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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Founder, Director and Editor of democraciaAbierta

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The possibilities and impossibilities of being a neighbour

German-born Daniel Zylbersztajn has recently returned to Poland, two months after his father's passing away. In the son, this has prompted thoughts on neighbourly relations and the meaning of transformative dialogue in general, taking account of his experiences in Jewish - Palestinian dialogue and his upbringing in Germany.

Sudan’s hidden victims: an international test

A neglected humanitarian disaster is unfolding in the Sudanese border region of Southern Kordofan. The tens of thousands bombed, displaced, blockaded and starved need the world’s attention, says Gerry Simpson.

A Greek referendum WAS an excellent idea

There was for a moment a breath of democracy in the crisis of the European currency and an attempt at honesty. But the Greek referendum was not to be. This was heavy duty blackmail says openDemocracy founding editor. Takis Pappas could not disagree more.

Illegal diamond mining in Zimbabwe

Despite spirited efforts by the government to convince the international community that illegal mining and diamond underhand dealings in Marange (Chiadzwa) were under control, events on the ground suggest otherwise.

Libya: premature hopes for democracy

Libyans must unite around the best option for the future of their country and strive to restore links between Libya and the international community.

Is Afghanistan, ‘Iraq, the sequel’?

The artificial bifurcation between peace and reintegration in Afghanistan serves Washington DC's political interests, but is very confusing to the Afghans and is not a coherent, actionable policy. And what happened to reconciliation?

Stop the extradition of UK citizen Babar Ahmad: one week left on e-petition

An anti-extradition petition for a British citizen calls on the government to protect the fundamental rights of UK citizens.

The ultimate sacrifice

A string of self-immolations in China has alarmed the authorities. Chris Wilkins looks at the motivations and effects of this extreme form of protest.

Closed courts and secret evidence: Britain’s own Guantanamo Bay

The government is attempting to further shield itself from those seeking to obtain secret intelligence. Proposals contained in a new consultation green paper threaten to compromise the British system of open justice and the right to a fair trial.

India, Pakistan strike friendly tones, but Afghan endgame likely to affect relations

Recent improvements in ties between India and Pakistan might be jeopardized as both compete for influence in post-2014 Afghanistan. Nepal's political parties conclude a deal over reintegration of former rebels. Britain allows armed guards on vessels to fight pirate attacks, and the United States and South Korea strengthen ties to meet future challenges from the North. All this in today's security briefing...

A call for the rally, ‘Plebiscite Now! Let the Majority Decide’

This is the latest communiqué from the Occupy movements to add to our collection. Democracia para Chile is preparing for a rally in early November.

Erdogan’s Turkey: strategic partner or liability for regional peace?

Turkey had been everyone’s friend as long as its foreign policy was driven by business and economic interest. Over the last couple of years, however, its ‘zero problems’ strategy has become more rhetoric than reality.

Iran, the Arab revolts, and Syria

The Iranian leadership and official media portray the Arab spring as a “great Islamic awakening” targeted at the west and Israel. The turmoil in Syria explodes this narrative, says Sadegh Zibakalam.

The fate of the 9/11 planners and the failure of justice

Guilty verdicts from a military commission in Cuba will do little to correct the impression that America failed to use its most powerful weapon – full and open justice in front of the people – in the fight against terrorism.

Trading lives: Gilad Shalit – Israeli perspectives

Though critics consider the trade a tactical weakness, Israelis on the front lines want to know that the government will work for their safe return in the event of their capture.

AKP, terrorists and earthquakes: Turkey’s never-ending Kurdish question

AKP’s success has been based on its domination of the Turkish centre ground, and if that centre ground is against making concessions to the Kurds, it will be hard for the party to move any further than it has, even if it wants to.

Unmasking the myths of anti-multiculturalism

If society depicts immigration and immigrants as worthless and useless for the economy, these enemy images will lead to a hostile attitude towards all newcomers. The breach between locals and immigrants will become deeper and this soon undermines the social cohesion of any society.

The American way of bombing?

‘Signature targets’ are ghostly traces of the ‘target signatures’ that once animated the electronic battlefield. Commentators have often drawn comparisons between the wars in Vietnam and in Afghanistan, but if Vietnam was a ‘quagmire’ then the air wars over Afghanistan-Pakistan threaten to create a vortex. See the Closing Session of the Shock and Awe conference.

In the backyard of Russia’s oil paradise

Pavlovo village was once a quiet backwater in the forest-steppe of Perm Region. In 1997, however, ecological disaster struck, with oil and chemicals entering the local river and food chain. The culprits of the catastrophe were both rich and obvious, but justice was a long while in coming, writes Roman Yushkov

Libya has opened the way to diplomatic sanctions against Syria

One of the first actions of the Libyan Transitional National Council has posed a challenge for European countries.

Ukraine-Poland: history wars rage on

A controversial new book by a Ukrainian historian attempts to reclassify cruel Polish-Ukrainian conflicts of the 1940s as part of WWII, rather than local issues. He has encountered considerable opposition on both sides, writes Roman Kabachiy

Solidarity letter from Cairo

A letter of solidarity to those in the United States currently participating in the 'occupy' protests. Citing a common struggle, the letter calls for continued occupations from a global youth that have grown weary with the 'current order of things.'

Nairobi hit by grenade attacks as Somalis turn against Kenyan incursion

Nairobi hit by grenade attacks as Somalis turn against Kenyan incursion. At least 279 killed in Turkey quake. Bloody weekend in Colombia just 10 days before elections. Indonesian police officer shot dead in Papua. All this in today’s briefing...

Pakistan US relations: the straw that broke the camel’s back?

It behoves both the United States and Pakistan to reappraise the situation, take stock and course correct. World peace, or at the least regional peace, may depend on it.

Kenya and Somalia: landscape of tension

"Kenya doesn’t know war. We know war." A fractious mix of violence and politics is unsettling the relationship between east African neighbours and putting more pressure on Somalis living in Kenya. The Somali militia group known as al-Shabaab is often viewed as the source of the problem. But the roots of the turmoil go deep in Kenya's own history, says Daniel Branch.

Abkhazia's archive: fire of war, ashes of history

The documented history of the cosmopolitan Black Sea territory of Abkhazia was destroyed in war on 22 October 1992. Its Greek archivist Nikolai Ioannidi devoted the rest of his life to restoring and conserving what remains, reports Thomas de Waal.

(This article was first published on 20 October 2006)

N Korea food crisis set to continue

N Korea food crisis set to continue. Turkey and Iran to collaborate against Kurdish rebels. Southeast Asia flooding kills hundreds, displaces thousands. Obama announces US troop withdrawals from Iraq. All this in today’s security briefing...

Escapades at sea: sovereignty, legality and machismo in the Eastern Mediterranean

The latest episode of the Cyprus conflict - a dispute over the exercise of sovereignty at sea and the delimitation of sea zones between Turkey and Cyprus - highlights the role of political machismo in the practice of sovereignty, disregarding international law and further undermining prospects for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Revolutionary change in the Arab world: what prospects for Palestinians?

It may be that the era of Palestinian nationalism as it was born, post-1948, is coming to an end. Instead we may be heading in a new direction of unity and common identity across boundaries; 1948, 1967, Diaspora - a form of unity of ‘condition’.

A war on Iran: the delusive logic

The arguments for and against an armed attack on Iran by the United States - or Israel - are sharpening. The increasing tension that surrounds the issue could itself precipitate a conflict that would be far lengthier than its advocates believe.

Can Intervention Work? by Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus: book review

It is possible to walk the tightrope between the horrors of over-intervention and non-intervention. Mary Kaldor agrees, while insisting on distinguishing between genuine humanitarian interventions and the War on Terror.

Vietnam, Myanmar foster ties with India, illustrating the art of balancing relations with great powers

The presidents of Vietnam and Myanmar visit New Delhi to strengthen cooperation with India. Kenya launches military operations against al-Shabab in Somalia following the kidnapping of aid workers. The US sends advisors to help fight the Lord's Resistance Army, and a recent poll reveals the Afghan population's perception of the situation in its country. All this in today's security briefing.

Egypt’s souring transition

For the junta, the transition is not and maybe should never be a complete rupture with the old system, inevitably at their expense and a threat to their entrenched economic and social privileges.

Democracy in revolution: the Mediterranean moment

By showing us the possibility of democracy in revolution, they have ignited a revolution in democracy, one that is redefining the meaning of both terms.

Relocation failures in Sri Lanka

The tragic consequence of internal displacement in Sri Lanka and the failure of the government to address the situation will most likely be renewed instability.
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