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This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

No Help for Sex

Kristen Cordell reflects on the countrywide effort in Liberia to stop sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers.

Last month the UN Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1888, reaffirming the UNs commitment to ending rape as a tool of war. The UN Mission in Liberia is leading efforts in six countries in Africa to check its own staff on a highly visible and challenging part of the problem: sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers. 

US considers Afghan strategy on eighth anniversary of conflict

The US considers its strategy in Afghanistan on the eighth anniversary of the conflict; Pakistan weighs its options in its fight against insurgents; Anti-IMF protests take a violent turn in Turkey; Uganda frees Somali defense minister and Mugabe seeks better relations with the West. All this and much more in today's security briefing.

Carrots and sticks in Moldova: Russian peacekeepers, big loans and the need for reforms

The rhetoric of the new Moldovan government is not music to the Kremlin's ears. However the powers that be in Chishinau have no choice. Immediately after the present summit of the Community of Independent States, the government has to move ahead with the hard work of serious reform of the economy, judiciary, media and bureaucracy.

North Korea ready to restart nuclear talks

North Korea ready to restart nuclear talks in return for improved US relations. A key suspect in Rwandan genocide arrested in Uganda. US set to stay the course in Afghanistan despite deliberation. All this and much more in today's security briefing...

From Cable Street to Cable Broadband

The extreme right has harnessed the power of Britain's twenty-first century connectivity, revolutionising the threat to our multicultural society.

Turkey's political-emotional transition

Turkey is engaged in a renegotiation between its pro-west commitments and its family ties to east and south. This is part of a wider shift in regional relationships and perspectives, says Carsten Wieland.

Pressure on Obama mounts after deadly day in Afghanistan

Pressure mounts on Obama after deaths of eight US soldiers in Afghanistan. Iran agrees to inspection of secret nuclear plant. China strengthens bonds with North Korea after state visit. All this and much more in today’s security briefing.

PLO supports deferral of UN Gaza resolution

A ‘historic’ resolution on the UN’s report into the Gaza war is deferred with the support of the PLO. Aung Suu Kyi’s appeal against further detention is denied by a Burmese court. Obama has a face to face discussion with the commander of US forces in Afghanistan. All this and more in today’s security update.

The jihadist style-journey: Germany’s election and after

A video-letter from a purported al-Qaida soldier calling on Germany to end its military involvement in Afghanistan has heightened security concerns in the country before and after the election. But it is Bekkay Harrach's "western" appearance as much as his message that deserves scrutiny, say Mina Al-Lami & Ben O'Loughlin.   

Iran courts controversy with long-range missile tests

Iran test-fires long-range missiles capable of striking Israel and American bases in the Persian Gulf. Somali government ousts insurgents from central town. Six die in Iraq minibus bomb. Honduras suspends civil liberties to forestall revolution. Security forces open fire as opposition gather in Guinea capital. All this and more in today's update.

Security Council will call for nuclear weapons to be scrapped

Obama heads a meeting calling for the scrapping of nuclear weapons. Somali port readies itself for a battle between competing Islamist rulers. Eleven escape in Iraqi jail break. Taliban attacks leave eleven dead in Pakistan, and more in today's briefing ...

Psychoactive and Operation Cast Lead

During the attack on Gaza, Israeli mental health professionals could find themselves trapped between social peers who vigorously identified with government policy, and Palestinian citizens of Israel, considered, at times of hostilities,‘the enemy'. This is an account of the dilemmas and experiences of members of one such group - Psychoactive.



Two of the authors will be speaking at a conference in London in October. (See end of article for details.)

Cash flow in the Gaza Strip

The military offensive against Gaza was the latest stage in a calculated assault on the feasibility of a Palestinian state, and in particular a viable Palestinian economy

Afghanistan: limits of military power

The United States-led coalition's problems in Afghanistan are accentuated by an enemy capable of reading its intentions - and which has time on its side.

Russia, Poland and the history wars

On the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Army's invasion of Poland, Rodric Braithwaite understands why Poles are not quick to give the Russians credit for occasionally getting things right. The end of communism would not have been possible without Mikhail Gorbachev and the Russians made impressive efforts in the 1980s and 1990s to establish an objective record of their own history.

Battle for Moldova’s political heart

Moldova's long-ruling communists, having recently been dethroned by the four-party Alliance for European Integration (AEI), are struggling to win back lost ground. The frantic activities of communist ex-President Voronin suggest he is not finding democracy easy

A world in need: the case for sustainable security

A combination of global crises makes the search for fresh, effective and transforming approaches to security essential.

(This article was first published on 10 September 2009)

"Born-again" Muslims: cultural schizophrenia

The divine rage that sparked the attacks on New York and Washington was inspired by the collision between a particular interpretation of Islamic faith and disabling social experience, says Malise Ruthven.

(This article was first published on 27 September 2001)

The dangers to Afghan democracy

The value of elections to the Afghan people should not be underestimated. Voter cynicism, a product of misgovernance of the country, should not be mistaken for voter apathy.

The right of return

Israeli understanding of the Jewishness of Israel is complex, and it makes the right of return the most contentious issue on the negotiating agenda

Secure Bradford before Helmand

Britain should secure its own disenfranchised Muslim community rather than sustaining a major expeditionary campaign in Afghanistan, argues John Mackinlay.

Iraq: new alliances, old repression

The pre-election manoeuvring in Iraq offers little hope for change that will improve the lives of a hard-pressed people, says Zaid Al-Ali.

Criminalise WMD

Now is the time to begin to repair the weakness of the weapons clauses in the International Criminal Court Statute and get the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction defined as a crime, urges Marlies Glasius.

Russia's beleaguered anti-fascists

Antif pastore

No to Nazis ! - Russian antifa poster

Neo-nazi movements in Russia target foreigners, gypsies and, frequently, the anti-fascists (antifa), not blameless themselves, but often framed by the police. Vlad Tupikin wonders if the Russian government is really dancing to the tune of the neo-nazis.

Afghanistan: the point of decision

The Barack Obama administration faces a vital foreign-policy choice over United States policy in Afghanistan. The country's uncertain election and rising insurgency make it even tougher. 

Israeli settlements and “ethnic cleansing”

The argument that the dismantling of Israeli communities in the Palestinian West Bank would amount to "ethnic cleansing" is increasingly being heard. It deserves close examination of a kind its proponents may not welcome, says Martin Shaw.

Abkhazia, Georgia, and history: a response

An anniversary article on the Georgia-Russia war of August 2008 from the perspective of Abkhazia has provoked a vigorous reaction focusing on questions of linguistics, settlement, and current politics. Its author, George Hewitt, responds to some of the points raised.

Nepal’s political impasse

The growing antagonism among major political actors casts doubt on Nepal's chances of achieving lasting peace, says Deepak Adhikari.

Sri Lanka’s hollow victory

The Colombo government's repression, detention and evasion in the wake of Sri Lanka's civil war highlight the need for an international inquiry into its last days, says Meenakshi Ganguly.

The Baghdad bomb, the United Nations, and America

The massacre of United Nations employees in Iraq on 19 August 2003 was a dark moment in the organisation's history. It also carries lessons for the United States in the age of Barack Obama, says Johanna Mendelson Forman.

(This article was first published on 19 August 2009)

Living after tragedy: the UN Baghdad bomb, one year on

A year after the bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Gil Loescher pays tribute to the victims, including his close colleague and openDemocracy partner Arthur C Helton, and reflects on the implications of the tragedy for the UN’s humanitarian work in Iraq and beyond.

(This article was first published on 19 August 2004)

The Arab future: conspiracy vs reality

A legal conflict between the daughters of former Egyptian presidents is a sad commentary on the condition of the Arab world, says Hazem Saghieh.

(This article was first published on 12 August 2009)

Israel-Palestine: solving the refugee question

A solution to the Palestinian refugee problem is a vital component of any durable peace agreement in the region. It seems impossible - but it can be done, says David Gardner.

The Russia-Georgia war: mission unaccomplished

The bitter conflict of August 2008 confounded all sides’ expectations - not least that Moscow’s military victory would translate into strategic-political gains. The Georgian scholar and former education minister in the Tbilisi government, Ghia Nodia, presents an anniversary audit of the war.

(This article was first published on 13 August 2009)

Ingushetia abandoned

The attack on a police station in Ingushetia on 17 August which killed or wounded 100 people follows a spate of recent incidents, including the assassination of Ingushetia's construction minister. In this recent overview of the post-Soviet history of Russia's smallest republic, Varvara Pakomenko examines the Kremlin's Caucasus policy and asks what the future holds for Ingushetia


This article was first published on 22 July 2009
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