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This week's editors

Cat Tully and Allie Bobak introduce this week's theme: Participation and foresight – putting people at the heart of the future

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Turkey's judgement day: the trial of the Kurds

Margaret Owen, a member of the UK Independent Observer delegation, reports on the KCK trial in Diyarbakir before today's ruling

America vs al-Qaida: the widening war

The signals of growing turbulence in a range of military environments - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and beyond - send a worrying message to Washington.

Admirals' letter liberated from behind the Times paywall

British naval establishment writes to the Times to protest the planned cuts and warns of dire consequences.

Armenia and Georgia foil latest uranium smuggling plot

Joint anti-nuclear proliferation operation results in multiple arrests in Georgia. One year after Fort Hood shootings, US army outlines plans for radical security overhaul. Somali pirates land largest-ever ransom payment. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Documents at odds: the UK’s national security review

The narrative of the Cold War imposed a simplified vision of the world. The UK’s defence review does move towards an understanding that risks normally associated with domestic concerns now have to be dealt with on a global scale. What it does not do is to create a capability for this kind of intervention

Delegation to Berlin

To mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have a true story from its early days. It is about a young man's rites of passage, but also an era of deception, self-deception and co-option, when those who made the journey to the other side could be turned by the Cold War into weapons.

Obama reaches out to Muslims on visit to Indonesia

Obama calls for building bridges with Muslim world. Pro-democratic parties concede defeat in Myanmar. Afghans upbeat about future, according to poll. Troops at Britain's 'Abu Ghraib' trial may be guilty of war crimes. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Nuclear terrorism: should the UK be concerned?

A secret trial in Georgia has recently confirmed fears that highly enriched uranium is available on the black market. When the UK government is making significant cuts to sensitive areas of national security, there is cause for concern

Russia and Georgia: the Circassian question

A series of recent international conferences have pushed the Circassian question on to the international agenda. Sufian Zhemukhov considers the historical background to the relationships between Georgia and the North Caucasus and possible future developments.

Fears of increased violence after top Mexican drug lord killed during day-long battle

Feared drug lord ‘Tony the Storm’ killed in battle near the US-Mexico border. Post-election fighting causes thousands to flee Burma. Over half of fighters in Somali militias are children, says UN official. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Kashmir: Why we hate Indian interlocutors

The latest initiative by the Indian home minister to bring an end to the violence in Kashmir through comprehensive talks is met with distrust and incredulity. Kashmiris also have themselves to blame for the dead-end

Why Geert Wilders is not Liu Xiaobo

Cas Mudde was quite right to point out recently how liberal arguments are being used in the interests of illiberal attacks on Muslims. However, in the Dutch case this reflects anything but a progressive national consensus

The voice of Hamas

After escaping an assassination attempt in 1997 and being banned from Jordan in 1999, Khaled Mashal, Hamas leader, made his home in Damascus, where Manuela Paraipan interviewed him last week on Hamas’ approach to the current peace negotiations, his view of Hamas’ strengths, its ongoing commitment to resistance, and the importance of principle in politics.

Some women in Gaza

There are many different social codes governing what women can and can’t do in Gaza, where new fact finding missions are beginning to take an interest in their lives

The lightness of history in the Caucasus

The Caucasus is often depicted as a region of peoples locked in enduring and invariant nationalist enmity. The reality is more complex and therefore more hopeful, says Thomas de Waal.

Iraq, war and WikiLeaks: the real story

The tranche of American military documents released by the WikiLeaks project contains a wealth of detail about the coalition's indifference to civilian life. But the materials also tell a deeper story of “how” war has killed in Iraq, says Martin Shaw.

UK terrorism strategy fails to take comprehensive approach to threat from Yemen and Somalia

UK terrorism strategy fails to take comprehensive approach to threat from Yemen and Somalia. Spike in Haiti cholera cases. New constitution approved by electorate in Niger heralds return to civilian rule. Kenya denies entry to Somali refugees. All this and more in today’s security briefing...

Letter bombing campaign uncovered in Greece

Multiple bombs destined for top-level targets discovered in Greece. Iran chides Russia over decision not to honour arms deal. Months after Kyrgyzstan violence, tensions and resentment still running high. All this and more in today's security briefing.

No more 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man'

As a political instrument of power projection and status, nuclear weapons carry a peculiarly masculine symbolism. In the 1980s, Greenham women were at the forefront of challenging masculine ideologies of defence and security. We need to seize the initiative and again become the agents of security transformation.

India and Pakistan: what’s the difference?

If India and Pakistan were cut from the same geographic and ethnic cloth, with the same parliamentary-style system, why is India held to be a vibrant democracy today and Pakistan a political basket case?

Yemen: canary in the coal mine

Yemen is a sign of what can go wrong when a country fails to develop political legitimacy and build a sustainable, productive non-oil economy. What kind of augury is this contested transition for the Gulf states and for the world?

Bombing in Istanbul injures dozens on day that PKK ceasefire expires

Bombing in Istanbul main square injures dozens and rattles nerves. Nato to reduce its Kosovo force by half. Iraqi hostage situation ends in bloody tragedy with at least 52 killed. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Control Orders - what's Britain's problem with the evidence? Is there a US connection

UK anti-terror laws can place people under draconian control orders that are more intrusive than house arrest without any charges made that the accused may learn of. Is the American alliance one of the reasons?

A strategy for North Caucasus: don’t mention politics or religion!

The recently published Russian government strategy paper for the North Caucasus chooses to focus solely on the socio-economic development of the region. The refusal to address key political or religious issues undermines the whole rationale for the document, laments Sergei Markedonov

Ten degrees north: Sudan's melting pot

Encounters with Sudanese in Abyei underline the urgent need for referendum preparation and the scope of tensions on the ground, given the failure of political processes so far

Civil society diplomats at the UN

" We’re not interested in making war safe for women… There are many substitutes for oil, but I can't think of a single substitute for a peace woman." Cora Weiss

Hizbollah chief urges Lebanese to boycott Hariri investigation

Hassan Nasrallah calls for a boycott of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. A diplomatic row between China and Japan over disputed island territories flares up at an Asean summit. Iran has agreed to renew negotiations over its nuclear programme. Gunfire breaks out along the border between North and South Korea. All this and more, in today’s security update…

The harvest of war: from pain to gain

A number of initiatives around the world, for example in Bosnia and Guatemala, seeks to record the details of every victim of violent conflict. The new revelations of civilian deaths in Iraq could advance a project whose wider ambition is to change warfare itself.

The “Islam” drumbeat: an Orwellian story

A reductive and tendentious portrayal of Islam and its followers is spreading across Europe and America. It is all too reminiscent of the chilling world imagined by George Orwell, says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam

Blackwater still in the dock, but for how long?

Blackwater trials failing to produce convictions. Yemen resource conflict highlighted in two reports. Arms thought to be destined for Nigerian Delta intercepted. Karzai presses ahead with ban on private military companies, drawing mixed response. All this and more in today's security briefing.

Former Iraqi foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, sentenced to death

Former Iraqi foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, sentenced to death. Ex-‘child soldier’ pleads guilty at Guantanamo. UK police receive terror training. Transparency international ranks war-torn countries as 'most corrupt'. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

New reports allege extensive Iranian involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan wars

Further accusations of Tehran’s deep involvement in two ongoing wars. Tibetan student unrest over proposed language policy causes headaches for Beijing. Violence continues unabated in the streets of Karachi. All this and more in today’s security briefing.

Insights from the Afghan field

Security policy in Afghanistan may be powered by sublimated imperial nostalgia, but most of the really valuable practical memories and lessons of empire have long since been forgotten. A review of three recent books on the Taliban

1325: an exciting moment

"If we’ve done as much with as little resources as women have, think what we could do with more. Women are the energy of the future… its up to women to show what women’s leadership in the UN can do." Charlotte Bunch

Rape in war: the time for 'never again' is now

On October 17th thousands of Congolese women, led by Olive Lembe Kabila marched to end impunity for sexual violence against women. Rape survivors joined the march, many of them from their hospital beds, defying a culture that shames victims rather than perpetrators
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