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This week's editors

RB, editor

Rosemary Bechler edits openDemocracy's main site.

Parvati Nair directs the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility.


Cameron Thibos edits Mediterranean Journeys in Hope.

En Liang Khong is assistant editor at openDemocracy.

Alex Sakalis is the editor of Can Europe Make It?

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Hung Parliament raises questions on UK security policy

The outcome of the UK general election raises serious concerns regarding foreign and security policy. North Korea is committed to resuming negotiations over its nuclear weapons programme. The political alliance set to become the new government of Iraq is bitterly criticised as being sectarian and ‘Iran-orchestrated’. All this and more, in today’s security update…

Rescuing Ukraine from NATO

President Yanukovich sees it as his mission to protect the country from NATO. That’s why he extended that lease allowing Russia’s fleet to stay in Crimea. For as long as the fleet stays in Ukraine, the country cannot join NATO

US to extend sanctions on Syria for another year

US extends sanctions on Syria for a further year. Times Square bomb suspect. Yemeni ship seized by Somali pirates. Greeks take to street in protest at latest package of austerity measures. All this and more in today's update.

Afghanistan: a phantom endgame

The nature and future of Afghanistan’s war is now bound to international political calculation, not least the United States’s electoral timetable.

US walks diplomatic tightrope in Arab-Israeli conflict

The United States treads a narrow tightrope in Middle East diplomacy. Over a hundred insurgents are killed in a bloody clash in Chad. South Korean and Chinese Presidents discuss the sinking of the Cheonan. Five rebels are killed in the Philippines ahead of national elections. All this and more, in today’s security update…

Who is responsible? An interview with Fred Halliday

Fred Halliday, who died on 26 April, talks to Danny Postel about realpolitik, religion, universal rights and the pitfalls of the Left. He discusses the need to combine solidarity with critical distance, to know what is really happening in Third World countries. This interview, published in Salmagundi, not previously available on the web, was recorded on 23 November 2005, in Chicago.

Nuclear weapons: beyond non-proliferation?

The stakes are high and the outcome too close to call as the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty opens for four weeks of intense debate in New York.

Fears of renewed violence after Bashir wins Sudanese election

South and North Sudan at risk of violence after election results contested. Niger food crisis worsens. Soldier killed in Thai protests. Sarkozy pushes for Chinese support of sanctions against Iran. All this and more in today's update.

Egypt convicts Hezbollah suspects

Egypt convicts Hezbollah suspects. Human Rights Watch says Iraq torture routine. Blast in Peshawar kills four policemen. Migrants in Mexico face 'human rights crisis.' Sahara states to escalate anti-al Qaeda mission. US begins inquiry into spy network in Pakistan. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Abbas embargoes Israeli settlements

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas imposes embargo on settlement goods. Thai government alleges red shirt movement is a republican plot. US sets out plans for a one-hour missile strike capacity. Ukraine in tumultuous vote to extend Russian lease of Black Sea base. All this and more in today's briefing.

Obama's plan for Iran and Chinese resistance

Iran's fate rests on US relations with an emerging Chinese-Russian axis

The Baloch people have a right to self-determination

The Baloch people, who have suffered decades of repression, deserve the right to self-determination.

The strongest power of all

If violence is out, what power can nonviolence offer? Courage, numbers and solidarity are vital to confront oppressive power, but macho dynamics perpetuate aggression. Human connections are the key to transformation

Unprecedented protests in Lebanon call for secularism

Lebanese protestors demand secularism. Thai PM rejects protestors’ offer as counter-movements gain strength. Clashes in south Sudan kill 58. Al-Qaeda confirms death of top leaders. Iran tests new missiles in annual military manoeuvers. All this and more, in today's security update.

Armenian genocide and Turkey: then and now

The destruction of the Ottoman Armenians began on 24 April 1915. Almost a century later the contemporary political relevance of the "great catastrophe" remains undiminished, says Vicken Cheterian.

Securing our future for the future

The second TV debate, purporting to focus on foreign affairs, failed to address Britain's role in the world.

Papua: the elusive dialogue

An initiative to address the complex conflicts in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua seeks to learn from past failure by extending the understanding of dialogue, says Charles Reading.

A tale of three cities: Washington, Baghdad, Tehran

The United States's war in Iraq failed to curb Iranian influence in the region. The war's architects now seek to make Tehran pay for their mistake.

Rwandan opposition leader appears in court

Rockets intended for Israel hit Jordan. Sudan poll results delayed amid fraud allegations. Blasts shake tense Thai capital. All this and more in today's briefing.

From Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos and the other Chagos Islands - people speak out

The people of Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos and the other Chagos Islands speak out on Britain’s proposal for a Marine Protected Area

Don't mention the war. Grow up.

The Liberal Democrat leader wrote this article for the Guardian in 2002. It is now being used against him by a hysterically melancholic tabloid press in Britain. We are proud to republish it.

Iran accuses US of nuclear threats

Tehran criticises US' nuclear threats. Victory likely for Bashir after controversial Sudanese elections. Peshawar stuck by twin suicide attacks. Ethnic violence threatens Kyrgyz interim government. All this and more in today's update.

The Arab-Israeli war of narratives

The Arab-Israeli war of narratives that has led to Holocaust-denial on the one hand and Nakba-denial on the other opposes two entirely symmetrical visions of the origins of this intractable conflict. In Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives, Gilbert Achcar traces a complex history of interpretations from Arab responses to the earliest intimations of the Nazi genocide, through the creation of Israel and the occupation of Palestine, to last winter's Israeli offensive against Gaza. Demonstrating that to the present day there has never been one Holocaust-denying ‘Arab’ narrative, Achcar calls for a genuine dialogue based on a full and mutual recognition of both the Holocaust and the Nakba. We publish two extracts from the book’s Introduction which trace the origins of the narratives around these two terms.

Thai army deployed as ‘red-shirts’ move towards Bangkok’s business district

Political upheaval in Thailand reaches new levels as opposition threaten counter-protests. Sudan elections criticised, but seen as positive step forward. Iranian leader Khameini labels US ‘nuclear criminal’. Constitutional clause hinders formation of new Iraqi government. Clinton urges renewed peace efforts in the Middle East. All this and more, in todays security update.

Getting to peace: what kind of movement?

Today’s antiwar movements could become wider and deeper and more united if they took the critique of gender properly to heart

Cambodia: surviving the Khmer Rouge

On 17 April 1975, the Khmer Rouge began a terrible political experiment in Cambodia. It was to last for four years. Var Hong Ashe tells the epic story of how she survived it.

(This article was first published on 15 April 2005)   

Cyprus: local perception, European illusion

The chances of an internal resolution of the enduring Cyprus conflict are receding. This reinforces the temptation of many to embrace a “European solution” as the way forward. But the European Union's understanding of democracy is less principled than Greek Cypriots would like it to be, says Hubert Faustmann.

Parallel paths: radicalisation and terrorism

Demos' latest report, 'The edge of violence', sets out a new agenda for counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation strategies in Canada and Europe. While it breaks important ground, it leaves significant questions unanswered, argues Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-Seal.

Russia-Poland: a history too terrible

The plane crash at Smolensk which Poland’s president has provoked an outpouring of Russian sympathy, from Putin down. It has helped many Russians identify their country’s responsibility for the Katyn massacre in 1940. But it has left many others unmoved, even cynical. ‘Re-setting’ Russian-Polish relations is not going to be easy.

Could Abkhazia be smothered by its new best friend?

Seventeen years after civil war, Abkhazia is finally recovering under Russian protection. But many inside the country are unhappy, fearing association with their big brother will result in another loss of independence.

Impossible bedfellows: civil-military cooperation through NATO's eyes

In a continued search for relevance in the post-Cold War world, the armed forces of NATO have adopted a burgeoning humanitarian and development agenda. But military and civilian intervention in conflict zones cannot and should not be amalgamated, argues Gloria Martinez.

The nuclear-weapons risk

The Washington-hosted summit on nuclear security heard Barack Obama warn of the fearful prospect of a non-state group using a nuclear weapon. How realistic is it, and how to prevent it?

The Sahara's new cargo: drugs and radicalism

A fusion of illicit money-making and radical politics is turning the big empty spaces of the western half of the Sahara into a profound security challenge, says Stephen Ellis.

Serbia’s mixed messages

The war-crimes trials that divide the states of post-Yugoslavia underline the temptations of retreat to the nationalist past, says Eric Gordy.

Ambitious goals set at nuclear summit

Nuclear summit sets lofty goals for member nations. Interim Kyrgyz government asserts its authority. Fighting displaces 100,000 in Mogadishu, says UN. Thai red shirt protesters refuse talks. Mexico's drug violence kills 23,000. Hostilities erupt in southern Philippine island. All this and more in today’s security briefing.
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