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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Tony Blair's long war

The British prime minister's vision of a country engaged in long-term global struggle against radical Islamism is fortified by gargantuan and costly military commitments.

ETA's farewell to peace

A bomb attack on Madrid airport has detonated the Basque peace process and increased pressure on José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's government, says Diego Muro.

Madrid plus fifteen

The Madrid summit of 1991 opened the way to the Israeli-Palestinian accords at Oslo in 1993. A gathering of its veterans looked forward as well as back, reports Kanishk Tharoor of Madrid11.

What to do about torture? Manfred Nowak interviewed

The post-9/11 era has raised serious questions over western governments' complicity in secret detention and torture. Manfred Nowak, United Nations special rapporteur on torture, is one of the people best placed to answer them. Kanishk Tharoor of talks to him.

Kanishk Tharoor: In what ways has the Bush administration directly or indirectly allowed for torture?

Washington's Iraqi 'surge': where are the Iraqis?

Iraqis themselves must be at the centre of any attempt to make President Bush's new strategy for their country a political success, says Reidar Visser.

Bush's surge, Iraq's insurgency

The decision to increase the number of United States troops in Iraq is a gift to al-Qaida.

Is this how humans behave?

While Saddam deserves no sympathy, says Anthony Barnett, the ugly gallows scenes confront us with our role in Iraq's horror: we let Blair and Bush lead.

Nuclear weapons: the oxygen of debate

The first months of 2007 bring an opportunity to open discussion on a subject that Britain's government would prefer to keep closed.

Telling Muslim tales

The British media loves stories about Muslims. But do they illuminate or mystify the reality of Muslims’ lives and predicaments? Mukul Devichand reports.

Afghanistan: the choice

Without a change of Nato strategy, the prospect for Afghanistan in 2007 is escalating violence.

Lebanon's internal struggle: two logics in combat

The war between Hizbollah and Israel in Lebanon was a contest over the nation-state as the foundational unit of political action, says Hazem Saghieh.

The Kurds and the ISG: losing friends, losing the war

The implementation of the Baker report would be a betrayal of Iraq's Kurds and a defeat for the United States itself, says Dlawer Ala'Aldeen.

The dividends of asymmetry: al-Qaida's evolving strategy

A year without a major al-Qaida attack might suggest an organisation in retreat. Not so, says Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou.

Iraq out of sight

The Baker report is already history. A fundamental rethink of United States policy in Iraq and Afghanistan is still beyond the horizon.

Lebanon's two futures

The heated talk of revolution and civil war in Lebanon must be balanced by awareness of the way its people and institutions cope with political crisis, says Alex Klaushofer.

The Iraq Study Group report: an assessment

The Baker report's recommendations for future United States policy in Iraq cannot work while United States violence and coercion dominates so much of Iraqis' lives, says Tareq Y Ismael.

Lebanon on the brink - but of what?

Lebanon's internal political fractures combine with regional pressures to create a perilous moment for the country, reports Zaid Al-Ali in Beirut.

Iraq: not civil war, occupation

The Iraq Study Group has still not understood what people in Iraq well know, says Sami Ramadani: that it is the United States military occupation of Iraq itself that is fuelling the violence there.

The SWISH Report (7)

A fifth report from the South Waziristan Institute of Strategic Hermeneutics to the al-Qaida Strategic Planning Cell on the progress of the campaign.

Thank you for inviting us to deliver a fifth report to you on the progress of your movement. You will recall that our work for you commenced with an initial assessment in July 2004; a follow-up in January 2005; a further in February 2006; and our most recent report in September 2006.

Rendition and democracy: civil society's role

It was the worst kept secret in the world. The "extraordinary rendition" system, established by the United States, is a web of agreements with countries in Europe, north Africa, the middle east, and Asia to host secret prisons or to hold "outsourced" detainees for indefinite lock-up and torture. It is a system that allows the US to conduct its "war on terror" outside regular channels, without democratic or judicial oversight.

Pakistan: zero-sum games people play

The "hudood" law regulating Pakistanis' private and public morality is a focal-point of the country's great cultural and political divide, reports Irfan Husain.

Washington's Iraqi sandstorm

The meltdown of United States policy in Iraq is fuelling neo-conservative disarray in Washington. But will the Bush administration change course?

Anti-terrorism: new leadership, new strategy

A rights-based foreign policy is the best guarantee of national security, says Tom Porteous of Human Rights Watch.

Israelis and Arabs: the Sadat precedent

The historic visit of Egypt's president to Jerusalem in November 1977 holds a vital lesson for those seeking a middle-east peace settlement today, says David Govrin.

America in Iraq: stay or go?

The debate in the United States about its military strategy in Iraq and the deployment of forces there is intensifying. Morton Kondracke and William R Polk present sharply contrasting recommendations.

Afghanistan under siege

The west's military strategy in Afghanistan is proving counterproductive as well as costly.

Mahfouz's grave, Arab liberalism's deathbed

The Arab world's passage from progressive secularism to conservative religiosity in the last fifty years is illuminated by the work of Egypt’s greatest writer, says Tarek Osman.

Iraq: divide or die

An ethno-sectarian solution is the only way to preserve Iraq as a coherent entity, argue Gareth Stansfield and Liam Anderson.

Iraq lives

The voices of Iraqi patriotism in Basra are a rebuke to western advocates of the country’s fragmentation, says Reidar Visser.

A curse on difference: gays vs zealots in Israel

Amid Israel's wider security crises, the aggravation surrounding a gay-pride march provoked fleeting religious unity and a sense of liberty besieged, reports Jan McGirk in Jerusalem.

Britain's war: evasion and reality

The head of Britain's security service shows more understanding of the political realities of the war on terror than the country's prime minister.

Sparing Saddam: beyond victor's justice

A US call to spare Saddam from the gallows could restore America's reputation for justice, and be a powerful gesture of reconciliation for the middle east, says John Sloboda.

The US votes: the road ahead for Iraq

United States politicians are rethinking their options in Iraq. But would a new policy resolve or intensify the war? Zaid Al-Ali assesses Washington's evolving agenda.

The campaign that should never stop

Amid the pain and blood of Gaza, Eyad Sarraj of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme calls on "all those who still truly believe in peace - Palestinians, Israelis and friends and allies all over the world - to unite their efforts in order to give reconciliation and peace a chance."

Kurdistan beyond Iraq

The political pressures in Iraq are pushing the Kurds towards independence, says Dlawer Ala'Aldeen.
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