This week's editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Targeting Iran

How does the election of Iran’s new president affect the likelihood of a United States – or an Israeli – attack?

Welcome to Costa-del-Gaza

What will Gaza become after Israeli occupation? Eóin Murray reports on embattled Jewish settlers and Palestinian fears.

Iraq: thinking the unthinkable

Iraq’s insurgents, in developing new tactics as fast as the United States can counter their old, are forcing Washington to review its Iraq strategy.

I am an Iraqi journalist

Alia Amer defends her calling as a service to the Iraqi people – and asks herself every day if the sacrifices they are being asked to make are worth it.

Belgrade: war crimes in daily life

A day’s walk in Serbia’s capital brings journalist Dusan Velickovic closer to the emotional heart of a country still struggling to face the truth of its past.

Afghanistan bleeds

An upsurge in violence in the first post-9/11 theatre of the “war on terror” presents severe problems for United States military forces.

Keeping Armageddon at bay

The historic rapprochement between India and Pakistan will not endure if fundamentalists on both sides have their way, argues Maruf Khwaja.

Lebanon's election, no solution

Lebanese democracy has spoken. But Syrian influence, Hizbollah’s weapons, United States intransigence, sectarian divisions, personal rivalries, and regional pressures signal an unstable road ahead for the “cedar revolution”, reports Hazem Saghieh.

Before the flood

The peoples of the middle east need to create new ways of living together that recall the rich historical mixing of Muslims, Christians and Jews, says Jihad N Fakhreddine.

Ahmed, a story of Iraq

Alya Shakir’s family has survived wars, conscription, prison, robbery and exile, but it is a 3-year-old cousin who opens her eyes to Iraq’s current nightmare.

An unwinnable war

Donald Rumsfeld has broken a taboo: the United States military cannot win in Iraq.

Between Iraq and Afghanistan

The two main combat-zones of George W Bush’s “war on terror” are providing an education in guerrilla warfare to a new generation of militants.

Iraq: the wrong war

The global political economy is producing failed states, networked insurgency and extremist politics. Fighting “old wars” in response, as in Iraq, is a guarantee of failure, says Mary Kaldor.

Letter to my Baghdad friends

For this American writer in Amman, Jordan, the nearness of her beloved Baghdad evokes an intense longing to return. But she cannot.

Bush's credibility gulf

The gap between the United States’s words and deeds in Iraq and Afghanistan is sowing bitter seeds that George W Bush’s successors will harvest.

Lebanon's pre-election hangover

Political party games are dominating the election campaign in Lebanon, but the issues of Hizbollah and Iran cannot be long avoided, says Zaid Al-Ali in Beirut.

The SWISH Report (3)


We would first like to take this opportunity to thank you for coming to us for an independent assessment. You might have chosen one of the many consultancies available in Britain, even though they may have a marked tendency to tell you what you want to hear. We therefore welcome this unusual opportunity to give a candid and independent assessment of policy options and we hope that you will accept a certain degree of blunt speaking as we feel you will find this of particular use, given the experience of the recent election campaign. We assume that the particular experience of the campaign is the main reason you are seeking fully independent advice.

The end of secularism in Iraq

The domination of politics by religion is a relatively recent trend in Iraq – and offers no long-term solution to Iraq’s crisis, says Zaid Al-Ali.

Letters from Hiroshima

As the Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty continues in New York, openDemocracy publishes letters from the mayor of Hiroshima. The letters, sent to world leaders each time they authorise the detonation of a nuclear weapon, are part of the city’s vow to remind the world of the horrors of atomic warfare.

Climate change's nuclear fix

The threat posed by global warming is fuelling the arguments of the nuclear-power lobby, but how convincing are its claims?

Hizbollah's warning flight

A dramatic, under-reported incident over northern Israel carries a sobering message for United States strategists in Iraq.

Iraq's end to optimism

With renewed insurgency, cowed security forces, and stuck politics, can the United States hold the line in Iraq?

Boycotting Israel: the uses of history

Britain’s Association of University Teachers has voted to boycott Israel. Stephen Howe scrupulously maps the background to a bitter controversy over historical truth and academic freedom.

Iraq's state of insecurity

The current spiral of violence in Iraq is sending a long-term message to United States forces.

Kashmir's bus ride to peace

The bus linking Muzaffarabad and Srinagar across divided Kashmir may thaw the most bitter of all disputes between India and Pakistan, writes Muzamil Jaleel in Srinagar.

Washington's Iraq panic attack

The visits to Baghdad of Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Zoellick are a sign of Washington’s profound worries over Iraq’s future.

Caught in Iraq's pincer

Iraq has a government at last, but can it cope with the insurgents who launched the large-scale attack on Abu Ghraib prison?

America's nuclear gamble

United States policy towards nuclear weapons proliferation on the eve of the Non-Proliferation Treaty five-year review sends a warning signal to the world.

Democracy from America? An Arab's advice

Any United States effort to bring democracy and freedom to the middle east needs to respect eight principles of action, says Rami G. Khouri.

It's the oil, stupid

Washington doesn’t yet get it, but in the Gulf region the view is crystal-clear: the geopolitics of oil is driving United States military strategy in Iraq

Parallel politics in Iraq

As politicians squabble in Baghdad, does a gathering of Iraqis in Cairo more truly represent the country’s interests?

Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq

“The dead tell no stories. It is the wounded that survive and present us with our own complicity”. To mark the second anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, openDemocracy presents ten portraits from “Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq”, the acclaimed photography collection on wounded American soldiers, by the award-winning photographer Nina Berman.

Iraq: the way forward

Can the war be won? Tim Garden, former assistant chief of the UK defence staff, maps a minefield.

Kirkuk: microcosm of Iraq

Want to understand Iraq two years after the start of the war? Take a look at Kirkuk, says Kurdish journalist Omar A Omar.

Iraq united: Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim interviewed

Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the largest party in the victorious Shi’a coalition likely to dominate Iraq’s new government, talks to Anwar Rizvi about uniting Iraq, defeating insurgency, and keeping faith with an Iran threatened by United States attack.
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