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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Israel: the writing on the wall

Successive Israeli cabinets have worked to enforce on the ground in Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories a situation that they could present as irreversible. Have they now reached the point where the biblical book of Daniel’s prophecy is once again relevant?

Kyrgyzstan: components of crisis

The explosion of violence in southern Kyrgyzstan is the result of social pressures, economic hardship and political malpractice. The interim government’s constitutional referendum can do little to address these problems, says David Gullette.

A platform for humanity - The UK's Bath experiment

Positive peace is more than the absence of war. Groups campaigning to advance the causes that are vital to building it would find greater synergy if they recognised their interdependence. A local experiment confirms this.

Tunnels of Opportunity

Our correspondent in the Gaza Strip visits a car workshop that has just got going again

Kyrgyzstan: referendum in a time of upheaval

Judith Beyer observes the run-up to Kyrgyzstan’s constitutional referendum from the vantage point of the countryside, away from the centres of violence. A Kyrgyz majority will ensure that Otunbaeva gets the result she wants, Beyer predicts. But this bodes badly for the future

The Palestinian vuvuzela

Palestinians’ vicarious yet passionate identification with the national teams in South Africa’s football world cup reflects both local concerns and global longings, finds Khaled Hroub in Ramallah.

Afghanistan: the fatal error

The revolving-door experience of United States military commanders in Afghanistan is but symptom of a flawed strategy with its roots in the response to 9/11.

Obama sacks top Afghan war commander, General Stanley McChrystal

Obama sacks top Afghan war commander, General Stanley McChrystal. Southeast European countries denounce Israeli attack on aid flotilla. Refugees returning to Kyrgyzstan. Suspected drug kingpin arrested in Jamaica. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

All eyes on Neda

What do the deaths of protesters tell us about them, their governments, and ourselves?

Central Asia: the erupting volcano

The West turned a blind eye to the potential volatility of Central Asia because it was convenient, in Carlo Ungaro's view. Recent events in Kyrgyzstan show how dangerous this stance is. In adjacent areas of Afghanistan the discovery of mineral riches is likely further to complicate an already fraught situation.

Kyrgyzstan’s angel of death

The explosion of terrifying violence in southern Kyrgyzstan reveals deep-rooted problems in this central Asian state. A provisional map of the crisis, by Sureyya Yigit in Bishkek.

Bomb blast kills five in Istanbul

Four killed by bomb in Istanbul, Israel plans to demolish 22 homes in East Jerusalem, UK death toll in Afghanistan reaches 300 and Belarus threatens to siphon gas.

The ethnicisation of violence in Southern Kyrgyzstan

Media talk of ‘ethnic conflict’ in Kyrgyzstan is misleading, in that it takes ethnicity to be causal. This does not describe the complex, messy process – political, economic, social and structural – whereby this crisis has become ethnicised. What matters now is to understand why and how this has occurred with such destructive speed

Animals in the Courtroom

Ex-Yukos bosses Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev stand accused of a crime that even prosecutors are finding difficult to define, writes Mariana Toroschesnikova. Now foreigners are beggining to understand the real danger in Russia lies not in wild bears roaming its streets but in wild prosecutors ruling the courts.

Stalemate at Camp Victory

The recently released documentary, Camp Victory, gives some indication of the problems faced in creating an Afghan National Army.

Thailand's road to reconciliation

Thailand's proposed course of reconciliation is contaminated by the dysfunctional socio-political system that caused the crisis.

Afghanistan, and the world’s resource war

A new report that highlights Afghanistan’s extensive mineral deposits provides fuel for the United States’s military project. But it also signals the existence of a wider resource-competition that reflects the 21st-century’s emerging geopolitics.

Visegrad, memory and justice

The survivors of a terrible but neglected atrocity in a historic Bosnian town continue to campaign for remembrance and accountability. Peter Lippman joins them on their return to the site.

It tolls for thee

After attacks on mosques last month left almost a hundred Ahmadis dead, Pakistan must decide what kind of nation it wants to be. Choose wisely, implores Zainab Mahmood.

Legitimising violence: India's red scare

India's exaltation of progress has led it to disregard violence perpetrated against its own people, argues Gautam Das

A small point on the end of Thatcherism and the rise of Cameron

A follow up on the author's analysis of Britain's new Coalition government in the light of Cameron's response to the findings of the Bloody Sunday inquiry

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.
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