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This week's editor

Tom Rowley is editor of oDR.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Victims of the bulldogs under that carpet

In Maxim Kantor’s opinion, the 39 deaths in the Moscow metro bombings on 29 March are victims of that fight between bulldogs under the carpet, as Churchill described Russian politics. The victims are always the poor, never the bulldogs. And guess who gains by the tragedy?

Uganda rebels deny northeast Congo massacre

LRA rebel group denies any involvement in mass killings in Congo. Burmese opposition decides to boycott election. North Korea feared responsible for sunk South Korean ship. Afghan offensive in Kandahar to be launched in June. All this and much more, in today’s security briefing.

The forgotten impact of a war that didn't happen

Nuclear weapons were at the heart of the Cold War. Yet the broader impact of the arms race on politics and society has been forgotten. This is unfortunate, argues Holger Nehring, as the impact of the shared fear of total war that the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union created lies at the core of the problems in the transatlantic relationship. President Obama’s attempts to create a nuclear weapons free world and his willingness to sign a new agreement on the reduction of intercontinental nuclear weapons with his Russian counterpart President Medvedev only hides this uncomfortable reality.

Happy Passover from Gaza

Traditional items on the Seder plate in the ceremonial meal which marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover prompt thoughts on the myth and reality of national liberation

Female suicide bombers hit Moscow Metro

Moscow Metro blasts kill 37. Israel closes the West Bank as U.S.-Israeli relations worsen. President Obama makes surprise visit to Afghanistan. Violence in Iraq as coalition talks begin. Thai protests continue as protest leaders meet with PM. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Iraq election tensions threaten renewed instability

The close race in Iraq’s elections sparks heightened tensions. The head of NATO calls for a missile defence pact targeting Iran. A South Korean vessel sinks off the coast of North Korea. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Hitler and the challenge of non-violence

What was done to counter the ’rise and rise’ of Adolf Hitler, fascist German leader, in the 1930’s? What could have been done?

Amnesty: human rights, political wrongs

An intense controversy over Amnesty International's association with people who reject its universalist principles has been sparked by its treatment of a senior figure who raised the issue. Here, a global petition signed by prominent writers and activists poses questions to the human-rights organisation and defends the now suspended Gita Sahgal; and Amnesty’s own statement reaffirms its values.

(This article was first published on 22 March 2010)

Afghanistan: victory talk, regional tide

A seductive narrative of military progress in Afghanistan is spreading among United States analysts. The real story is more complicated.

Kashgar’s old city: landscape of loss

The Chinese authorities’ continuing demolition of the urban heartland of Uyghur society is also the outward face of a deeper dispossession, says Henryk Szadziewski.

Argentina y las Malvinas: in search of reality

The revival of Argentina’s dispute with Britain over the south Atlantic island territory owes much to the political character of Cristina Kirchner’s government. But it also reveals the distance travelled since the war of 1982, says Celia Szusterman.

Netanyahu meets Obama in midst of Jerusalem settlement row

Netanyahu meets Obama in midst of Jerusalem settlement row. US-Pakistani talks seek better ties. Amnesty International urges Malaysia to protect migrant workers. Somali pirates seize ships in long-range attacks. US pledges support for Mexico drug war. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Major Taliban allies in peace talks with Karzai

Afghan president holds talks with leading militant group. Sudan threatens to throw out international election observers. Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan to come under renewed investigation. North Korea to try American man for illegal entry. All this and much more, in today’s security briefing.

America and Israel: a historic choice

The serious row between Washington and Tel Aviv is about far more than the construction of homes in east Jerusalem; it goes to the heart of the close military alliance between the two states.

(This article was first published on 18 March 2010)

The rise and fall of Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Does a personal vendetta lie behind the imprisonment of Russia’s once-richest oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky? Was the Kremlin the real power behind the murder of the mayor of Nefteyugansk, for which Khodorkovsky is being punished? Jeremy Putley reviews a well-researched new book by Martin Sixsmith

Mitchell called in after bloody weekend in the West Bank

U.S. envoy dispatched following settlement row and escalating violence in the West Bank. Tight race as Iraqis await final election results. FARC kidnaps five in Colombia. Influential Nepalese peace broker dies at 86. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Taliban break off closet negotiations after Pakistani crackdown

The former UN envoy to Afghanistan criticises Pakistan’s arrest of senior Taliban figures, saying this has put talks with the militant leadership at risk. The Quartet condemns Israeli settlement construction. The Burmese military sustains casualties fighting against northern rebel groups. All of this and much more, in today’s security update.

Forgotten lessons: Palestine and the British empire

While the conflict that is the legacy of British involvement in Palestine daily captures world headlines, Britain's foster-role is too often ignored. Such an omission is all the more tragic, James Renton argues, since mandate era misjudgements are being readily repeated.

The myths that surround the military's power to do good

"We need to construct ourselves as cooperative entities, so that the way we understand belonging and identity does not have to be predicated on hostility towards others. Diana Francis talks to Vanessa Alexander and Jonathan Cohen about her latest book From Pacification to Peacebuilding.

Eat or be eaten: courting disaster

Two very different ways of viewing the world result in radically different ways of approaching conflict. When we come from the viewpoint of ‘eat or be eaten’, the whole of life is a contest for control; when we ground ourselves in the notion of interdependence we work to a very different agenda.

A media eclipse: Israel-Palestine and the world's forgotten conflicts

Global coverage of world conflicts pales into insignificance when compared with reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Noah Bernstein explores the causes and consequences of such an imbalance.

'Red Shirts' continue symbolic blood protest in Bangkok

‘Red Shirts’ continue symbolic blood protest in Bangkok. Israel lifts West Bank closure. North Korea has 1,000 missiles, says South Korea. Erdogan warns that Turkey might deport up to 100,000 Armenians. Yemen rebels free 178 soldiers and civilians. Fresh clashes erupt near the central Nigerian city of Jos. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Illegal and ineffective? Drone strikes and targetted killing in 'the war on terror'

The use of drone strikes in Pakistan and around the world has been attacked as counterproductive and ineffective but the question of whether such strikes are legal is less frequently raised. When and where does a drone strike contravene international law, and what are the implications of their illegal use for the hoped-for spread of the rule of law to the present battlegrounds of 'the war on terror'?

Venezuela obtains Chinese warplanes for ‘anti-drugs fight’

Chinese J-8 attack jets delivered in Venezuela. Sri Lankan general goes on military trial while supporters protest. Nigerian militants attack city with car bombs. South African youth leader found guilty of hate speech. All this and much more, in today’s security briefing.

A moderate Israeli leader visits the LSE

In the audience of a London School of Economics panel chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi to discuss the findings of the Goldstone Report and peace in the Middle East, a Palestinian student ponders the contribution of Admiral Ami Ayalon

Israeli settlement announcement stalls peace drive in middle east

Israeli settlement announcement creates further tension. Thai protests as PM refuses ultimatum. Public frustration in Iraq as al-Maliki pulls ahead. Growing arms trade could spark global arms race. Top Hamas leader arrest in West Bank. All this and more, in today’s openSecurity update.

From a culture of war to a culture of peace

The time has run out for traditional military answers. Ours is a culture of war, but cultures can change. We need education in peace and in international understanding, as so much more

Chaff, noise and fog in the climate debate

The UEA emails affair, together with the religiosity of some people’s approach on either side of the argument, has quite a lot to tell us about the way forward

Guns: the unending cycle of violence

The words of the women paralleled each other as they described how armed violence in the home and community, armed conflict, and the availability and misuse of guns feed each other in an unending cycle. These are not simple issues with easy solutions, but Sarah Masters says that this cannot justify apathy, silence, and inaction

Palestinian-Israeli talks in the balance as IDF locks down West Bank

The IDF locks down parts of the occupied West Bank as uncertainty looms over talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Thailand increases security measures ahead of protests planned for Sunday. The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma calls for a commission to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed by the junta. An opposition leader in the Gambia has said that individuals recently detained by the government do not know why they are being held. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Efforts to revive middle east peace talks overshadowed by Israeli settlement construction in east Jerusalem

Efforts to revive middle east peace talks overshadowed by Israeli settlement construction in east Jerusalem. Tibet marks anniversary of 1959 uprising. Ahmadinejad in Afghanistan for talks. Governor of Plateau State blames Nigerian army for killings. Aung San Suu Kyi barred from polls. Aid workers killed in Pakistan. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Peacekeepers still needed in Central African Republic

Photographs from a forgotten conflict… Anna Husarska argues that more attention to the Central African Republic is needed as it works toward restoring peace and security

Hizbollah vs Israel: the coming clash

A shifting balance of calculation in the middle east makes Lebanon’s Hizbollah movement more confident in its strategy of “deterrence-by-terror” vis-à-vis Israel, says Robert G Rabil

Burma publishes first of five new election laws

Burmese military junta unveil laws for elections later this year. French navy captures 35 Somali pirate suspects. Bali bombing mastermind thought dead after shoot-out with Indonesian police. Iran calls for China to withstand sanctions pressure. All this and much more, in today's security briefing.

Attacks kill 38 on polling day in Iraq

Attacks on election day kill 38 in Iraq. Renewed peace effort for Israel and Palestine. US-South Korean military drills spark North Korean anger. Reprisal attacks leave at least 100 dead in Nigeria. Explosion in Lahore kills 11. All this as more, in today’s update.
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