This week's editor

James Ron

James Ron hosts this week's openGlobalRights theme: public opinion and human rights.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Iraq: a constitution to nowhere

The Iraqi constitution may lead to the country’s disintegration, says Zaid Al-Ali. How did Iraqis reach this point?

America, Iraq, and al-Qaida: no success like failure

Are the thwarted al-Qaida attacks proclaimed by George W Bush evidence of success or failure in the “war on terror”?

No going home to Kosovo

Serbians displaced from Kosovo after the 1999 war, like the disputed territory itself, are in limbo. John Dyer reports from Krusevac, southern Serbia.

The left and al-Qaida: two cheers for Sasha Abramsky

Leftists like Tariq Ali, Robert Fisk, John Pilger, and Arundhati Roy are not misguided progressives but on the other side of freedom, says Eli Lake.

Pakistan's mountain tsunami

“As usual, God is being unjustly blamed for tragedies that are the consequence in large part of human failure.” Maruf Khwaja weighs the balance of cosmic justice and earthly negligence revealed by the Kashmir earthquake.

Even before the devastated coasts and archipelagos of the eastern Indian Ocean had revealed their dead after the tsunami of 26 December 2004, obscurantist mullahs in Pakistan were explaining away to the faithful the largest seaborne disaster in recorded history as “Allah’s punishment” of those who had turned His land into the “playgroun

Iraq's insurgency calculations

United States forces cannot win in Iraq, but neither can they retreat in disarray. So what next?

Whose al-Qaida problem?

Much of the left’s opposition to the Iraq war and the Bush administration’s anti-terror campaigns – voiced by figures like Tariq Ali, Robert Fisk, George Galloway, Naomi Klein, and John Pilger – has blinded it to the need to engage with real problems and threats, says Sasha Abramsky.

Remaking multiculturalism after 7/7

Britain’s multicultural model is held responsible for the London bombs of July 2005. Rather, says Tariq Modood, it needs to be extended to a “politics of equal respect” that includes Britain’s Muslims in a new, shared sense of national belonging.

The Pentagon's overstretch

A rebuff from the United States’s Nato partners over counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan reveals the military and political pressures facing the Pentagon.

The morality of a cultural boycott of Israel

Israel’s breaches of human rights and international law give moral force to the argument for an international boycott, says Palestinian writer Omar Barghouti.

Planning for failure in Iraq

Iraqi realities belie Washington’s picture of military progress and bring closer the prospect of civil war and division of the country.

Who labels who? A reply to Ehsan Masood

The differences among British Muslims should not be aligned with the events of 7 July in London. Both the BBC’s John Ware and Ehsan Masood in openDemocracy have got the community wrong, says Abdullah al-Kateb.

9/11, four years after

openDemocracy’s editor Isabel Hilton introduces a selection of the reflections and analyses we have published about the “two hours that shook the world”.

Iraq's burning month

A Katyusha rocket attack on United States warships in Aqaba, Jordan, is a telling indicator of the evolving al-Qaida menace.

Mourning in America

The United States government is not merely incompetent but criminally negligent in its response to Hurricane Katrina, argues Thomas R Asher.

Boycotting Israel: a reply to Linda Grant

Those opposing a cultural and academic boycott of Israel should examine the South African precedent, says Jacqueline Rose.

The SWISH Report (4)


May we first thank you for giving us this opportunity to produce this report. We were surprised and pleased when the International Security Policy Group at 10 Downing Street contracted us to produce a report for them four months ago, as we thought this was an innovative attempt to obtain a wider view of the progress of what you still call your "global war on terror".

As you will recall, our previous consultancies in this field were for a somewhat different group, the Strategic Planning Cell of al-Qaida, and we are pleased that you and your British colleagues have recognised that, as consultants, we will work with anyone.

British Muslims must stop the war

A low-level war of ideas has exploded into an open conflict among British Muslims. The government, the media, and even openDemocracy have been caught in the crossfire, says Ehsan Masood.

How to make Israel secure

After Israel’s Gaza withdrawal, Israeli public opinion bears prime responsibility for further political progress, says Hazem Saghieh.

The Britishness of Brits (by a German)

Matthias Matussek, London correspondent of “Der Spiegel” (and brother to the German ambassador to Britain), bids farewell to a nation he loves to chastise and a city he adores.

Fragments of the 'war on terror'

In his 200th global security column, Paul Rogers highlights five seminal events in the first four years of a long war.

Europe's answer to Londonistan

The London bombs expose the failure of Britain’s multicultural model, but also pose a challenge to Europe’s sense of identity, says Gilles Kepel.

Boycotting Israel: a reply to Jacqueline Rose

A boycott of Israeli writers is repressive, regressive and unworkable cultural policing, says Linda Grant.

Iraq's constitution on the edge

The deadline for agreement on the Iraqi constitution is slipping. Sami Zubaida examines the issues that may prevent a workable agreement.

Spectral brothers: al-Qaida's world wide web

The global jihad retailed by al-Qaida has obscured the old-fashioned Islamic fundamentalism which dominated Muslim politics during the cold war, adopting from it categories such as ideology and revolution in the quest for an Islamic state. With the end of the cold war and the emergence of global networks in which goods, ideas and people circulate outside the language of citizenship, the fundamentalist fight for ideological states has lost influence.

America's Iranian predicament

George W Bush has opened the door to an attack on Iran. The prospects are uncomfortable, the outcome uncertain, the risks enormous.

Nation as trauma, Zionism as question: Jacqueline Rose interviewed

In “The Question of Zion”, Jacqueline Rose applies the insights of psychoanalysis to the inner world of Zionist doctrine and attitudes. openDemocracy’s Rosemary Bechler talks to her.

openDemocracy: The Question of Zion is dedicated to the memory of Edward Said: its title a tribute to his 1979 work, The Question of Palestine. In what sense is this study a continuation of Edward Said’s project?

Broken links in Iraq

How can western citizens aid people in shattered post-war Iraq? In her first monthly openDemocracy column, Maura Stephens tells a story of fragile solidarity.

Iraq: a constitution or an epitaph?

Iraqi politicians have a new deadline of 22 August to reach agreement on a new constitution. Zaid Al-Ali asks if extra time can resolve fundamental differences of political principle over federalism, women, and religion.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir's distinction

Hizb-ut-Tahrir welcomes careful, objective scrutiny of its ideas, says Abdul Wahid, but much of the criticism it receives is inaccurate and outdated.

The state Muslims are in

Britain’s Muslims must reclaim their faith’s true character from those who would use it for extreme political ends, says Aftab Malik.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir: the snarl behind the smile

The core fact about Hizb-ut-Tahrir is that it is a party of theocrats not democrats, says David T of Harry’s Place.

A jewel for al-Qaida's crown

Iraq’s insurgency is becoming more sophisticated and effective. A new analysis reveals how it operates.

The Hizb-ut-Tahrir equation

The militant Islamist party Hizb-ut-Tahrir is to be made illegal in Britain. To avoid this fate it will have to make a cruel choice, says Ehsan Masood.

Torture: an idea for our time

The renewed attempt to normalise and justify torture is ethically wrong and practically dangerous, says the leading human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. He draws on his experience with Guantánamo prisoners to advocate a better way.
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