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This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Blackwater still in the dock, but for how long?

Blackwater trials failing to produce convictions. Yemen resource conflict highlighted in two reports. Arms thought to be destined for Nigerian Delta intercepted. Karzai presses ahead with ban on private military companies, drawing mixed response. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Former Iraqi foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, sentenced to death

Former Iraqi foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, sentenced to death. Ex-‘child soldier’ pleads guilty at Guantanamo. UK police receive terror training. Transparency international ranks war-torn countries as 'most corrupt'. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

New reports allege extensive Iranian involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan wars

Further accusations of Tehran’s deep involvement in two ongoing wars. Tibetan student unrest over proposed language policy causes headaches for Beijing. Violence continues unabated in the streets of Karachi. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Insights from the Afghan field

Security policy in Afghanistan may be powered by sublimated imperial nostalgia, but most of the really valuable practical memories and lessons of empire have long since been forgotten. A review of three recent books on the Taliban

1325: an exciting moment

"If we’ve done as much with as little resources as women have, think what we could do with more. Women are the energy of the future… its up to women to show what women’s leadership in the UN can do." Charlotte Bunch

Rape in war: the time for 'never again' is now

On October 17th thousands of Congolese women, led by Olive Lembe Kabila marched to end impunity for sexual violence against women. Rape survivors joined the march, many of them from their hospital beds, defying a culture that shames victims rather than perpetrators

1325 and the violent world of small arms

Earlier this year the Philippines became the first country in Asia to launch a National Action Plan to implement SRC1325, and in a bold move, the control of small arms was made a key part of the strategy

UN business: women, guns and small arms control

"It is not about feminism, it is about business. Member states give us money to implement projects, and if I implement a project that only affects 50 percent of the population, that is bad business." Agnes Marcaillou, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.

Georgia at a crossroads: after the post-war

In Tbilisi, memories of the bitter conflict with Russia in August 2008 are fresh, but everywhere too are signs that forces of change are pushing Georgia in new directions. Jonathan Wheatley takes the measure of a fluid political moment.

Israeli-Palestinian peace will isolate Iran, suggests Peres

Israeli President calls for Israeli-Palestinian peace as a means to isolate Iran. As the US and Pakistan foreign ministers meet to agree a new arms package, it is reported that the US will severe military aid to Pakistan army units implicated in committing atrocities in the Swat valley. Six Pakistan troops are killed in a roadside blast on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. All this and more, in today’s security update…

China blocks UN report on the use of Chinese arms in Darfur

China attempts to block UN report on Chinese arms in Darfur. Ten killed in Mindanao bus bombing. Pre-election violence in Guinea rumbles on. Burma bans foreign observers from 7 November poll. All this and more in today's security update.

Britain's security: towards the dawn

The British government’s new defence strategy gestures towards the real security challenges of the 21st century while remaining locked overall in an outmoded vision. But the seeds of new thinking, beyond and even inside the state, will grow.

Russian attendance at Nato summit confirmed

Russia has accepted an invitation to Nato's forthcoming Lisbon meeting. Islamist rebels attack Chechen capital. Rifle fire hits Pentagon. New report casts doubt on North Korean nuclear technology containment strategies. All this and more in today's security briefing.

The Armenia-Turkey protocols: a year on

The process of dialogue between neighbours locked in an enduring dispute over the events of 1915 is already in trouble. But in assessing what has gone wrong, Vicken Cheterian sees history still on the move.

Tajikistan’s marginalised youth

Armed conflict has been raging for almost a month in the mountains of the Kamarob gorge between the forces of the Government of Tajikistan and local ‘mujohids’. This is the most serious political violence in Tajikistan for ten years. Here, in the second of a two-part article, Sophie Roche and John Heathershaw draw on ethnographic research and contacts with residents of the region to explain the nature of contemporary ‘Islamic radicalism’ in the area and the possible causes and dynamics of the current violence.

Conflict in Tajikistan – not really about radical Islam

For almost a month, an armed conflict has been raging in the mountains of the Kamarob gorge between the forces of the Government of Tajikistan and local ‘mujohids’. This is the most serious political violence in Tajikistan for ten years. Here, in the first of a two-part article, Sophie Roche and John Heathershaw draw on ethnographic research and contacts with residents of the region to explain the legacy of the civil war and the social and political contexts of this largely unreported conflict.

Bosnia’s politics of paralysis

Bosnia’s tenth election since the end of the war of 1992-95 highlights the damaging influence of a post-war settlement that institutionalises ethnic politics, says Peter Lippman.

Merkel and multi-culturalism seen from Notting Hill, London

We are all here to stay and we like it this way

Regional military force established to crack down on Lord’s Resistance Army

Military campaign against central African rebel group intensifies. Yemen goes on the offensive against al-Qaeda. New report claims the global hostage-taking industry surges. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

The middle east: the question of freedom

The much-recycled image of a region inhospitable to peace, human dignity and freedom has damaging effects in practice, say Foulath Hadid & Mishana Hosseinioun. 

Making women's opposition visible to NATO

NATO's continued 'mission creep' demands a degree of militarization that masculinizes and deforms everyday life. The forthcoming NATO Summit in Lisbon will launch a new Strategic Concept. Cynthia Cockburn says we need to be alert

Interfaith peacework: a glimmer of solidarity

Just as borders, once drawn, become subject to militant patrol, so are the lives and bodies of women once they are marked by religious tensions. The need to address the nexus between religion, gender and conflict is becoming vital to peacebuilding

Peacework: to love a stranger

If we, who have paid the highest price can talk to each other, then everyone should be able to

Religion, peace and gender

As the number of interfaith and faith-based peace initiatives grows, women peace activists from twenty one countries met in Nicosia to discuss how to use faith to build peace

Violent lessons

What’s holding young people back? The widening gap: violence, language difficulties and lack of resources in inner city London schools.

Meet G4S, Government’s untouchable friend

The death of an Angolan man on a deportation flight from the UK highlights the increasingly brutal and unaccountable manner in which the country's borders are policed.

Arab League may seek direct UN recognition of Palestinian state

Members of the Arab League may seek direct United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state as Netanyahu approved further settlement construction in East Jerusalem. The US expresses its concerns over UK defence cuts. Aid workers are kidnapped in Somalia. All this and more, in today’s security update…

Good substance, bad politics: the row over 1325

Why won’t the Security Council endorse the Secretary General’s strategy for enhancing women’s role in matters of peace and security? Is it because of the deep divisions within the UN system itself? Or is it because of the Russians? Lyric Thompson reports on the battle behind the scenes at the UN

Abyei referendum to be delayed, say northern officials

Vote in Abyei to be delayed, say northern officials, stoking fears of a return to conflict in Sudan. Greek police gas protesting public sector workers in Acropolis. Junta number two arrested in Niger amid rumours of a coup. Human rights groups refuse to appear before Sri Lanka war crimes commission. 23 Bahraini Shias charged with anti-state activities in run up to parliamentary elections. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Al-Qaida: condition and prospect

A series of developments across greater west Asia offers evidence of al-Qaida’s dispersed reality, continued energy and potential vulnerability.

Strains mount on US-Pakistani relationship after new allegations of ISI-Taliban links

The US accuses Pakistan of aiding Afghan militants - again; Are ancient weapons a testament to al-Qaida's weakness or its resourcefullness?; Tension rise in Bangkok amid fears of renewed Red Shirt protest; Chaos in Belgrade, as anti-gay protesters attack Gay Pride March. All this and more, in today's global security briefing....

Critical AfPak border crossing reopens to Nato convoys

Pakistan reopens critical border crossing to Nato convoys. Heir-apparent and new missiles appear at North Korean military parade. Kyrgyz voters avoid violence in parliamentary election. Budget woes constrain UN war crimes tribunals. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

The background to Osh: stories of conflict and coexistence

Reporting of the ethnic clashes that took place in the Kyrgyz city of Osh this summer has tended to spotlight the victimhood of either ethnic Kyrgyz or ethnic Uzbeks. This polarisation is but a reflection of competing historical narratives of Osh’s ethnic identity, writes Dr Nick Megoran.

SCR 1325: just words on a piece of paper

"SCR 1325 is a tool, and the utility of a tool depends on how it is perceived and how activists employ it. So we have this resolution. Great; so what? Tell me how we can get people fired up on the ground." Peace laureate Jody Williams talks to Lyric Thompson.

Chinese dissident wins nobel peace prize

The Nobel Peace prize is awarded to one of China’s foremost dissidents. Mohammad Abbas is set to seek Arab League backing for suspending dialogue with Israel over settlement construction. For the first time, a civilian peacekeeper has been abducted in the capital of Darfur. All this and more, in today’s security update…
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