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This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The Hizbollah project: last war, next war

The Hizbollah movement in Lebanon emerged intact and confident from war with Israel in July-August 2006. Since then it has reinvented its strategy, arsenal and thinking to pose an even greater threat to its enemy to the south. A forensic portrait of the world’s most sophisticated non-state force from Amal Saad-Ghorayeb.

Egypt: the blinkers of expertise

The tendency of foreign observers to reduce complex Egyptian reality to formulaic description misses some of its most significant and dynamic elements, says Tarek Osman.

(This article was first published on 12 August 2009)

Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a year on

The Georgia-Russia war of August 2008 has altered calculations about the future of the two territories that were central to the conflict. The scholar of Abkhazian linguistics and history, George Hewitt, offers an assessment from Sukhum.

(This article was first published on 11 August 2009)

The guns of August: non-event with consequences

The political fallout of the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008 affects far more than the main combatants: it has had a profound impact on the post-Soviet space, the United States, the European Union, even China and Turkey. Ivan Krastev draws up a balance-sheet of a toxic conflict, and looks ahead.

(This article was first published on 30 July 2009)

The human cost of war: name before shame

A precise record of the individual victims of war and conflict worldwide is emerging as a key objective of humanitarian work, says John Sloboda.

The WANA vision: regional model for global survival

The pressing challenge of climate change and associated problems of insecurity and development demands that the countries of west Asia and north Africa create new models of shared and inclusive cooperation, says Prince Hassan of Jordan.

Israel-Palestine: a man, a plan, and an outcome

The arrival of Barack Obama creates a last chance of real progress towards resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But to take it will require decisive leadership around a coherent strategy. Tony Klug outlines the key ingredients of a plan that speaks to the moment.

Israeli settlement, Arab movement

The issue of Israel’s West Bank settlements must not be subsumed by the larger Israel-Palestinian conflict, says Hazem Saghieh.

Afghanistan and Iraq: western wars, genocidal risks

The enormous harm inflicted on civilians by the “new western way of war” can be measured in tens of thousands of deaths and displacements. But Washington and London’s responsibility goes even wider, says Martin Shaw.

(This article was published on 24 July 2009)

Iran, the Arabs and Israel: the domino-effect

The United States is talking intensively to Syria and Hamas as well as Israel, Egypt and the Gulf states. But it is the Iran factor that is creating a new dynamic towards Arab-Israel normalisation, says Akiva Eldar.

Moldova: new generation, new politics?

Two young reformist politicians on either side of the separatist conflict in Moldova have made bold moves to assert their independence from ossified leadership, Will the new generation manage to free their country from the spell of the past, wonders Louis O'Neill

Somalia: between violence and hope

The endemic conflict in Somalia continues to devour lives and divert resources from the reconstruction of the country. Only a political solution that offers Somalis the promise of a better life will bring it to an end, say Harun Hassan & David Hayes.

(This article was first published on 15 July 2009)

Georgia: social chasm, political bridge

The dominant style of doing politics in Georgia inhibits the reforms the country needs to ensure its people’s progress. The region remains tense as the anniversary of the war with Russia approaches. But there is an available route beyond current discontent, says Robert Parsons.

Indonesia: bombs and politics

The Jakarta hotel bombs are evidence of a fragmentation of jihadi militancy in Indonesia. The attacks will have political consequences at elite level,  says Charles Reader.    

Hizbollah’s “divine victory”: three years on

The militant Islamist movement’s version of the war with Israel in July-August 2006 needs to be adjusted, says Hazem Saghieh.

Democracy-promotion: doctrine vs dialogue

George W Bush made democracy-support a central theme of his presidency. Barack Obama, by contrast, has downplayed it. Yet the latter's approach may achieve more effective results, says Mariano Aguirre.

The discovery of the Uyghurs

The unrest in China’s western province of Xinjiang - known to the Uyghurs as East Turkestan - has focused the world’s attention on a comparatively neglected people. It is long overdue, says Henryk Szadziewski of the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

(This article was originally published 9 July 2009) 

Russia – Belarus: an odd couple

The refusal of Belarus to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia points to a key factor behind its "marriage with Russia".  Both may favour a union, but for very different reasons, explains Sergei Markedonov

Arabs and the Iranian upheaval

The missed chances and false trails of the Arabs’ political projects are highlighted in their reaction to Iran’s proto-revolution, says Hazem Saghieh.

Georgia: between war and a future

A year after the disastrous war with Russia, the political elite in Tbilisi remains uncertain about how to define a way forward for the country. Vicken Cheterian assesses its predicament.

Israel’s path: from occupation to peace

The unravelling of the commitments made in earlier phases of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process must be reversed if Israel is to avoid international isolation, says Gershon Baskin.

The Uyghurs and China: lost and found nation

The broader roots of the eruption of protest in China's far-west region of Xinjiang lie in the experience of the Uyghur people under Beijing’s rule, says Yitzhak Shichor.

America, Russia, and a nuclear-free world

Behind the modest progress in arms-reduction agreed by Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev is a larger trend towards a world without nuclear weapons, says Andrew Mack.

Georgia's pluralistic feudalism: a frontline report

Georgia's leader-fixated politics lacks an institutional base and competing visions of the country's future. No wonder the gap between the rhetoric and reality of democracy is so sharp, finds Ilia Roubanis in Tbilisi.

Karabakh: peace, war and democracy

The dangerous tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the “frozen conflict” of Nagorno-Karabakh are growing. Hayk Kotanjian proposes a way forward from an official Armenian position. openDemocracy publishes the text as part of our longstanding and independent coverage of the Caucasus.

Iraq: face of corruption, mask of politics

The challenges to Iraq's authorities following the withdrawal of United States military forces from Iraq’s cities include building clean and efficient institutions that command the respect of citizens. The fight against corruption is central to the task, says Zaid Al-Ali.

We are visible

Katana Gégé Bukuru spoke to Isabel Hilton at the Nobel Women's Initiative gathering in Antigua about her work for women's human rights and the search for durable peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Sri Lanka - camps, media…genocide?

What kind of violence has the Sri Lankan state been committing against its Tamil civilian population as the island‘s civil war ended; on what scale and with what intentions? Martin Shaw explores the difficult terrain where war, atrocity and genocide meet.

Violence targets the weakest

We have found that the primary cause of all the violence and submission which women undergo is discrimination, and it is this which makes us more vulnerable than the others. Lucie Minzigama spoke to Isabel Hilton at the Nobel Women's initiative gathering in Guatemala about her work in Burundi working for women and children's human rights

Versailles, 1919-2009: a new world order’s legacy

The treaty concluded on 28 June 1918 reverberates today across a huge area from Iran and Iraq to the Balkans and even beyond, says David A Andelman.

Isaias Afewerki and Eritrea: a nation’s tragedy

The political character of Eritrea's leader has transformed the hope of Africa's youngest independent nation-state into a nightmare, says Selam Kidane.

(This article was first published on 22 June 2009)

A Georgian appeal: open letter to the west

The deep political tensions in Georgia have led to one of the country’s leading politicians, Nino Burdzhanadze, standing against the country’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili. She explains her thinking and appeals for engagement and understanding from the west. openDemocracy publishes the text as part of our longstanding and independent coverage of Georgia and the region.


Lebanon's elections: reading the signs

A peaceful election dissolves myths and rearranges the country’s political jigsaw. But the issue of Hizbollah’s weapons remains, says Hazem Saghieh.

Lahore to Peshawar: the trophy-target war

The urbanisation of Pakistan’s internal war is intended to turn the country’s population centres into places of permanent insecurity, says Razi Ahmed.

The trouble with guns: Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ireland

The use of violence as an instrument of political liberation leads rather to failure and regression, says Martin Shaw.

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