- oD 50.50
This week's editor
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Arab Christians for centuries played a pivotal role at the heart of Arab societies. The last generation has seen the beginning of a great retreat. Tarek Osman maps the forces that have shaped an epic story.
A leading historian of modern Iraq describes a complex society – of religious and tribal groupings, and competing political ideologies (Arabism, nationalism, communism) – whose oil resources made it invaluable to its colonial masters. Does Iraq’s experience of British rule from the 1920s-1950s offer lessons for its governance today?
(This article was first published on 3 June 2003)
The rhetoric of victory in Washington has a muffled echo in Baghdad
The seizure, and sometimes killing, of civilian hostages is not random violence but part of a deliberate strategy that is changing the relationship between war and politics, says Mary Kaldor. How should citizens, and their governments, respond?
(This article was first published on 29 September 2004)
An intimate past and bitter present make it hard for Russians and Georgians to live as neighbours but impossible to separate completely, says Donald Rayfield.
A non-military strategy by elements of the United States government offers slim hope of progress in the war against the Taliban.
A personal, family inheritance of opposition to India's partition later develops into an intellectual conviction that territorial division is almost always bad policy. Sumantra Bose shares his journey through one of the most contested ideas in international politics.
Alan Dershowitz's advocacy of new rules to codify pre-emptive state attacks in the era of "war on terror" is partisan sophistry with chilling historical echoes, says Neal Ascherson.
(This article was first published on 18 May 2006)
The United States needs to keep the focus on al-Qaida while targeting Iran. It isn't easy.
The violent territorial rupture of 1947 and its legacy reveal partition to be conceptually flawed and historically ill-grounded as a solution to political antagonism, says Ravinder Kaur.
India is both a secular state and a society of rich religious diversity. A journey between Patna and Varanasi prompts Frank Vibert to reflect on Buddhism's intangible presence in the Indian mosaic. In particular, he asks: does this Indian experience suggest that the endurance of a faith lies not in its power or materiality but in confidence that each generation will rediscover its eternal truths in their own way? Why not then simply shed the fear of loss and decline?
United States analysts are expressing optimism about the war. How justified are they?
Scotland's establishment has responded to an abortive terrorist operation by reaffirming support for the country's Muslim minority. The silences as well as the words are politically significant, says Tom Gallagher.
Syrian influence across Lebanon's porous borders is intensifying the country's security and political crisis, says Robert G Rabil.
The United States's efforts to undermine Hamas and Hizbollah are part of a divisive, unprincipled and dangerous middle-east strategy, says Amal Saad-Ghorayeb.
The huge United States military deal with Arab states and Israel will benefit domestic friends and overseas adversaries.
The northern Italian city of Bologna, hit by terrorists in August 1980, memorialised as well as mourned. London could take heart from its response, says Geoff Andrews.
(This article was first published on 2 August 2005)
Two worlds collide in a London taxi. Bissane El-Cheikh was one.
The violent aftermath of the Lal Masjid siege in Islamabad is clarifying Pakistan's political battle-lines, says Irfan Husain.
A substantial number of perpetrators of terrorism are products of a scientific education. Debora MacKenzie asks whether there is a connection and how deep it might go.
The Lal Masjid siege has intensified Pakistan's spiral of violence and emboldened its Islamists, says Maruf Khwaja.
A number of military developments are again making apparent the pivotal character of Pakistan in the war on terror.
Why are so many Canadian and British soldiers dying in Afghanistan? The answer lies not in ideology but in demography, argues Gunnar Heinsohn.
Yemen tends to be propelled into the media spotlight only with such incidents as the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 or the killing of seven Spanish tourists in July 2007. But its modern political history deserves to be more widely known on its own account, says Fred Halliday.
The historic contest between two visions of what Lebanon is and should be will shape the country's direction after Hizbollah's war with Israel, says Nadim Shehadi.
(This article was first published on 22 August 2006)
How can saviours of life become takers? In the wake of the al-Qaida terror plot involving British-based health professionals, Michel Thieren explores the history and idea of the "evil doctor".
The intensification of violence in Iraq is creating political fracture in Washington and narrowing the White House's options.
A tactic born of political weakness has the power to level the terms of "asymmetrical warfare", says Sajid Huq.
The conflict over a radical mosque in Islamabad has a direct political connection to the region’s military insecurity.
The Srebrenica families whose men were killed in the massacre of July 1995 are refocusing their energies on the attempt to bring to change to Bosnia itself, says Ginanne Brownell.
Georgia's military plans reveal its ambition to reclaim the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia it lost in the wars of the early 1990s, says Vicken Cheterian.
The absence of a shared international definition of one of the most toxic words in the political lexicon handicaps efforts to understand the reality behind the term, says Charles Townshend.
The response to the abortive attacks on Britain indicates that space is opening for fresh debate about the "war on terror".
The case of four British citizens incarcerated in Saudi Arabia highlights the importance of opening a legal route to redress for torture survivors, says Carla Ferstman.
Three generations of powerful, fearful leaders dominated the politics of southeast Europe. Bernd Fischer asks whether the cycle has run its course, or if a fourth generation is possible.