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This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Strategy and insurgency: an evolution in thinking?

America's internecine counter-insurgency debate is now making some progress, though not on a single predefined path.

Abkhazia: two years of independence

The small Black Sea republic of Abkhazia, already free of Georgia’s control since the war of 1992-93, emerged more secure from the Georgia-Russia war of August 2008. But if the “dreadful” years of its modern history have ended, the young state is now living through “difficult” times. George Hewitt, in Sukhum, reports and reflects.

Covering the conflict: Human rights and journalism in Northern Ireland

Did journalists do enough to defend human rights during the troubles in Northern Ireland? That was a key question in a fascinating debate in Belfast last week under the auspices of Amnesty International and Féile an Phobail.

Al-Qaida’s business jihad

The failed assault on a Japanese oil supertanker is, alongside developments in Iraq and Yemen, a signal of the al-Qaida movement’s protean challenge.

Kigali grenade attack injures seven days after Kagame re-elected

Grenade attack rocks Kigali just two days after Kagame re-elected as president, while opposition groups urge international community to reject result. The Lord’s Resistance Army is violently abducting recruits in central Africa, according to a recent report from Human Rights Watch. A top Iraqi general insists Iraq not ready for troop withdrawal, but comments brushed off by US and Iraqi officials. Car bomb rocks Bogota in first security test for Santos. All this and more in today’s briefing...

Farming in Gaza

Our Gaza correspondent goes on a visit to the countryside, to see how farmers who have survived every sort of setback are faring this summer

Sakartvelo: a political prospect

The two years since the war of August 2008 have been tough for Georgia. But in domestic politics and foreign relations alike the country has achieved more than once seemed possible, says Alexander Rondeli.

Can the flotilla inquiry save the Israeli-Turkish alliance?

An inquiry into Israel's raid on the Mamara is unlikely to heal the fractures of the Turkish-Israeli relationship. A definitive break in relations would alter the strategic balance of the middle east, leaving the possibility of peace even more forlorn, argues Avni Dogru.

Pakistan vs India in Afghanistan: David Cameron's reason

The British prime minister’s charge that Pakistan plays a prominent role in exporting terrorism is grounded in an assessment of the Afghanistan war's core strategic realities, says Shaun Gregory of the Pakistan Security Research Unit.

Georgia's plan for reunification

Georgia’s Minister for Reunification Temur Yakobashvili outlines his government’s plan to retrieve the territories lost two years ago, in its war with Russia

Israeli prime minister gives evidence at flotilla inquiry

Netanyahu says Israel acted legally during flotilla raid. North Korea fires artillery shells into waters near South Korean border. Abu Bakar Ba’asyir arrested in Indonesia. Venezuelan and Columbian presidents to meet for talks to restore diplomatic ties. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Kenya's new constitution

Overwhelming endorsement for the new constitution could be a major turning point. But only if an ambitious long-term process made by the people for the people can protect itself from sectarianisms old and new

Abkhazia and the Caucasus: the west’s choice

The Georgia-Russia war of August 2008 refroze a region. The small Black Sea nation of Abkhazia is the key to its unblocking, says Neal Ascherson.

China rising: what would Mackinder do?

Will China follow the course Mackinder plotted in relation to Tsarist Russia, turning inward once maritime expansion is checked?

Kashmir's e-protest

Fahad Shah reports on the rising tide of e-protest in Kashmir.

Sixty-five years after Hiroshima, the nightmare of nuclear war haunts us still

Daniel Bruno Sanz reviews the sci-fi imaginings of nuclear war and their place in contemporary consciousness.

Israel’s security trap

Israel’s combative military posture, evident both in a tense border skirmish with Lebanon and in its wider strategic plans, is a recipe for permanent insecurity.

Georgia, two years on: a future beyond war

A vicious short war between Georgia and Russia erupted on 8 August 2008 over one of Georgia's “occupied territories”, South Ossetia. Two years on, Mikheil Saakashvili remains in power, surrounded by another cluster of ambitious young colleagues. Tbilisi’s construction projects are transforming the city’s public spaces and social customs. A new realism governs foreign policy and economic ambitions, with Turkey an increasingly prominent neighbour. But amid the flux, the key to Georgia’s future relationship with Russia may lie in the distant past, says Donald Rayfield in a richly textured portrait.

Cameron was right: Pakistan has some soul searching to do

The outrage at David Cameron's criticism of Pakistan's role in combating terrorism hides the truth: Pakistan is a fractured society in need of rediscovering a sense of unity with which it can defeat the Taliban, argues Zainab Mahmood.

A Good Friday Agreement for Kashmir

The prospect for peace in Kashmir lies, according to Naveed Qazi, in an adaptation of an arrangement similar to the one that brought peace to North Ireland.

British prime minister's terrorism allegations anger Pakistan

Pakistani and British officials meet ahead of Zardari visit to London. One killed as rockets fired from Sinai towards Israel and Jordan. President Obama confirms US combat troop withdrawal from Iraq. Iranian president calls for one-on-one television debate with US president. Chechen leader hands over leadership to younger comrade. Sudan makes UN peacekeeping forces report all movement within the country. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Kosovo, law and politics

The International Court of Justice ruling on Kosovo’s independence offers the European Union a vital opportunity to lead the process that must follow, says Engjellushe Morina in Pristina.


Court scrutiny of the British security services is to be welcomed; we can't debate properly our security needs without openness.

Myanmar’s 2010 elections: a human rights perspective

Benjamin Zawacki of Amnesty International details the numerous human rights concerns raised by Myanmar's anticipated election.

The AfPak war via WikiLeaks

The release of official United States material by the website Wikileaks confirms and amplifies enduring political assessments of the Afghanistan war, not least on openDemocracy.

Lebanon's paths to war

The investigation into the assassination of President Rafiq Hariri is just one trigger among many that could lead Lebanon and the wider region to war.

Culturalism: culture as political ideology

More unites than divides Left and Right in the fierce debate on multiculturalism, argues Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt.

Kosovo, Serbia and Bosnia: after the ICJ

The International Court of Justice ruling on Kosovo’s declaration of independence benefits Serbia too. But what of its effects on Bosnia? Florian Bieber considers the implications of the ICJ opinion.

Wounded Afghan civilians - Nato's responsibility

Dave Lannen calls on Nato to make full provision for the care of wounded Afghan civilians.

Protection centres for victims of domestic abuse opened at Baghdad police stations

Iraqi interior ministry opens protection centres for victims of domestic abuse. Israeli defence minister says all Lebanon would be within bounds in case of Hezbollah confrontation. France declares war on al-Qaeda in northern Africa. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Manipulating the Memory of the Rwandan Genocide

The Rwandan government has made remarkable strides in infrastructure, the economy, healthcare, and gender equity in political representation,but their continued attack on independent thought and criticism is disheartening – and dangerous. As the August presidential election looms, it is important not only to hail Rwanda’s success but also to ask hard questions about government abuse of authority

Wikileaks release 90,000 documents relating to war in Afghanistan

US condemns release of tens of thousands of classified Afghan war documents. Duch, Pol Pot’s infamous prison chief, is jailed for 19 years. Tehran reacts angrily to further EU sanctions on Iran. Bangladeshi war crimes court issues first arrest warrants. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Is there a UK "deep state"?

A one-time senior British diplomat names his country's 'deep state' as acting to prevent public knowledge of what happened when it invaded Iraq. Is there really a state within the state in the UK?

Papuan struggle enters new phase

The Papuan movement is acting with a new strategic maturity in its quest for autonomy, argues Jason MacLeod.
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