This week's editor

Jeremy Noble, editor

This week Jeremy Noble and the oDR team edit the front page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Lebanon's election, no solution

Lebanese democracy has spoken. But Syrian influence, Hizbollah’s weapons, United States intransigence, sectarian divisions, personal rivalries, and regional pressures signal an unstable road ahead for the “cedar revolution”, reports Hazem Saghieh.

Before the flood

The peoples of the middle east need to create new ways of living together that recall the rich historical mixing of Muslims, Christians and Jews, says Jihad N Fakhreddine.

Ahmed, a story of Iraq

Alya Shakir’s family has survived wars, conscription, prison, robbery and exile, but it is a 3-year-old cousin who opens her eyes to Iraq’s current nightmare.

An unwinnable war

Donald Rumsfeld has broken a taboo: the United States military cannot win in Iraq.

Between Iraq and Afghanistan

The two main combat-zones of George W Bush’s “war on terror” are providing an education in guerrilla warfare to a new generation of militants.

Iraq: the wrong war

The global political economy is producing failed states, networked insurgency and extremist politics. Fighting “old wars” in response, as in Iraq, is a guarantee of failure, says Mary Kaldor.

Letter to my Baghdad friends

For this American writer in Amman, Jordan, the nearness of her beloved Baghdad evokes an intense longing to return. But she cannot.

Bush's credibility gulf

The gap between the United States’s words and deeds in Iraq and Afghanistan is sowing bitter seeds that George W Bush’s successors will harvest.

Lebanon's pre-election hangover

Political party games are dominating the election campaign in Lebanon, but the issues of Hizbollah and Iran cannot be long avoided, says Zaid Al-Ali in Beirut.

The SWISH Report (3)

Introduction

We would first like to take this opportunity to thank you for coming to us for an independent assessment. You might have chosen one of the many consultancies available in Britain, even though they may have a marked tendency to tell you what you want to hear. We therefore welcome this unusual opportunity to give a candid and independent assessment of policy options and we hope that you will accept a certain degree of blunt speaking as we feel you will find this of particular use, given the experience of the recent election campaign. We assume that the particular experience of the campaign is the main reason you are seeking fully independent advice.

The end of secularism in Iraq

The domination of politics by religion is a relatively recent trend in Iraq – and offers no long-term solution to Iraq’s crisis, says Zaid Al-Ali.

Letters from Hiroshima

As the Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty continues in New York, openDemocracy publishes letters from the mayor of Hiroshima. The letters, sent to world leaders each time they authorise the detonation of a nuclear weapon, are part of the city’s vow to remind the world of the horrors of atomic warfare.

Climate change's nuclear fix

The threat posed by global warming is fuelling the arguments of the nuclear-power lobby, but how convincing are its claims?

Hizbollah's warning flight

A dramatic, under-reported incident over northern Israel carries a sobering message for United States strategists in Iraq.

Iraq's end to optimism

With renewed insurgency, cowed security forces, and stuck politics, can the United States hold the line in Iraq?

Boycotting Israel: the uses of history

Britain’s Association of University Teachers has voted to boycott Israel. Stephen Howe scrupulously maps the background to a bitter controversy over historical truth and academic freedom.

Iraq's state of insecurity

The current spiral of violence in Iraq is sending a long-term message to United States forces.

Kashmir's bus ride to peace

The bus linking Muzaffarabad and Srinagar across divided Kashmir may thaw the most bitter of all disputes between India and Pakistan, writes Muzamil Jaleel in Srinagar.

Washington's Iraq panic attack

The visits to Baghdad of Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Zoellick are a sign of Washington’s profound worries over Iraq’s future.

Caught in Iraq's pincer

Iraq has a government at last, but can it cope with the insurgents who launched the large-scale attack on Abu Ghraib prison?

America's nuclear gamble

United States policy towards nuclear weapons proliferation on the eve of the Non-Proliferation Treaty five-year review sends a warning signal to the world.

Democracy from America? An Arab's advice

Any United States effort to bring democracy and freedom to the middle east needs to respect eight principles of action, says Rami G. Khouri.

It's the oil, stupid

Washington doesn’t yet get it, but in the Gulf region the view is crystal-clear: the geopolitics of oil is driving United States military strategy in Iraq

Parallel politics in Iraq

As politicians squabble in Baghdad, does a gathering of Iraqis in Cairo more truly represent the country’s interests?

Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq

“The dead tell no stories. It is the wounded that survive and present us with our own complicity”. To mark the second anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, openDemocracy presents ten portraits from “Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq”, the acclaimed photography collection on wounded American soldiers, by the award-winning photographer Nina Berman.

Iraq: the way forward

Can the war be won? Tim Garden, former assistant chief of the UK defence staff, maps a minefield.

Kirkuk: microcosm of Iraq

Want to understand Iraq two years after the start of the war? Take a look at Kirkuk, says Kurdish journalist Omar A Omar.

Iraq united: Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim interviewed

Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the largest party in the victorious Shi’a coalition likely to dominate Iraq’s new government, talks to Anwar Rizvi about uniting Iraq, defeating insurgency, and keeping faith with an Iran threatened by United States attack.

Pulled from the Rubble

The August 2003 UN truck bomb in Baghdad was one of the worst attacks in the organisation’s history. How do you react when you find out your father is one of the wounded, and the only survivor from the most devastated part of the building? Suddenly politics becomes personal. How do you even begin to rebuild your life after such an event? You make the acclaimed documentary film “Pulled from the Rubble” telling your family’s story. Margaret Loescher talks to Maryam Maruf about the decisions of a filmmaker, the failure of American foreign policy, barbeques, and her dad, Gil.

Afghanistan from Taliban to heroin

There are echoes of Colombia in Afghanistan’s booming drug economy. Did the United States defeat the Taliban only to lose to a poppy?

Santiago is the next step

The Club de Madrid’s international summit has united pro-democracy and anti-terrorism agendas. The Community of Democracies’ meeting in Chile must sustain the momentum, says George Soros.

The end of the IRA

Five fearless, grieving sisters may break the back of Europe’s most successful terrorist movement, writes Robin Wilson in Northern Ireland

Terrorism and its consequences: a tale of three cities

The journey from New York via Belfast to the Madrid summit on terrorism and democracy teaches Fred Halliday, in Spain's capital, a lesson about progressive politics.

Confident Iran

Iran’s leadership feels that events in Iraq and the region are going their way, finds our global security correspondent on a visit to Tehran.

Lebanon before and after Syria

Lebanon’s recovery of national independence requires a full accounting of Syria’s role in its destruction, says Roger Scruton.
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