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This week's editors

RB, editor

Rosemary Bechler edits openDemocracy's main site.

Parvati Nair directs the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility.


Cameron Thibos edits Mediterranean Journeys in Hope.

En Liang Khong is assistant editor at openDemocracy.

Alex Sakalis is the editor of Can Europe Make It?

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The Black Widows of Dagestan: Media Hype and Genuine Harm

On April 9 2010, after explosions in the Moscow metro killed 39 people, rumours were circulated of 1,000 ‘black widows’ who had been recruited by the militants. When the press published the names of 22, Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch found that she knew some of these dangerous women : a seamstress whose real crime was being a human rights worker, a pious young mother whose husband had been tortured in the ‘6th Department’...

Kyrgyzstan: the absence of mercy

The humanitarian crisis in southern Kyrgyzstan fits all the requirements for international intervention. So why is it not happening, ask Natalia Leshchenko & David Hayes.

Bloody Sunday - The Saville verdict on Britain's masacre of the innocents in Northern Ireland

After years of taking years of evidence and an expenditure of nearly £200 million, a British Inquiry has dispassionately concluded that the army paratroopers shot 14 innocent people in 1971 without justification, an event that convinced many Northern Ireland Catholics that war had been declared upon them and they had to take up the armed struggle in self-defense.

Kyrgyzstan failing, and an arc of crisis

The violent descent of parts of Kyrgyzstan into communal conflict since the overthrow of its president in April 2010 leaves a security vacuum whose dangerous effects could be felt across central Asia, says Vicken Cheterian. 

Will London's East End witness a return to confrontation?

With the collapse of both the British National Party and George Galloway's left-wing Respect movement at recent elections, east London has been looking forward to a break from radical politics. A threatened march by Islamophobic hooligans has shattered the calm.

Why are Kyrgyzstan’s slum dwellers so angry?

If you want to understand what has motivated the uprising of Kyrgyzstan’s poor, you need look no further than the package of neo-liberal economic reforms imposed on the country by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organisation, comments Balihar Sanghera

NPT: challenging the nuclear powers' fiefdom

The NPT Review provided a bridge between the partial non-proliferation approach of the NPT and the comprehensive abolition objectives of a nuclear weapons convention. It will no longer be possible for governments to dismiss calls for a comprehensive nuclear abolition treaty

Violence escalates in southern Kyrgyzstan

Violence escalates in southernKyrgyzstan, killing 114. Israel launches flotilla inquiry. 15 killed, 45 wounded in Baghdad blast. Colombian military officials rescued after 12 years. All this and more, in today's security update.

Israel vs Iran: the risk of war

Iran is at the centre of a global storm: targeted by new sanctions, suspected by Washington, defended by Brazil and Turkey. But the complex diplomacy around its nuclear programme could be ended by decisions made not in the United States but in Israel.

US ‘disappointed’ with Turkey on Iran sanctions

The US Secretary of Defence voices disappointment over Turkey. A terrorist strike hits Kandahar. Scores are dead in Kyrgyzstan clashes. A bomb attack hits an Algerian police barracks. All this and more, in today’s security briefing…

Israeli post-democracy: origins and prospects

Many voices warn that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories is corroding the country’s democracy. Now, a worrying onslaught by Israel’s right-wing government on domestic dissenters raises further concerns. But the two issues are distinct as well as linked, say Keith Kahn-Harris & Joel Schalit: for the challenges to Israel’s democracy also have deep internal roots that must be identified if they are to be overcome.

Nepal: Maoists' lock, India's door

Nepal’s path from civil war to a new constitutional and democratic order is proving hard. An influential Maoist movement and a powerful India are at the heart of the country’s stalemated political transition, says Manjushree Thapa.

UN Security Council imposes new sanctions on Iran

UNSC imposes fourth round of sanctions on Iran. Obama meets Abbas and pledges aid. NATO helicopter shot down by Afghan Taliban. Dutch vote at national elections. NATO supply convoy hit in Pakistan. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Connecting the dots: Iran's nuclear ambitions, human rights and intelligent sanctions

The sanctions being imposed by the UN need to be reworked to inspire the confidence of Iran's suppressed people.

Ex-hacker exposes suspected "Collateral Murder" wiki-leaker

Ex-hacker exposes suspected wiki-leaker. Iran announces plans for aid convoy to Gaza. Somalis flee clashes in central provinces. US considers sanctions in response to Cheonan crisis. All this and more in today's security briefing

Colombia: the “green wave” that wasn’t

The first round of the contest to succeed Álvaro Uribe as Colombia’s president produced one big surprise and five lessons, says Adam Isacson.

Israel: the third strategic threat

Israel's assault on an aid flotilla heading to Gaza is a decisive episode in the country's challenge to international humanitarian law and its advocates. But it may have unexpected results, say Thomas Keenan & Eyal Weizman

Sri Lanka's war: time for accountability

The end of Sri Lanka’s post-war electoral cycle makes it even more important for the world to stand for justice over the country’s human-rights abuses, says Meenakshi Ganguly.

This article was first published on 28 April 2010

Book Review: Voices from the Grave - Two Men's War in Ireland

How do you document the history of a conflict in which illegal organisations are among the central players? Voices from the Grave, by the veteran Northern Ireland correspondent Ed Moloney, is an intriguing attempt to answer that question.

Rector takes on Ukranian Security Services

On May 18, the Ukrainian Security Services paid a strange visit to Borys Gudziak, rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. Their goal, it seems, was to ensure his students would not take to the streets to protest against the new President when he arrived in town the following day. Gudziak refused to co-operate and produced a following memorandum that has sent shockwaves through Ukraine.

UN launches inquiry as Israel intercepts second peace flotilla

UN launches inquiry as Israel intercepts second peace flotilla. US identified as world’s greatest user of targeted killings. Philippine rebels interested in renewed talks. Sudanese president barred from African Union conference. US missiles used in Yemen raids. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Turkey reviews Israel ties after flotilla assault

Turkey looks to minimise its ties to Israel after the IDF raid on the peace flotilla. In Afghanistan the peace jirga endorses President Karzai’s peace plan. The Japanese Prime Minister resigns after failing to shift US bases from Okinawa. All this and more, in today’s security update…

Israel’s neo-zionist illusion

The true target of the violence onboard the Turkish boat carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza on 31 May was the US. But this attempt to force Obama into backing Israel uncritically was based on an outdated, neo-zionist view of geo-politics. For the US is not the power it was

Out of Asia

The meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation could hail a realignment of power politics in Asia, argues Ángel Gómez-de-Ágreda

Skating on thin ice in Sochi

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi threatens to be overshadowed by a centuries-old row between Russia and the disposessed Circassian nation, writes Sufian Zhemukhov. Russia should take the opportunity to engage and impress its way to a lasting solution.

Israel-Turkey-United States: Gaza’s global moment

Israel’s assault on a flagship attempting to break the blockade of Gaza has sparked international condemnation. Behind the crisis lie deeper shifts in world politics in which Turkey is playing a key part.

Brazil-Turkey and Iran: a new global balance

The tripartite nuclear-fuel agreement signed in Tehran is a watershed in the emerging configuration of a multipolar world, says Mariano Aguirre of the Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre.

UN condemns Israel raid on aid flotilla

UN condemns Israeli commando raid on aid-flotilla. Amnesty calls for inquiry into possible extra-judicial killings during Kingston violence. British troops come under US command in Kandahar. Russian delegation visits South Korea to assess Cheonan findings. All this and more in today's update.

Napoleon's conquest and its legacy

Alan Forrest explores the legacy of the empire and state-system imposed on Europe during the Napoleonic wars. The article continues our series Lest we forget, an editorial project in association with History & Policy, asking historians to reflect on wars gone by and the light they shed on present conflicts.

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Please take a few moments to reflect on the relations between the United States and Israel in the light of a recent incident

America and the world’s jungle

An official directive that grants the United States army expanded counterinsurgency powers reveals Washington’s imprisonment in an exhausted vision of security.

Ending the Gaza blockade

The blockade has proved counterproductive with regard to all the major policy aims of the international community. The Quartet powers should encourage Israel to think about a better way to safeguard its security interests

Iran warns Russia not to back new nuclear sanctions

Iran warns Russia not to back new nuclear sanctions. Car bomb blast hits outside NATO base in Kandahar. Israel violates Lebanese airspace. Conflict in Jamaica kills 44. Blast kills four in southern Russian city. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

NPT: the gulf between the nuclear haves and have-nots

The key question as the conference enters the endgame is whether the P-5 nuclear weapon states are willing to drop their demands for the removal of so many of the disarmament commitments that are important to the non-nuclear countries, including references to a nuclear weapons convention or time bound framework to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons

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