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This week's editor

Olly Huitson, Editor

Oliver Huitson is Co-Editor at OurKingdom and a freelance journalist.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Jordan's 9/11

The Amman hotel bombs have ripped through peaceful Jordan. They represent a dangerous and potent fusion of domestic dissent, revulsion at American influence, Iraqi-influenced insurgent violence and global jihadism, writes James Howarth in Amman.

The rules of the game: Britain's counter-terrorism strategy

The British government has suffered a major defeat on its post-7/7 counter-terrorism proposals, but its plans still threaten the democratic balance between security and liberty, and thus jeopardise both, say Stuart Weir & Andrew Blick.

Learning from Fallujah's agony

The second siege of Fallujah by United States forces in November 2004 inflicted huge damage and casualties on the Iraqi city. Scilla Elworthy asks what went wrong, and what strategy could have worked better for civilians and military alike.

Kashmir's tragic opportunity

Pakistan’s aid efforts are in chaos. The jihadi bombs in New Delhi are venomous. But a limited border opening across Kashmiri lines offers hope for real peace between India and Pakistan, says Muzamil Jaleel.

When the earth shook and the mountains shuddered for a few minutes on the morning of 8 October, the hostile line of control (LoC) – that has split the Himalayan region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan since 1947 – suddenly disappeared.

Iran and the United States: a clash of perceptions

The rhetoric of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ambition of George W Bush are making an attack on Iran more likely.

Delhi's bombs: landscape of jihad in south Asia

The terrorist attacks in India are already having a significant impact on Indian Muslim opinion, says Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr in New Delhi.

Muslims: made in Europe?

The idea that a Muslim community is a European neo-colonial invention is a myth; rather, the emergence of this community represents a rebuke to European claims to universalism, argue Cemalettin Hasimi & Shehla Khan.

Iraqi and American body-counts

The return to Vietnam-era “body-counts” of enemy dead in Iraq is a signal of a military strategy in deep trouble.

Kosovo: the end of the beginning

After six years of stalemate, talks between Serbian and Kosovon Albanians on the future constitutional status of the disputed territory are imminent. James Walston, recently in Kosovo, assesses their likely outcome.

To Iraq and back with the National Guard

A TV documentary series about “citizen-soldiers” in Iraq and their families at home is a moving portrait that exposes growing doubts about the war, says Robert W Snyder.

Multiculturalism and 7/7: neither problem nor solution

Both multiculturalists like Tariq Modood and Bhikhu Parekh and their “solidaristic” critics like Gilles Kepel and David Goodhart are locked into the dead-end of identity politics. The real challenge is to create a genuinely inclusive and liberal public space, says Paul Kelly.

After Syria

The departure of Syrian military forces has left affected village communities in Lebanon with mixed feelings, reports Alex Klaushofer.

Kashmir: the politics of an earthquake

The jihadi-led aid efforts after the cataclysmic Kashmir earthquake expose deep fractures in Pakistani politics, reports Jan McGirk.

They say that not even a single leaf on a tree can shake in Pakistan without the army and its dreaded intelligence service, the ISI, knowing about it.

Against boycott and its rhetoric: a reply to Omar Barghouti

“The actual meaning of ‘true peace based on justice’ is that Israel must be punished before a Palestinian is allowed to greet an Israeli in the street”. The Palestinian writer Samir El-youssef dissects the language of Omar Barghouti’s call for a boycott of Israel.

A world becoming more peaceful?

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There appear good reasons for most people to think that the world is becoming a more dangerous place. In the four years since the 9/11 attacks, the George W Bush administration has pursued a vigorous counter-terrorism policy that has already terminated two regimes and has, at a conservative estimate, seen at least 40,000 people killed, most of them civilians. United States forces are mired in a deep and bitter insurgency in Iraq, and almost 20,000 more troops are active against a determined Taliban guerrilla force in Afghanistan; they have also engaged in border clashes with Syria, and are involved in a tense standoff with Iran over the latter’s nuclear developments.

The 'Muslim community': a European invention

Europeans’ tendency to view immigrants from Algeria and Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq as belonging to a single, homogeneous “Muslim community” reflects an essentialist, neo-colonial view of the “other” which carries negative political consequences, argue Hazem Saghieh & Saleh Bechir.

Iraq: unified by oil?

Iraq’s people vote on their draft constitution on 15 October. A single sentence in the document may be the key to its success, says Tamara Chalabi.

Iraq: a constitution to nowhere

The Iraqi constitution may lead to the country’s disintegration, says Zaid Al-Ali. How did Iraqis reach this point?

America, Iraq, and al-Qaida: no success like failure

Are the thwarted al-Qaida attacks proclaimed by George W Bush evidence of success or failure in the “war on terror”?

No going home to Kosovo

Serbians displaced from Kosovo after the 1999 war, like the disputed territory itself, are in limbo. John Dyer reports from Krusevac, southern Serbia.

The left and al-Qaida: two cheers for Sasha Abramsky

Leftists like Tariq Ali, Robert Fisk, John Pilger, and Arundhati Roy are not misguided progressives but on the other side of freedom, says Eli Lake.

Pakistan's mountain tsunami

“As usual, God is being unjustly blamed for tragedies that are the consequence in large part of human failure.” Maruf Khwaja weighs the balance of cosmic justice and earthly negligence revealed by the Kashmir earthquake.

Even before the devastated coasts and archipelagos of the eastern Indian Ocean had revealed their dead after the tsunami of 26 December 2004, obscurantist mullahs in Pakistan were explaining away to the faithful the largest seaborne disaster in recorded history as “Allah’s punishment” of those who had turned His land into the “playgroun

Iraq's insurgency calculations

United States forces cannot win in Iraq, but neither can they retreat in disarray. So what next?

Whose al-Qaida problem?

Much of the left’s opposition to the Iraq war and the Bush administration’s anti-terror campaigns – voiced by figures like Tariq Ali, Robert Fisk, George Galloway, Naomi Klein, and John Pilger – has blinded it to the need to engage with real problems and threats, says Sasha Abramsky.

Remaking multiculturalism after 7/7

Britain’s multicultural model is held responsible for the London bombs of July 2005. Rather, says Tariq Modood, it needs to be extended to a “politics of equal respect” that includes Britain’s Muslims in a new, shared sense of national belonging.

The Pentagon's overstretch

A rebuff from the United States’s Nato partners over counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan reveals the military and political pressures facing the Pentagon.

The morality of a cultural boycott of Israel

Israel’s breaches of human rights and international law give moral force to the argument for an international boycott, says Palestinian writer Omar Barghouti.

Planning for failure in Iraq

Iraqi realities belie Washington’s picture of military progress and bring closer the prospect of civil war and division of the country.

Who labels who? A reply to Ehsan Masood

The differences among British Muslims should not be aligned with the events of 7 July in London. Both the BBC’s John Ware and Ehsan Masood in openDemocracy have got the community wrong, says Abdullah al-Kateb.

9/11, four years after

openDemocracy’s editor Isabel Hilton introduces a selection of the reflections and analyses we have published about the “two hours that shook the world”.

Iraq's burning month

A Katyusha rocket attack on United States warships in Aqaba, Jordan, is a telling indicator of the evolving al-Qaida menace.

Mourning in America

The United States government is not merely incompetent but criminally negligent in its response to Hurricane Katrina, argues Thomas R Asher.

Boycotting Israel: a reply to Linda Grant

Those opposing a cultural and academic boycott of Israel should examine the South African precedent, says Jacqueline Rose.

The SWISH Report (4)


May we first thank you for giving us this opportunity to produce this report. We were surprised and pleased when the International Security Policy Group at 10 Downing Street contracted us to produce a report for them four months ago, as we thought this was an innovative attempt to obtain a wider view of the progress of what you still call your "global war on terror".

As you will recall, our previous consultancies in this field were for a somewhat different group, the Strategic Planning Cell of al-Qaida, and we are pleased that you and your British colleagues have recognised that, as consultants, we will work with anyone.

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