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This week’s editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Western complicity in the crimes of the Ben Ali regime

Often overlooked in the western press have been the collective, or one could say national, grievances of the Tunisian people, expressed as frustration at Tunisia’s lack of real sovereignty in a global order enforced by international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank

Glimpsing the Tunisian Revolution

Tunisian activists, more than anything else, are proud of themselves for returning their country to global history, not as dependent or slave, but as empowered actor in the process of negotiating global values and institutions.

Why sectarian fight persists in Northern Ireland

This week has seen sectarian rioting between Catholics and Protestants in Belfast. Why does violence continue in Northern Ireland?

Letter from Australia to Britain: Trading in human misery - immigration and the "Malaysian solution"

Australia’s detention regime offers an ugly vision of where UK asylum policy may be headed

Another Falklands war unlikely but not inconceivable

Despite a tense exchange over the Falkland islands between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner, another war over the islands looks highly unlikely any time soon. Instead, argues James Lockhart Smith, the conflict will continue to take a diplomatic course, the outcome of which will determine whether military confrontation is likely in the long run.

After the “west”

The emergent reality of an interconnected world requires a new understanding of security which moves beyond the ideas of the “west vs the rest” and the "clash of civilisations", says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam.

Drone warfare: cost and challenge

The repositioning of the United States’s military strategy includes a great expansion in the use of armed-drones to attack targets in Pakistan and Yemen. But this development raises profound legal and ethical questions that are now entering the public arena.

Rapprochement across the Taiwan Strait

China and Taiwan seek to increase economic exchanges by allowing individuals to travel from Mainland China to Taiwan. Pakistani and Indian foreign secretaries are set to meet in Islamabad. Sudan and South Sudan reach Abeyi deal, and Syria’s Assad makes new promises to reform. All this in today’s security briefing.

The Human Cost of "War on Drugs"

50 years of criminalisation of drugs and 40 years of blatant failure of “war on drugs” has only made the problem worse. Policy makers must listen to the real victims: the people on the front lines

Syria’s broken spring: a Damascus report

A seething revolt across much of Syria is being met with ferocious repression by the Ba’athist government’s security forces. But so far, the two cities where close to half of Syria’s population lives - Damascus and Aleppo - are relatively calm. In this evolving situation, what are the prospects for Syria’s regime and people? Vicken Cheterian reports and reflects.  

Pakistan: the hard reality

Pakistan is too often portrayed in flawed and reductive ways that flatten its complexity and offer misleading guidance to policy-makers. This makes it all the more important to acknowledge some difficult truths about the country, says Anatol Lieven.

Cocaine Unwrapped

Interviewing Latin American leaders and victims of repressive policy, film-maker Rachel Seifert argues that the West should take real responsibility and rethink its failed war on drugs

Afghanistan: mapping the endgame

The United States's narrative of progress against the Taliban faces uncomfortable realities on the ground - and unexpected resistance in Washington.

Tactical Questioning: Scenes from the Baha Mousa Enquiry

A review of Tricycle Theatre's dramatisation of the public inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa, an innocent Iraqi citizen, at the hands of the British military

Maritime disputes intensify in South China Sea

Long-standing maritime disputes between China and its neighbours intensify. Afghan President Hamai Karzai visits Islamabad. Departing US Defence Secretary Gates criticizes European reluctance to contribute to Nato efforts and Syrian troops move forward as the number of refugees to Turkey increases. All in today's security briefing.

Beating the Retreat: how much longer for Britain’s child soldiers?

As the Armed Forces Bill reaches its final stages, we have one last chance to stop Britain recruiting under 18s

Memories of a better future in the aftermath of the Srebrenica genocide

It is worth repeating once again that much of the war in Bosnia was a war of two incompatible ideologies: XIX-century-type clero-fascist nationalism vs. organic Bosnian multiculturalism. The region needs to re-address unfinished business in Bosnia and re-examine the legality, morality and sustainability of the Dayton Peace Accords, which left the country divided along artificial ethnic lines.

Serbia after Ratko Mladic: the arrest and the rest

The latest opinion poll on the subject revealed that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed wouldn’t have informed the police about the fugitive’s secret location had it been known to them. Fortunately, their assistance was not needed.

Belgium: blame the chubby nationalist

The creation of a new Belgian government seems as unlikely as the Red Devils ever winning the World Cup. Bart de Wever, leader of the nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), receives much of the blame, but representatives from all political parties across the language frontier are unable to bridge the ever wider gap between north and south

Real Journalism Now: the media after Spain's revolution

‘Why are the traditional media losing their credibility? Why do our citizens no longer trust us? In the Puerta del Sol - the seat of the Spanish Revolution - why were they shouting ‘Television: manipulation’?’

Bahrain in the shadow of the Libya War

Support by the Arab League for the military operations in Libya has been an effective diplomatic means for Saudi Arabia and the GCC to redirect interest in internal Arab states of affairs away from the Arabian Peninsula and onto North Africa. The strategy seems to work nicely: the silence surrounding Bahrain has been deafening.

Osh: one year on

Before the interethnic violence of last June, Osh was a remarkable meeting point of Uzbek and Kyrgyz cultures. That Osh is no longer, but shared history provides the best hope for a peaceful future, writes Nick Megoran

Facing the Greek crisis: it’s the politics, stupid

As 200,000 people, led by a movement across Greece calling itself ‘The Outraged’, surround the parliament in Athens chanting, “Thieves, thieves, thieves”, here are ten proposals from a political scientist’s point of view for the Greek government, but also its European partners.

Could western neo-cons and Iranian hardliners be ratcheting up nuclear tensions for their own motives?

On the eve of the second anniversary of Iran's ‘stolen’ presidential election, with the Arab Spring unfolding all around, there are mounting tensions over the nuclear issue

America and Iraq-Iran: a new balance

The United States’s post-9/11 strategy sought to establish a new order in the middle east. A proposed regional-security constellation involving Baghdad and Tehran is a measure of its failure.

Turkey's “passive revolution” and democracy

A near-decade of rule by strategic, business-friendly, moderate Islamists has transformed Turkey’s political dynamics. Now, the prospect of a third successive electoral victory seems to offer the Justice & Development Party (AKP) a chance to consolidate its hegemony over the once entrenched military-led “deep state”. But the situation is not so simple for the AKP, nor so clear for Turkey’s future. Rather, increasing domestic tension and regional turbulence are posing critical new questions over the country’s democracy and model of governance, says Kerem Oktem.

With eye to US, post-bin Laden Pakistan turns to 'all-weather' friend China

Pakistan and China hail their relationship during a recent state visit of Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Gilani to Beijing. In Sudan, fighting between Northern and Southern armed forces in the contested border region intensifies. India buys transport aircraft from the US in the highest value military contract between the two countries. Russia cancels joint military exercises with India. All in today's Security Briefing.

"Racism" or "Racist incident", what's the difference? UCU and the EUMC ‘working definition’ of antisemitism

Is it good to pretend that racism can be identified simply with reference to the victim's perception of racism? The Macpherson report into the conduct of the police in investigating the killing of Stephen Lawrence is being mis-read

Al-Qaida, and a world in balance

Where is al-Qaida going after the Arab spring and the death of the movement's figurehead? The dynamics of global security in the 21st century offer an answer. The question is also one that the Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was investigating at the time of his shocking murder.

Ratko Mladic and justice: another route

The effect of the international tribunal where those accused of crimes during the Balkan wars face trial is to reinforce divisions in the region. It’s time to consider other justice mechanisms that could address this problem, say Katharine Engelhart & Ozren Jungic.

Italian Spring

The Berlusconi era may be nearing its end, but media populism remains a danger across Europe and requires new political forms of organisation to combat it

SlutWalk: not so easy an issue

The SlutWalk protests may be inspired by commendable principles to prevent sexual violence. But the misreading of the Toronto police’s statements stop us asking harder questions about sexuality and gender relations

May and Spain's Bermuda Triangle

Real Democracy Now, if it had done nothing else, has rescued a supine Spanish electorate from the stultifying boredom of the recent election period. However, people still turned out to vote. So what’s new?

Five reasons why Europe is cracking up

In Germany, France and Italy, but also in many other places, we find ourselves confronted with a generation of leaders ever more shortsighted and given over to electioneering: among them, none speak to Europe nor for Europe.

The fiery birth of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy: England's Summer of Discontent, ten years on

As the UK government reviews its counter-terrorism, counter-radicalisation strategy, Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Robert Lambert argue that a panicked reading of the events of summer 2001 - the attacks on the twin towers and communal riots in the north of England - have set the tone of a divisive and counterproductive debate on the connection between radicalism and terrorism. On the tenth anniversary of the Oldham, Burnley and Bradford riots, it is time for a fundamental rethinking of counter-terrorism and community cohesion strategy.

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