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This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The voice of Hamas

After escaping an assassination attempt in 1997 and being banned from Jordan in 1999, Khaled Mashal, Hamas leader, made his home in Damascus, where Manuela Paraipan interviewed him last week on Hamas’ approach to the current peace negotiations, his view of Hamas’ strengths, its ongoing commitment to resistance, and the importance of principle in politics.

Some women in Gaza

There are many different social codes governing what women can and can’t do in Gaza, where new fact finding missions are beginning to take an interest in their lives

The lightness of history in the Caucasus

The Caucasus is often depicted as a region of peoples locked in enduring and invariant nationalist enmity. The reality is more complex and therefore more hopeful, says Thomas de Waal.

Iraq, war and WikiLeaks: the real story

The tranche of American military documents released by the WikiLeaks project contains a wealth of detail about the coalition's indifference to civilian life. But the materials also tell a deeper story of “how” war has killed in Iraq, says Martin Shaw.

UK terrorism strategy fails to take comprehensive approach to threat from Yemen and Somalia

UK terrorism strategy fails to take comprehensive approach to threat from Yemen and Somalia. Spike in Haiti cholera cases. New constitution approved by electorate in Niger heralds return to civilian rule. Kenya denies entry to Somali refugees. All this and more in today’s security briefing...

Letter bombing campaign uncovered in Greece

Multiple bombs destined for top-level targets discovered in Greece. Iran chides Russia over decision not to honour arms deal. Months after Kyrgyzstan violence, tensions and resentment still running high. All this and more in today's security briefing.

No more 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man'

As a political instrument of power projection and status, nuclear weapons carry a peculiarly masculine symbolism. In the 1980s, Greenham women were at the forefront of challenging masculine ideologies of defence and security. We need to seize the initiative and again become the agents of security transformation.

India and Pakistan: what’s the difference?

If India and Pakistan were cut from the same geographic and ethnic cloth, with the same parliamentary-style system, why is India held to be a vibrant democracy today and Pakistan a political basket case?

Yemen: canary in the coal mine

Yemen is a sign of what can go wrong when a country fails to develop political legitimacy and build a sustainable, productive non-oil economy. What kind of augury is this contested transition for the Gulf states and for the world?

Bombing in Istanbul injures dozens on day that PKK ceasefire expires

Bombing in Istanbul main square injures dozens and rattles nerves. Nato to reduce its Kosovo force by half. Iraqi hostage situation ends in bloody tragedy with at least 52 killed. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Control Orders - what's Britain's problem with the evidence? Is there a US connection

UK anti-terror laws can place people under draconian control orders that are more intrusive than house arrest without any charges made that the accused may learn of. Is the American alliance one of the reasons?

A strategy for North Caucasus: don’t mention politics or religion!

The recently published Russian government strategy paper for the North Caucasus chooses to focus solely on the socio-economic development of the region. The refusal to address key political or religious issues undermines the whole rationale for the document, laments Sergei Markedonov

Ten degrees north: Sudan's melting pot

Encounters with Sudanese in Abyei underline the urgent need for referendum preparation and the scope of tensions on the ground, given the failure of political processes so far

Civil society diplomats at the UN

" We’re not interested in making war safe for women… There are many substitutes for oil, but I can't think of a single substitute for a peace woman." Cora Weiss

Hizbollah chief urges Lebanese to boycott Hariri investigation

Hassan Nasrallah calls for a boycott of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. A diplomatic row between China and Japan over disputed island territories flares up at an Asean summit. Iran has agreed to renew negotiations over its nuclear programme. Gunfire breaks out along the border between North and South Korea. All this and more, in today’s security update…

The harvest of war: from pain to gain

A number of initiatives around the world, for example in Bosnia and Guatemala, seeks to record the details of every victim of violent conflict. The new revelations of civilian deaths in Iraq could advance a project whose wider ambition is to change warfare itself.

The “Islam” drumbeat: an Orwellian story

A reductive and tendentious portrayal of Islam and its followers is spreading across Europe and America. It is all too reminiscent of the chilling world imagined by George Orwell, says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam

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
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