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This week's editor

Manuel Serrano

Manuel Serrano is Junior Editor at DemocraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Mubarak’s Day of Departure?

Updated after Friday prayer Representatives of the regime may have understood that violence will weaken them even further internationally, but the question is whether they can and want to control numerous constituencies in the party, the policy and elsewhere who benefited from the regime and now fear the days of reckoning. And the organisational capacity of the opposition will soon be tested. You can follow Eberhard Kienle's regular updates here

Egypt: how to negotiate the transition. Lessons from Poland and China

A comparison of the Polish Round Table and the Tiananmen Tragedy show that non-violent resistance movements need to be clear-headed in the moment of negotiation and transition. The next moves by the democratic movement in Egypt will determine the political shape of the country for a long time to come. It should learn from Solidarity's success in 1989.

A lesson in thuggery: how the security services control Egypt

A one-time Egyptian resident describes the operation of a thuggish security state that controls through everyday brutality. This article was based on conversations with many Egyptians who wished to remain anonymous.

The global crisis: between Cairo and Davos

The new age of insurgencies of which Egypt is an emblem has its deeper source not in the anger of the marginalised but in the system operated by the world's financial elites.

The new middle east: intellectuals and democracy

The change that is unfolding across the middle east places an especial responsibility on intellectuals to think civically and engage ethically, says Ramin Jahanbegloo.

Mubarak’s thugs make a mockery of media neutrality

Media reporting of today's events in Cairo plays into Mubarak's hands and betrays the journalists risking their lives to expose the violence perpetrated by the regime.

Women's citizenship:implications of the Southern Sudan referendum

How will the result of last month's Southern Sudan referendum affect the prospects for women's participation and activism in the North and in the South ?

Fight Back! A Reader on the Winter of Protest

Read 'Fight Back! A reader on the winter of protest' here, and get all the latest information. The book is FREE to download, and available in print on Amazon and in Housmans bookstore

Egyptian army declares it will not use force against civilians as protests intensify

Egypt's military maintain ambiguous stance on protests. 99% of southerners vote for independence, according to first official reports. Surge in political violence ahead of April’s elections in Nigeria. Elected parliament convenes in Myanmar for first time in twenty years.

Taking Tea with Torturers

From the Shah of Iran to Egypt’s Mubarak to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, cozy relationships in US foreign policy need to be questioned

Egypt, and the thirty years of solitude

 The epic events in the Arab world’s heartland are also a lesson in the loneliness of power, says Goran Fejic.

The philosophical significance of UKUncut

When activists under the banner of UK Uncut protest outside high-street shops on Saturday 18th December they will be doing something of great political importance. But they will also be demonstrating and articulating something of immense philosophical significance.

UK police undercover: a dangerous subplot

What the police infiltration of legitimate activist groups also reveals is a far more disturbing global phenomenon: the right to public protest is getting harder to defend

Vapor Trail (Clark): wastes of history

A cinematic project in the Philippines that began as an exercise in political documentary and ended as excavation of the toxic legacies of the country’s early-20th century war with America is a vital counterblast to global amnesia, says Graeme Hobbs.


Tunis, Cairo and beyond: susceptible authoritarians may yet really topple, but questions abound

Updated Friday 8am Mubarak's second television address shows that he will fight on and try and turn the tables on the protesters. Even if he steps down in September he will have ample possibility to orchestrate counter demonstrations, divide the opposition, foment chaos in the country, repress the protests and lock up people, or put his imprint on the transition to his successor and possibly new institutional arrangements.

Control Orders lite - the cosmetic coalition

Control orders place individuals suspected of being an extremist threat under a variant of house arrest without them being charged or being able to defend themselves. They breach a fundamental principle of justice the government said it would restore. It hasn't.

China’s military: threat or twist

Beijing’s promotion of a new strike aircraft may be less a powerful addition to its military arsenal than a sophisticated part of a deeper strategy.

The middle-east path: towards awakening

The democratic mobilisations in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere are lighting a beacon across the middle east and north Africa. The way ahead lies through peaceful protest against extremism and authoritarianism, say Foulath Hadid & Mishana Hosseinioun.

Tahrir Square burns: a postcard from Egypt

An American in Cairo reflects on the experience of events there today and calls on the US to throw off its ties to the soon-to-be ancien regime

Patriarchal shows of generosity will not appease the Arab people

Arab regimes' attempts to buy off their people only highlight their duplicity, argues Mohammed Hussainy

Qatar: prestige and gamble

The small Gulf state of Qatar has translated economic assets and creative diplomacy into extraordinary global influence. But the eclipse of regional giants such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia is also a high-risk strategy, says Khaled Hroub.

Azerbaijan: rights situation no cause for celebration

It has been ten years since Azerbaijan became a member of the Council of Europe, but no one is in the mood for a party. The country’s media remains shackled, dubious laws continue to be used punitively, and political opponents are still sent to prison. The Council needs to take its membership criteria more seriously, suggests Giorgi Gogia.

Egyptians defy government ban in second day of protests

Egyptians defy government ban in second day of anti-government protests. Tunisia issues arrest warrant for Ben Ali. UK government revises control orders. Palestinian Authority defiant following Al Jazeera release of leaked documents. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Drowning everyone but the terrorists: an interview with Boris Nemtsov

Monday’s attacks show that Russia’s counter-terrorist strategy is failing. The bad news for Russia’s leaders is that the public are no longer in the mood for excuses. Mumin Shakirov interviews opposition activist and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov. This is an preview of an exclusive and wide-ranging interview, to be published in the coming week.

The Arab crisis: food, energy, water, justice

Tunisia’s popular uprising is reverberating across the Arab world. But such movements face problems that go far wider than dictatorship to encompass the whole range of human security, says Vicken Cheterian.

Domodedovo: far simpler than a conspiracy

In a country lacking proper democratic process, linking Monday’s bomb attacks to forthcoming elections is trite. A more likely explanation is the lack of accountability that results from the very absence of elections, writes Kirill Rogov.

Mournful Unconcern: Russia reacts to Domodedovo

Desensitised to terror, Russians will not take long to get over the latest attack. Russian writer and openDemocracy contributor Elena Fanailova passed through Domodedovo Airport just thirty minutes before Monday’s bomb struck.

The Palestine Papers

It is highly plausible that the Palestine Papers will only serve to prolong the conflict. But it is also possible that their publication could change things.

Pakistan: the rising dangers

Pakistan’s society and government are under intense pressure from the growing influence of extreme religious movements. In the absence of enlightened and unifying political leadership the prospect of a great regression remains alive, says Marco Mezzera. 

A world in movement: prospects for 2011

The influence of rising states amid the infirmity of the United States and other established powers will make 2011 a transition year towards a new global order, says Mariano Aguirre.

Osh report: quick conclusions, lost opportunities

Poorly researched, political and overly assertive, the official report into last year’s violence in Osh and Jalalabat leaves as many questions as it answers. The national discussion to follow must avoid similar pitfalls.

Tunisia and the world: roots of turmoil

The uprising in Tunisia is at once a response to systemic inequity and injustice and an expression of the limits of elite control. But to the economic and political ingredients of the revolt must be added the potent if less evident one of global environmental crisis.

New Philippine counter-insurgency strategy fails to address the causes of conflict

A new, purportedly human rights-orientated counter-insurgency strategy has little chance of success in the Philippines if the clientelism of a flawed political and economic system is not simultaneously addressed, argues Mark Dearn

Lebanon: long live the settlement, the settlement is dead

Public opinion is deeply divided in Lebanon after renewed diplomatic efforts faltered in reaching a settlement over decisions of who will be Prime Minister, as well as the imminent Special Tribunal for Lebanon indictment

It is right to resist Islamophobia in Britain

Conservative Party Chair Sayeeda Warsi spoke out against Islamophobia and has met with a barrage of criticism from the right and a clear voice of support from a fellow Conservative Peter Oborne. There should be more like him.
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