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This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

A new order in “greater west Asia”: AfPak to Palestine

A decade of wars has produced a strategic shift very different from what Washington and its allies intended - less towards unipolar order than the complexities of multipolar disorder. This poses a challenge to policy-makers and analysts alike, says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam.

Losing more than Afghanistan

The war in Afghanistan could leave Nato powers excluded from the whole of central Asia, argues Ángel Gómez-de-Ágreda.

Kyrgyzstan’s referendum brings a flicker of hope

The new constitution which the Kyrgyz people voted in on 27 June 2010 seeks to break the presidential pattern of government. But the recent violent upheaval has left the government weak. America and Russia both need Kyrgyzstan to thrive as a country ruled neither by despotism nor fundamentalism. They will have to collaborate closely to bring this about

Son of the Bani Tanwir: the work of Fred Halliday (1946-2010)

The death in April 2010 of Fred Halliday, engaged political intellectual and scholar of international relations, provoked many tributes from among the worldwide fellowship of colleagues he had done so much to create and nurture. Now, in what is both a preliminary assessment and an incisive overview in its own right, the historian Stephen Howe critically surveys the extraordinary range of Fred Halliday’s writing across four decades.

Northern Ireland rioting deserving of more than condemnation

Riots continue in Northern Ireland. ICC issue second arrest warrant for Bashir. Afghan soldier kills comrades. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Midnight in Belgrade, dusk in Brussels

Europe’s symbolic effort to prevent Yugoslavia’s breakup in mid-1991 has a lesson for the continent today, says Goran Fejic, then an advisor of Yugoslavia’s foreign minister.

Bomb attack in Uganda kills 64 people

Somalian insurgents suspected of bombing Ugandan capital. Israel prepares for further attempts to break the Gaza blockade as Eiland report is released. North Korea maintains innocence as it meets with UN. US and Serbia join in calls for justice over Srebrenica massacre. Russia expresses concern over Iranian nuclear potential. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Head of UN Lebanon force calls for calm

The commander officer of UNIFIL in southern Lebanon has appealed for calm in resolving disputes between peace keeping troops and local residents. The US and Russia are exchanging convicted spies. Pakistan has been struck again by a multiple bomb attack and the new head of US Central Command has been quoted as saying ‘it’s a hell of a lot of fun’ shooting Taliban.

Saving Sakineh

This is a tragedy that belongs to modern powerplay and the current moment, and that calls for a much more thoughtful response from outside observers

Asymmetric war: Iran and the new normal

The ability of Iran’s military to learn from experience and become adept in irregular warfare echoes that of insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also presents the United States with hard choices.

New fears of xenophobia send migrants fleeing in South Africa

New rumours of xenophobic reprisals after the World Cup send foreign migrants fleeing in South Africa. A new Amnesty International report slams endemic sexual violence in Kenyan slums. A Sri Lankan government minister begins hunger strike to protest UN inquiry into war crimes. Fresh bombings kill more Shia pilgrims in Baghdad. Defeated candidates and supporters protest over ‘rigged’ presidential elections in Guinea. New Australian PM Gillard backtracks on Timor-Leste refugee processing centre. All this and more in today’s briefing...

Israel praised after Obama-Netanyahu meeting

Obama and Netanyahu meet, emphasizing ‘unbreakable bond’. British troops to pull out of Sangin. US soldier charged with leaking Iraq war video. UK announces torture inquiry. Indian army deployed in Kashmir as violence soars. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

America's Afghan dilemma: Goliath as David

Barack Obama’s appointment of David H Petraeus to lead the war against the Taliban highlights enduring tensions in the United States over the role of the military in its political life, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Somalia "in the hands of al-Qaeda"

Fear of contagion leads to calls for increased deployment in Somalia. Turkey threatens to sever diplomatic ties with Israel. Bosnian ex-president in London court on extradition charges. Lebanese Shia leader dies. China deploys security forces ahead of Urumqi riots anniversary. All this and more in today's security briefing.

The Uyghur voice: 2009-10, and beyond

The violent protests of July 2009 in Urumchi revealed deep-rooted problems in Beijing’s policy towards the Uyghur people of Xinjiang region in China’s far west. The path to resolution can only be unblocked by acknowledging the Uyghurs’ right to speak, says Henryk Szadziewski.

Iran: remind me now, which are the terrorists?

From an Iranian perspective it is hard to understand what the word ‘terrorist’ means in the American political lexicon. The meaning keeps changing

Afghanistan: one conflict, three faces

The Afghan war is at a critical stage. A longer-term view of its three dimensions - regional, ethnic, and religious - offers some vital lessons to policy-makers, says Valey Arya.

Kyrgyzstan’s flawed referendum

The political atmosphere that surrounded the constitutional referendum in Kyrgyzstan shows that the country’s crisis is not over, says Sureyya Yigit in Bishkek

Israel foreign minister ‘furious’ over being sidelined

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is reportedly furious after being excluded from secret talks between Israel and Turkey. A massive suicide attack in Lahore leave dozens dead and scores wounded. The Taliban attack a US development contractor to welcome the new commander of US and ISAF troops. A Yemeni intelligence officer is assassinated outside his home. All this and more, in today’s security update…

Struggling with Gaza power

As darkness descends on more and more parts of Gaza, and temperatures soar, another kind of darkness is creating havoc with people’s equilibrium

Afghanistan: an impossible choice

The replacement of one United States general by another to lead the war against the Taliban leaves untouched the essentials of a failing campaign.

Privatising Africa's everyday security

Industrial action by guards at the World Cup highlights the growing prevalence of private firms in the provision of security across Africa

Congress blocks Afghan aid as Petraeus steps up

Congress blocks Afghan aid as Petraeus steps up. Recent elections in Burundi are slammed by opposition politicians as unfree and unfair. Both Russia and the US scramble to play down spy arrests in a bid to maintain good relations. 17 combatants left dead in clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish rebels. All this and more in today’s briefing...

UK government to announce torture complicity inquiry

UK government to announce torture complicity inquiry. Taliban attack NATO base in Jalalabad. Nepalese prime minister resigns. ACLU mounts legal challenge against US govenment over no-fly list. Blast in Chechen capital. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Torture investigation must be full and open and include the role of Ministers

The government is set to announce an investigation into one of the murkiest chapters in recent British history: complicity in the use of torture in the "war on terror". This must be as full and open as possible if all the lessons are to be learned.

Remembering Visegrad

Hikmet Karcic describes scenes in Visegrad on the 18th anniversary of the Bikavac massacre.

The US-Pakistan relationship: towards real accountability

In the wake of the foiled bombing of Times Square and attacks on Pakistan's minorities, Pakistan cannot be given a blank cheque in its fight against extremism.

Politician's assassination raises doubts over Mexico drug policy

Mexican politician assassinated after highlighting cartel violence. Israeli air raid on Gaza kills Palestinian. Ten dead after clashes in Kashmir. Iraq inquiry reopens after election recess. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Israel: the writing on the wall

Successive Israeli cabinets have worked to enforce on the ground in Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories a situation that they could present as irreversible. Have they now reached the point where the biblical book of Daniel’s prophecy is once again relevant?

Kyrgyzstan: components of crisis

The explosion of violence in southern Kyrgyzstan is the result of social pressures, economic hardship and political malpractice. The interim government’s constitutional referendum can do little to address these problems, says David Gullette.

A platform for humanity - The UK's Bath experiment

Positive peace is more than the absence of war. Groups campaigning to advance the causes that are vital to building it would find greater synergy if they recognised their interdependence. A local experiment confirms this.

Tunnels of Opportunity

Our correspondent in the Gaza Strip visits a car workshop that has just got going again

Kyrgyzstan: referendum in a time of upheaval

Judith Beyer observes the run-up to Kyrgyzstan’s constitutional referendum from the vantage point of the countryside, away from the centres of violence. A Kyrgyz majority will ensure that Otunbaeva gets the result she wants, Beyer predicts. But this bodes badly for the future

The Palestinian vuvuzela

Palestinians’ vicarious yet passionate identification with the national teams in South Africa’s football world cup reflects both local concerns and global longings, finds Khaled Hroub in Ramallah.

Afghanistan: the fatal error

The revolving-door experience of United States military commanders in Afghanistan is but symptom of a flawed strategy with its roots in the response to 9/11.
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