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This week’s editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Mikati’s critical mission in Lebanon

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has become a central issue in the minds of the Lebanese, implicated in power conflicts among Lebanon’s major religious groups. Can Prime Minister-designate Najib Makati assume a conciliatory role and pull the country out of crisis?

I Live in a Small World

At home, our author has been building, with a hunger for food, wholeness, and what reckless history there is in the stones and the magic beneath them

Libya and R2P: norm consolidation or a perfect storm?

A similar conjoining of purpose with process, in relation to the collective use of force, has not been seen since the 1991 Gulf War.

Migration – a cosmunitarian approach

In response to Daniele Archibugi, the author rejects an approach to migration which sets cosmopolitans against communitarians. Instead she proposes a scheme able to differentiate, to address and to juggle the needs of both

Drug-taking, racist bullies led by lazy bigots?: a defence of The Skinback Fusiliers

openDemocracy is seriliasing The Skinback Fusiliers, a controversial new novel about life as a British squaddie. The book has already provoked fierce debate, on our own and other websites. Here, the author responds to some of these comments, clarifying his position and the nature of the novel.

Hungary: a draconian media law

New restrictions on Hungarian media threaten to undermine freedom of expression, the lifeblood of democracy. Fears abound that the legislative clampdown marks an acceleration in Orbán’s slide towards authoritarianism.

Thinking of Cambodia

On 17 April 1975, Khmer Rouge soldiers entered Phnom Penh to force Cambodia’s people into a nightmare lasting almost four years.

(This article was first published on 17 April 2003)

Humanitarian wars and rejected refugees

For France, acting in a ‘humanitarian’ manner means intervening in Libya’s civil war but does not extend to freely accepting refugees from Libya or Tunisia within its borders.

Audio: What sort of organisation is Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb?

Yvan Guichaoua, West Africa expert researching non-government armed groups, describes what kind of force Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb is, what motivates its members and what are the conditions of its success. Smuggling, fast cars, and the economics of ransoms combine with ideology to create a threat. Listen to this 40minute conversation on the nature of Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb

Drug-taking, racist bullies led by lazy bigots?

As we publish episode four of the novel, the author defends his Skinback Fusiliers

Skinback Fusiliers, Episode Four

We present the fourth of ten weekly episodes from a brutal novel by an acclaimed British author

Libya, and the decisive moment

A single incident in Libya's evolving conflict may come to be pivotal in shaping the fate both of the anti-Gaddafi effort and of western military intervention.

The Second Spanish Republic remembered

The values of the Spanish Republic - freedom, progress and solidarity - are also the values of today’s Europe. Eighty years on, it is fitting to remember the legacy of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath.

Gaza Theatre

A theatre director is stuck in Cairo waiting to hear if he and his partner have permission to enter Gaza. These letters capture ‘strange days’, as they are caught in stasis while extraordinary events unfold around them

Cameron plays the immigration card in the run-up to local elections

The British Prime Minister singles out immigration as he enters the campaigning season for local elections across much of the UK and summons up the shades of elections past.

Syria: dissenting Damascenes and defiant dictators

Young people in Syria are talking about their future. While Bashar al-Assad makes concessions that fail to convince, what is clear is the growing divide between government and people – however anxiously the world looks on

A Yemeni finale or another of Saleh’s crescendos?

President Saleh's response to the protests has increased in violence, causing him some major defections, yet he has clung to power. International supporters are concerned that an end to Saleh’s era may result in chaos, possibly allowing al-Qa’ida room, however the tribes of Yemen are likely to prevent this as it threatens their interests and way of life.

Yemen's perilous change

While the fate of Yemen's president remains unclear, so does the country’s future. The fundamental question is whether the unrest can succeed in addressing the aspirations of Yemen’s youth, or further empower its entrenched tribal leaders.

'Unrecognized' Bedouin stake land claims in Israel

Demolitions began without warning on 27 July 2010 when the residents were evicted by well over 1,000 riot police officers, destroying homes and animal pens, uprooting thousands of olive and other trees and confiscating inhabitants’ property.

Qatar and the Arab Spring

Why has Qatar experienced such a different trajectory to much of the rest of the Arab world in recent months? What explains its recent actions, and how might it emerge from the Arab Spring?

Libya and the fog of intervention

Now the war has started, which side are you on? Should the intervention stop because the war will be long and bloody? Which means that instead the war will be short, Qaddafi will be victorious, and the aftermath will be bloody – probably as bloody as the war.

The Arab spring: protest, power, prospect

What is the “Arab spring” becoming? After three months of upheaval, repression and conflict, the democracy wave in the region, including Iran, is at a crucial stage. openDemocracy authors offer concise perspectives on a complex and fluid political moment.

(The first contributions in this series were published on 4 April 2011)

Vietnam to Iraq and AfPak: traps of history

The United States's prolonged counterinsurgency wars in Afghanistan and Iraq raise strong echoes of Vietnam. But new studies suggest that the lessons of this half-century military arc need to be carefully drawn, says Mariano Aguirre.

Dealing with diversity the North-American way

Being ‘caste-blind’ in economically shining India might be a wonderful way to fight caste-demarcations in urban mega-centres. But, being ‘culture-blind’ could prove very short-sighted in the long run. A reply to Rajeev Bhargava

The curious case of Mr Nada

Human rights are undermined in the war on terror by the widespread use of blacklists.

The Arab Revolution will not be televised in Latin America

The position of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) on the crisis in Libya has derailed the continent’s chance to support the revolutionary paradigm it should be spreading worldwide.

Skinback Fusiliers, Episode Three

We present the third of ten weekly episodes from a brutal novel by an acclaimed British author.

Libya and Iraq: a long war’s risk

Both the west and the Gaddafi regime are assessing the prospect of a military stalemate in Libya. In any extended campaign, United States-Israel cooperation could offer Tripoli an unexpected gift.

Libya: popular revolt, military intervention

The changing dynamics of the Libyan conflict highlight the contradictions of "humanitarian intervention" when pressed to serve the western way of war, says Martin Shaw.

The new Arctic: trade, science, politics

The opening of the Arctic to ship-passage will transform the region’s political as well as environmental landscape, says Øyvind Paasche.

Daniel Goldhagen and Kenya: recycling fantasy

Daniel Goldhagen’s book “Worse Than War” includes British colonial rule in Kenya in the 1950s among its case-studies of “elimination”. A close reading of the demographic evidence reveals the falsity of the argument, says David Elstein.

(This article was first published on 4 March 2010)

The Black Bloc – a dead end (response to Jonathan Moses)

The Black Bloc ‘tactic’ used at the March 26th anti-cuts demonstration is an entirely counterproductive dead-end.

Migrants in Brussels – against the odds

Migrant women especially face extreme discrimination in Brussels. But they don’t necessarily see it that way.

Juliano Mer Khamis, 1958-2011

In memory of the Jewish Palestinian and Israeli actor, director, film-maker and activist who founded the Freedom Theatre in the Jenin refugee camp.

Yemen: travails of unity

The growing insecurity and violence in the most ancient of Arab lands are creating a slow political implosion. The world must take greater note, says Fred Halliday.

This article was first published on 3 July 2009

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