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This week’s front page editor

Claire Provost

Claire Provost is editor of 50.50 covering gender, sexuality and social justice.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Deals with the devil

Talk of a pact with criminals is beyond the pale in Mexico’s presidential election campaign. But the tentative success of a deal with gang leaders in one of Central America’s most violent countries suggests the time may have come to explore a new style of negotiations aimed at reducing appalling levels of violence.

America's new wars, and militarised diplomacy

The experience of Afghanistan and Iraq compels Washington to rethink its model of 21st-century warfare. Its evolving focus, already visible in the widespread use of drones and special forces, also has profound political implications.

Fears and threats in the realm of fantasy

Cold War weapons remain an important political tool in the 21st century, if only because it’s easier to deal with imaginary problems than real ones. Fydor Lukyanov wonders whether the world’s political elite will ever get around to tackling more actual and pressing concerns. 

The international moral crisis faced by the Syrian revolution

When it comes to their interest in power, politicians’ actions and those of ruling bodies do not differ: without exception they make the moves that increase or sustain their political and economic hegemony.

Jordan is simmering

The dismantling of four governments (including one which held much hope for political reform under Awn Khasawneh) has left Jordanians seething. They now view their goodwill as having been used to prolong the status quo rather than initiate political reform.

Masters of manipulation: how the Kenyan government is paving the way for non-cooperation with the ICC

A policy of non-cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) will leave the victims of 2007/8 post-election violence without a legal remedy, and may prompt new violence in upcoming elections. It will also present a devastating blow to international justice if left unopposed.

Syria beyond conflict: the economic test

The bitter divisions in Syria both reflect and intensify the grave, long-term economic challenges that must be met if the country is to have a viable future, says Jihad Yazigi

Lines in shifting sands: Russia’s response to the Syrian uprising

Russian policy in the Middle East has been largely driven by pragmatic calculations of trade and geopolitical influence, in direct opposition to notions of liberal interventionalism and the ‘Arab Spring’. This week’s shocking massacre by Syrian forces in Houla, however, has fundamentally challenged the durability of that approach. Will Russia now fall in line with the position of its western partners? wonders Margot Light.

Doha: a city of contrasts

Doha may not have experienced the Arab Awakening, but the Arab Awakening has experienced Doha. The international political life of this city is in overdrive.

Bahrain: split over proposed GCC union, and chronic failure of Sunni groups to mobilize

Bahrainis of all political affiliations waited in tense anticipation as rumours of a Saudi – Bahraini union circulated days before the Gulf leaders convened in Riyadh for the Gulf Cooperation Council summit on May 14th, 2012. The summit fell short of expectations however.

New Silk Road: stabilizing Afghanistan post-2014

As Afghanistan looks to a future beyond international intervention, regional support will become ever more important.

Ten lessons from Egypt’s elections

In the midst of a revolutionary winter, one writer sees rays of sunshine. The lack of a clear winner in the presidential election bears one overriding message: Egypt is changing. 

Averting a new NATO-Russian arms race

Angered by the decision to push NATO eastwards and the prospect of other post-Soviet states soon joining the alliance, Russia has become engaged in a game of high-risk brinkmanship with the US. A swift ‘resetting of the reset' is needed if dangerous rivalries are to be prevented from spiralling out of control, says Hall Gardner.

The death of the indignados movement

The indignados movement is dead and Spain is back to the traditional political management of demands and interests. The language of protest needs another restructuring.

This week's window on the Middle East - May 28, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: Egypt's presidential election and the conclusion that a leaderless revolution could topple a dictator but, when it comes to the ballot boxes, should not remain leaderless.

Egypt presidential election: wrap-up of the revolution?

The run-off between Morsi and Shafiq points to one undeniable conclusion: a leaderless revolution could topple a dictator but, when it comes to the ballot boxes, it cannot remain leaderless.

Communal violence and justice in India

Ten years on from the Gujurat riots, the survivors still do not have justice and the bureaucracies that made them possible remain unchanged. This is not a one-off but a trend, which it will take hard questions and an insistence on answers to reverse.

Palestinian satyagraha would dampen extremism

As the history of the conflict shows, one of the main problems for the Israeli authorities in these kinds of political confrontations, is the risk involved in allowing the Palestinians a taste of unarmed resistance that works.

The Arab Spring and the coming crisis of faith

One Gallup poll has declared Egypt the most religious country in the world. But there are good reasons why Egypt may be joining the US, Canada, and Europe in the rapid rise of its non-believers.

Three notes on Fukushima: humanities after/in crisis

In an extended (5,000-word) overview drawing on cultural and philosophical studies, the author urges us to reflect on how Fukushima may change our view of the world from one of assured progress and prosperity for some, to that of vulnerability to catastrophe for all. 

Colombians need to debate the conflict, but not as a condition of Langlois' freedom

On April 28 French journalist Romeo Langlois was captured by the FARC. The leftist guerrillas demanded a debate on freedom of information as a condition of his release. Instead, this case raises the need for a debate on this never-ending conflict, and on the role of national and international media in covering invisible conflicts.

Arab Spring south of the Sahara?

Why has the Arab Spring so far failed to spread south of the Sahara – and should some African leaders be looking over their shoulders?

Pan Am 103: Libya and a case unclosed

The death of the Libyan official convicted over the Lockerbie bombing in December 1988 will not end the question of responsibility for the atrocity.

28 years after… while Roma wait

Twenty eight years exactly since the first resolution on Roma was passed by the European Parliament, the EU is finally publishing its Framework Strategy on Roma. But is there any progress to report?

The politics of suicide: Greece and Europe poised between two elections

New Democracy needs strategies that cut to the bone: it has to foster fright at a surging far left, it has to force home the message that SYRIZA's positions are contradictory. The rhetoric of suicide fits this bill consummately. But it is also double edged. This is suicide season and where will it lead?

Security in Nigeria depends on human welfare, not state-centric bureaucratisation

The creation of a Ministry for Homeland Security further entrenches a militarized vision of security centred on the state. This is an internal version of 'peacekeeping', not the 'peacebuilding' the country needs.

Kashgar's old city: the endgame

China's plan to transform the heart of Uyghur culture, learning and urban settlement - Kashgar old city - is well underway. The fact that the Uyghurs themselves have no voice in this process gives the experience a wider significance, says Henryk Szadziewski.

NATO’s Middle East policy reform: learning from EU failures

In response to Josiah Surface, Andrea Teti argues that NATO must think innovatively about the assumptions underpinning past policy. The EU’s past experiences in dealing with MENA countries point to a number of mistakes NATO should avoid reproducing.

From the inside out: reconciliation is more than possible

Amidst the deep hurt of civil war, many think it impossible to speak with, let alone work with, people from across divisions of conflict. A diverse group of young British Sri Lankans have directly experienced this. Here they examine reconciliation as not only a possibility, but a present undertaking.

See the debate: Is reconciliation possible in Sri Lanka?

Israel's new government: a blank peace page

The surprise formation of a new governing coalition is bad news for Israeli-Palestinian peace - unless another unlikely scenario takes hold, says Yossi Alpher.

This week's window on the Middle East - May 21, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: the outburst of violence in Tripoli, Lebanon and its socio-economic roots.

Lebanon: the trouble with Tripoli

A more important root to the current violence is the poverty blighting these communities. It is no secret that Tripoli is neglected in terms of investment, education, public services and employment.

Libya: the revolution was the easy part

For these young Libyans, to register and participate in the elections means acknowledging that their voices are no more important than anyone else’s.

Return to Dubai

What never ceases to amaze me is Dubai’s resilience. Back in 2009, building projects had visibly ground to a halt. People were leaving. Debts were mounting.

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