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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

Britain's anti-terrorism policy: an eternal cycle

Britain’s government has refused to learn the crucial lesson that the security and political aspects of fighting terrorism are single parts of an integrated whole, says Rhiannon Talbot.

What Israel is doing

The Gaza assault is long-planned and the seizure of the young Israel soldier Gilad Shalit just a pretext, says Thomas R Asher.

Gleneagles, 7/7 and Africa

The effect of the London bombs was to aid the powerful and damage the weak. Campaigners for global justice must not be deflected, says Ann Pettifor.

Israel's Gaza assault: the real motives

Israel's destruction of Palestinian infrastructure in Gaza has more to do with its strategic objectives than with concern for one kidnapped soldier, says Guy Grossman.

It is no coincidence that the commando assault on 25 June 2006 that resulted in the death of two Israeli soldiers and the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit took place merely a day after the two main Palestinian political movements, Fatah and Hamas, reached a consensus over the "prisoners' document" that proposed a shift towards dialogue with I

The London bombs, one year on

A year after the suicide-attacks in which four young British Muslims killed fifty-two travellers on London's transport network, what has been learned and what has changed?

Gaza's slide to war

Israel's land invasion of Gaza is a gift to hawks on both sides of the conflict, who see strategic gains to be made. Amid fears of all-out war, Jane Kinninmont traces the straining political fault-lines.

The US Supreme Court: law against power

The American judges' ruling against the Bush administration's military-tribunal plan for Guantánamo detainees is a historic moment, says Zachary Katznelson of Reprieve, which represents thirty-six clients in the camp.

On 29 June 2006, the United States Supreme Court struck a blow for the rule of law, deciding in every respect against the Bush administration in the case of Hamdan vs Rumsfeld . The court sent a clear message that President Bush's policies in Guantánamo are unacceptable.

Britain's nuclear-weapons fix

The determination of Britain's political elite to maintain the country as a nuclear-weapons state is rooted in a half-century of military planning to which the possibility of tactical and first use of nuclear weapons is central.

In just five words, Gordon Brown, the United Kingdom's chancellor of the exchequer and would-be successor to Tony Blair, has intentionally reignited the debate over the future of Britain's nuclear weapons.

Afghanistan's war season

The Taliban are proving a formidable enemy in face of the sophisticated technology, tactics and personnel of the United States and British military.

Close Guantánamo, and its mindset

Guantánamo is both American prison and un-American mindset. The violations it embodies reflect how far the Bush administration has travelled from legality, says Rami G Khouri.

Syria cracks down on dissent

The domestic, regional and exile pressures on Bashar al-Assad's regime are still a long way from threatening regime change in Damascus, says Anoushka Marashlian.

The United States vs China: the war for oil

The United States's focus on the middle east, al-Qaida and terrorism is also a surrogate for long-term strategic competition with China for the world's oil resources.

Haditha: a question of responsibility

The chain of command involved in the massacre of Iraqi civilians at Haditha reaches far beyond those directly involved.

A tale of two insurgencies

The insurgent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan are exerting severe pressure on United States and British forces – and there is more to come.

Kuwait's political turmoil

The dissolution of Kuwait's parliament and the calling of early elections reflect developing social and economic fissures in the Gulf emirate, says Raymond Barrett.

Afghanistan's endemic war

The renewed insurgency in Afghanistan owes much to the way the Taliban were overthrown in 2001.

Au revoir, Montenegro?

Montenegro's vote for independence closes a political chapter in former Yugoslavia, but Vesna Goldsworthy finds that the map of the heart is not so neatly redrawn.

The state of Pakistan

Pakistan's classification as a "failed state" reflects the collapse of Pervez Musharraf's authority, says Irfan Husain.

Between politics and war: Hizbollah in the spotlight

Hizbollah has attracted Iranian friendship and US hostility since its emergence during Lebanon's civil war. With regional tensions rising, the leading Islamist group is now at a crossroads, says Abigail Fielding-Smith.

Palestinian cinema: comedy in conflict

Fresh from London's Palestine Film Festival, Saeed Taji Farouky relives the laughter amid the darkness and reveals humour's precious, humanising power.

Montenegro at a crossroads

Montenegrins' vote on their republic's asymmetrical state union with Serbia on 21 May emphasises the ongoing transformation of the Balkans, says TK Vogel.

Iraq's partition fantasy

The supporters of an Iraq divided into three ignore the lessons of Iraq's history, says Reidar Visser.

London's intelligence failure

Three official reports into the July 2005 bombings suggest that Britain’s establishment is evading the connection between the attacks and the Iraq war.

The convergence bluff

The new Israeli prime minister's "convergence plan" is a Trojan horse, warns Jesse Fox. Ehud Olmert's record in office shows that he is not preparing for peace.

A parallel universe

The building of a massive new United States embassy and military bases in and around Baghdad signals the US determination to remain in Iraq for the long term.

Saudi Arabia's women pioneers

In the only country in the world where women are forbidden to drive, one pioneering woman obtained a pilot's licence last year. This year, a few determined female students have embarked on Saudi Arabia's first ever engineering degree for women. In the midst of rapid economic growth and social change, Saudi Arabia is a place of paradox, an extremely conservative desert kingdom where you can sit in the world's only gender-segregated Starbucks franchises and use a mobile phone that recites the Quran.

The new opium war

The expansion of the opium economy in Afghanistan is contributing to a deteriorating security situation in the country.

The wrong way to combat terrorism

A militaristic approach and a law-based vision are competing to shape the world's anti-terrorism efforts, says Sadakat Kadri.

Man in the shadows: an interview with Efraim Halevy

Efraim Halevy presided over such controversial Israeli policies as targeted assassinations. The former Mossad chief talks to Jane Kinninmont about the challenges facing Israel and the prospect of engaging with Hamas. It's time to "think the unthinkable".

A wager on war

The United States military is preparing for the "long war" by shifting its tactics and expanding its ambitions.

The agreement on 22 April that Nouri (formerly Jawad) al-Maliki will replace Ibrahim al-Jaafari as the new Iraqi prime minister appears at last to mark progress towards a stable government.

Iran: war by October?

Washington's political timetable may turn harsh rhetoric into military escalation, unless voices of restraint in both the United States and Iran can prevail.

The nuclear-weapons gambit

The world avoided nuclear catastrophe during the cold war, but the era's real history has an ominous lesson for the period of "war on terror".

Back to the future: the cartoons, liberalism, and global Islam

Muslim protests over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed mark the arrival of a force challenging liberal democracy from the future: a global Islam that is inventing new forms of ethical and political practice for a global arena. Faisal Devji, author of "Landscapes of the Jihad", maps the trajectory of this ultra-modern phenomenon.

On 30 September 2005 the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a number of caricatures on the subject of Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed.

The Islamisation of Pakistan

Religious obscurantism and political weakness are combining to destroy Pakistan, argues Maruf Khwaja.

Terror, law and human rights in the Arab Gulf states

The Arab Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, along with Iraq, have carved out new laws designed to counter terrorism on their soil. Mohamed Al Roken considers their precepts in the light of international human-rights conventions.
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