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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

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.

Gender justice and the ICC: turning a miracle into reality

Ahead of the first global review meeting of the Rome Statue and International Criminal Court, women from around the world are meeting in Mexico next week to develop a clear global agenda for advancing gender justice through advocacy and engagement with the International Criminal Court.

Surveillance + detention = £Billions: How Labour’s friends are ‘securing your world’

The rapid rise of the security industry with its close links to government has disturbing implications for our freedom.

Nigeria and the politics of massacre

The brutal violence against people of a different ethnicity or religion seen in the central Nigerian state of Jos is the most common face of genocide worldwide, says Martin Shaw.

Outrage in Kandahar after deadly NATO attack on Afghan bus

NATO killings of Afghan civilians spark street protests in Kandahar. Obama presses Hu to collaborate on Iran sanctions. Kyrgyzstan’s defiant president ordered to yield. Israeli forces kill Palestinian militant near Gaza border. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Kyrgyzstan: fractured, but not broken

Kyrgyzstan’s government has fallen, its provisional rulers are untested, and there is as yet no sign of a lasting political settlement. Yet that does not mean it will automatically follow the example of neighbour Tajikistan and descend into civil war, writes John Heathershaw

Landmark Sudanese elections marred by confusion, delay and allegations of fraud

Sudan polling starts amidst delays and confusion. Polish president and other elites died in plane crash. Obama hosts ‘unprecedented’ nuclear summit. Death toll rises to 21 in Bangkok protests. Ousted Kyrgyz president defiant as interim leader takes office. All this and more, in today's security update.

Potential compromise over renminbi may avert US-China trade war

Signs of a compromise in the long-running dispute between the US and China over the renminbi. The followers of Moqtada al Sadr reject both of the leading candidates for the Iraqi premiership. The Israeli Prime Minister pulls out of a US nuclear summit. Kim Jong-il is absent from the annual meeting of the North Korean parliament. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Central Asia: new security challenges

Kyrgyzstan’s violence underscores the instability of those former Soviet governments which are burdened by authoritarian and corrupt rule. To varying degrees, every Central Asian country faces serious threats at home and from the war in neighboring Afghanistan. They need help. The West and Russia should act, including by engaging the underutilized Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

The AfPak war: failures of success

The Barack Obama administration places drone attacks at the heart of its military strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But its enemy too is capable of making deadly use of evolving technology.

US and Russia sign historic nuclear deal

US and Russia sign historic nuclear deal. Sudan elections in doubt as more opposition parties boycott. Kyrgyz opposition sets up ‘peoples’ government’. Al-Qaeda officials move from Yemen into Somalia. All this and much more in today’s security briefing.

The virtual occupation of Gaza

Despite its withdrawal of forces on the ground in 2005, Israel continues a virtual occupation of the Gaza Strip and, in so doing, assumes the responsibilities of an occupying power under international law, reasons Federico Sperotto.

Kyrgyzstan on brink of revolution, state of emergency declared

Violent protests erupt in Kyrgyzstan. Thai government declares a state of emergency. NATO accused of civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Russia announces new anti-terror measures in the North Caucasus. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

What strategic dialogue? US-Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan

Ehsan Azari questions the value of the US' unbalanced relationship with Pakistan.

Leaked video shows US gunships killing Iraqi civilians

WikiLeaks website posts video showing US helicopter attack on journalists and civilians. Obama to announce overhaul of US nuclear strategy. Maoist rebels kill over 70 police in India. Deadly series of bomb attacks rock Baghdad. All this and much more, in today’s security briefing.

Why are Chechens so angry?

Why do Chechen women volunteer to blow themselves and their fellow citizens up on the crowded Moscow metro? The history of Russia’s attempts to quell the Chechens since 1721 explains a lot, suggests Oliver Bullough. Perhaps all they ever wanted from Russia was to be left alone

US appeals to China over Iran sanctions

Obama calls Hu Jintao to urge a tougher stance on Iran. Israel threatens another military operation against Gaza. Harmid Karzai launches an unprecedented attack on the international community. The South Korean President urges restraint over the sinking of a warship in the waters off North Korea. All this and more, in today’s security update…

Beyond "liddism": towards real global security

A decade of pitiless wars and brutal inequalities has made the arguments of the book “Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century” - first published before 9/11, and now in its third edition - more relevant than ever. In his 450th column for openDemocracy, Paul Rogers looks back and forward.

Boycott of Burmese elections draws criticism

NLD boycott of Burmese elections draws strong criticism. Suspected coup attempt in Guinea Bissau. Sudan opposition pullout throws elections into doubt. ICC to probe Kenya post-election violence. Bangladesh to commence trial of 1971 war crimes. All this and more in today's update.

Don't mention the bombings

The terrorist bombs pose a problem for the Kremlin, Sam Greene reports from Moscow. Since tightening the screws has not worked, their new tactic appears to be to avoid the subject altogether

The next Colombia

A vital constitutional decision and a party-primary vote have blown wide open the electoral campaign to succeed Álvaro Uribe as Colombia's president, says Adam Isacson

Are marketised states a threat to peace?

The rise and rise of privatised military companies has transformed the state's war making capacities and foreign policy horizons.

Bombers strike at Russian police

Bombers strike at Russian police. Serbia apologises for 1995 Srebrenica massacre. FARC rebels release hostage. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Victims of the bulldogs under that carpet

In Maxim Kantor’s opinion, the 39 deaths in the Moscow metro bombings on 29 March are victims of that fight between bulldogs under the carpet, as Churchill described Russian politics. The victims are always the poor, never the bulldogs. And guess who gains by the tragedy?

Uganda rebels deny northeast Congo massacre

LRA rebel group denies any involvement in mass killings in Congo. Burmese opposition decides to boycott election. North Korea feared responsible for sunk South Korean ship. Afghan offensive in Kandahar to be launched in June. All this and much more, in today’s security briefing.

The forgotten impact of a war that didn't happen

Nuclear weapons were at the heart of the Cold War. Yet the broader impact of the arms race on politics and society has been forgotten. This is unfortunate, argues Holger Nehring, as the impact of the shared fear of total war that the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union created lies at the core of the problems in the transatlantic relationship. President Obama’s attempts to create a nuclear weapons free world and his willingness to sign a new agreement on the reduction of intercontinental nuclear weapons with his Russian counterpart President Medvedev only hides this uncomfortable reality.

Happy Passover from Gaza

Traditional items on the Seder plate in the ceremonial meal which marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover prompt thoughts on the myth and reality of national liberation

Female suicide bombers hit Moscow Metro

Moscow Metro blasts kill 37. Israel closes the West Bank as U.S.-Israeli relations worsen. President Obama makes surprise visit to Afghanistan. Violence in Iraq as coalition talks begin. Thai protests continue as protest leaders meet with PM. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Iraq election tensions threaten renewed instability

The close race in Iraq’s elections sparks heightened tensions. The head of NATO calls for a missile defence pact targeting Iran. A South Korean vessel sinks off the coast of North Korea. All this and more, in today’s security update.

Hitler and the challenge of non-violence

What was done to counter the ’rise and rise’ of Adolf Hitler, fascist German leader, in the 1930’s? What could have been done?
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