’s responsibility for the Katyn massacre in 1940. But it has left many others unmoved, even cynical. ‘Re-setting’ Russian-Polish relations is not going to be easy.

Could Abkhazia be smothered by its new best friend?

Seventeen years after civil war, Abkhazia is finally recovering under Russian protection. But many inside the country are unhappy, fearing association with their big brother will result in another loss of independence.

Impossible bedfellows: civil-military cooperation through NATO's eyes

In a continued search for relevance in the post-Cold War world, the armed forces of NATO have adopted a burgeoning humanitarian and development agenda. But military and civilian intervention in conflict zones cannot and should not be amalgamated, argues Gloria Martinez.

The nuclear-weapons risk

The Washington-hosted summit on nuclear security heard Barack Obama warn of the fearful prospect of a non-state group using a nuclear weapon. How realistic is it, and how to prevent it?

The Sahara's new cargo: drugs and radicalism

A fusion of illicit money-making and radical politics is turning the big empty spaces of the western half of the Sahara into a profound security challenge, says Stephen Ellis.

Serbia’s mixed messages

The war-crimes trials that divide the states of post-Yugoslavia underline the temptations of retreat to the nationalist past, says Eric Gordy.

Ambitious goals set at nuclear summit

Nuclear summit sets lofty goals for member nations. Interim Kyrgyz government asserts its authority. Fighting displaces 100,000 in Mogadishu, says UN. Thai red shirt protesters refuse talks. Mexico's drug violence kills 23,000. Hostilities erupt in southern Philippine island. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Gender justice and the ICC: turning a miracle into reality

Ahead of the first global review meeting of the Rome Statue and International Criminal Court, women from around the world are meeting in Mexico next week to develop a clear global agenda for advancing gender justice through advocacy and engagement with the International Criminal Court.

Surveillance + detention = £Billions: How Labour’s friends are ‘securing your world’

The rapid rise of the security industry with its close links to government has disturbing implications for our freedom.

Nigeria and the politics of massacre

The brutal violence against people of a different ethnicity or religion seen in the central Nigerian state of Jos is the most common face of genocide worldwide, says Martin Shaw.

Outrage in Kandahar after deadly NATO attack on Afghan bus

NATO killings of Afghan civilians spark street protests in Kandahar. Obama presses Hu to collaborate on Iran sanctions. Kyrgyzstan’s defiant president ordered to yield. Israeli forces kill Palestinian militant near Gaza border. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Kyrgyzstan: fractured, but not broken

Kyrgyzstan’s government has fallen, its provisional rulers are untested, and there is as yet no sign of a lasting political settlement. Yet that does not mean it will automatically follow the example of neighbour Tajikistan and descend into civil war, writes John Heathershaw

Landmark Sudanese elections marred by confusion, delay and allegations of fraud

Sudan polling starts amidst delays and confusion. Polish president and other elites died in plane crash. Obama hosts ‘unprecedented’ nuclear summit. Death toll rises to 21 in Bangkok protests. Ousted Kyrgyz president defiant as interim leader takes office. All this and more, in today's security update.

Potential compromise over renminbi may avert US-China trade war

Signs of a compromise in the long-running dispute between the US and China over the renminbi. The followers of Moqtada al Sadr reject both of the leading candidates for the Iraqi premiership. The Israeli Prime Minister pulls out of a US nuclear summit. Kim Jong-il is absent from the annual meeting of the North Korean parliament. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Central Asia: new security challenges

Kyrgyzstan’s violence underscores the instability of those former Soviet governments which are burdened by authoritarian and corrupt rule. To varying degrees, every Central Asian country faces serious threats at home and from the war in neighboring Afghanistan. They need help. The West and Russia should act, including by engaging the underutilized Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

The AfPak war: failures of success

The Barack Obama administration places drone attacks at the heart of its military strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But its enemy too is capable of making deadly use of evolving technology.

US and Russia sign historic nuclear deal

US and Russia sign historic nuclear deal. Sudan elections in doubt as more opposition parties boycott. Kyrgyz opposition sets up ‘peoples’ government’. Al-Qaeda officials move from Yemen into Somalia. All this and much more in today’s security briefing.

The virtual occupation of Gaza

Despite its withdrawal of forces on the ground in 2005, Israel continues a virtual occupation of the Gaza Strip and, in so doing, assumes the responsibilities of an occupying power under international law, reasons Federico Sperotto.

Kyrgyzstan on brink of revolution, state of emergency declared

Violent protests erupt in Kyrgyzstan. Thai government declares a state of emergency. NATO accused of civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Russia announces new anti-terror measures in the North Caucasus. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

What strategic dialogue? US-Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan

Ehsan Azari questions the value of the US' unbalanced relationship with Pakistan.

Leaked video shows US gunships killing Iraqi civilians

WikiLeaks website posts video showing US helicopter attack on journalists and civilians. Obama to announce overhaul of US nuclear strategy. Maoist rebels kill over 70 police in India. Deadly series of bomb attacks rock Baghdad. All this and much more, in today’s security briefing.

Why are Chechens so angry?

Why do Chechen women volunteer to blow themselves and their fellow citizens up on the crowded Moscow metro? The history of Russia’s attempts to quell the Chechens since 1721 explains a lot, suggests Oliver Bullough. Perhaps all they ever wanted from Russia was to be left alone

US appeals to China over Iran sanctions

Obama calls Hu Jintao to urge a tougher stance on Iran. Israel threatens another military operation against Gaza. Harmid Karzai launches an unprecedented attack on the international community. The South Korean President urges restraint over the sinking of a warship in the waters off North Korea. All this and more, in today’s security update…

Beyond "liddism": towards real global security

A decade of pitiless wars and brutal inequalities has made the arguments of the book “Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century” - first published before 9/11, and now in its third edition - more relevant than ever. In his 450th column for openDemocracy, Paul Rogers looks back and forward.

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