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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

Libya and a decade’s war

The west’s military-political strategy against the Gaddafi regime echoes its flawed approach to Afghanistan and Iraq, says Paul Rogers in this, his 500th weekly column for openDemocracy.

UK Uncut, responsibility and the logic of networked activism

Much of the critical rhetoric attacking UKUncut's choice not to denounce the violence on March 26th fails to understand the organisational make-up of the UKUncut network and, more generally, of the national anti-cuts movement.

Libya's challenge: democracy under the gun

The military intervention in Libya now threatens the Arab democracy risings. This makes diplomacy and demilitarisation essential, says Mark Taylor.  

Gaddafi and Libya – a case for just intervention?

Full militaristic intervention cannot be justified on the grounds that this is a ‘just war’. We are then left with the option to intervene militarily in a smaller way or not to intervene militarily at all.

Silent Fear in Zimbabwe

Civicus’ policy coordinator travelled to Harare on Monday, March 28 for an open forum on developing civil society organisation in conflict situations. She describes what happened next.

Libya Peace Talks: UN Resolution 1325?

For the sake of Libyan society as a whole, women must play a more equal and visible role in shaping it.

Whatever happened to Bosnia?

The Dayton political structure, the media, religious figures, and even civil society have been used to entrench divides that could still lead to the partitioning of BiH,Bosnia rather than membership in a united Europe. How can they overcome this impasse?

Islamophobia and the Arab spring

If the opportunity can be seized to help more people to build prosperous lives of liberty in their own countries, perhaps Europe’s Islamophobes will be able to stop worrying about immigration or insecurity.

Libya: time to decide

Providing air support and arms for the Libyan opposition is necessary if stalemate and partition are to be avoided, argues Ranj Alaaldin

The Song of the Survivor: T.C. Boyle and Invasive Species Eradication Programs

Humans are the only species who feel we have a responsibility to other species. T.C. Boyle's fiction explores the dilemmas raised when our obligations to other species and organisms conflict

Will the falling dominoes reach Pakistan?

The wave of popular uprisings that has driven out Presidents Ben Ali of Tunisia and Mubarak of Egypt and is shaking other countries in the Middle East - could it swamp Pakistan?

Pro-Ouattara forces make gains in western Ivory Coast

Fighting erupts in western Ivory Coast. India and Pakistan meet to discuss anti-terrorism measures. Syrian cabinet resigns amid ongoing unrest.

UK Uncut cannot denounce the violence on 26 March

Those most heavily involved in UKUncut are under enormous pressure to denounce the violence on behalf of the rest of us in the network. Without doing so, it is hard to see how UKUncut will regain lost support from the general public and the mainstream media. But this cannot be the answer.

The Skinback Fusiliers, Episode One

openDemocracy and Our Kingdom are proud to serialise The Skinback Fusiliers, a fast, funny and deeply disturbing novel about life in the British army today seen through the eyes of three young men. The book is available on Kindle and through Amazon here.

Why democracy in the Arab world is no foregone conclusion

One way of assessing the prospects for democracy in the Middle East is to compare this region not only with eastern Europe in the late 1980s but also with southern Europe in the mid-1970s, where aged authoritarian regimes gave way to young democracies.

Libya: war or humanitarian intervention?

In the end the prospects for democracy depend on whether the rebels can mobilise support politically throughout Libya. The problem with the military approach is that it entrenches division. Our preoccupation with classic military means is undermining our capacity to address growing insecurity.

Libya, Arab democracy, and western policy

The United States and European intervention in Libya leaves open key questions about the future of western power in the wider region, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Voices from the military abyss – An Introduction to The Skinback Fusiliers.

openDemocracy and Our Kingdom are proud to serialiseThe Skinback Fusiliers, a fast, funny and deeply disturbing novel about life in the British army today seen through the eyes of three young men.

On violence, protest and London's March for the Alternative

How do we pass moral judgment over the use of political violence? What of situations that lack a basic strategy, as on London's March for the Alternative? Paul Sagar regrets the violence last Saturday, but tempers his judgment with an understanding of the underlying reasons.

My day in the cells

An activist in UK Uncut's account of his arrest and jailing after the 26 March demonstration

Unknown Soldier on the making of The Skinback Fusiliers

openDemocracy is serialising the novel The Skinback Fusiliers over the next two months. Here, the anonymous author, 'Unknown Soldier', gives an insight into the creation of this fast, funny and deeply disturbing novel about life in the British army.

Southern Fire

In the past year, reporting from Thailand has been dominated by the drama in Bangkok. The confrontation between redshirts and government troops is no doubt of great importance to Thailand’s future. But another conflict also deserves the world’s attention.

Mightiest for the mightiest: “The Net Delusion”

In “The Net Delusion”, Evgeny Morozov vents frustration at what he calls “cyber utopianism” in Western foreign policy. Far from being a tool to free the weak, Morozov argues, oppressive regimes are now the expert manipulators of Web 2.0. He’s certainly got a point, says John Lloyd, but he is also wrong to assume no one in the State Department shares his concerns.

The genesis of terrorism in the Sahara: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

Yvan Guichaoua reports back on the rise of a new force in the Sahara, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, news of which has reached the Western press through its kidnapping of European aid workers.

After Fukushima

As we pursue the abolition of nuclear weapons, we also need to phase out reliance on nuclear energy. Both are incompatible with our environmental and human security, says Rebecca Johnson.

Digital activism and the anti-cuts agenda

Outrage at the Coalition's austerity programme and the capacity for digital networked communications have given rise to a new activism. The common anti-cuts agenda is clear, but will new forms of communication, deliberation and organisation give rise to more radical objectives?

Budget 2011: defence spending falls, British role wanes despite Libya headlines

An aspect of the UK's budget that no one else has commented on

The IRGC and the “New” Middle East

The actions and declarations of the IRGC and regular military leaders indicate that Iran is working diligently to take advantage of the unrest in the Middle East. Annie Tracy Samuel explains how.

Libyan no-fly zone under fire

Libyan no-fly zone appears to lack direction as operations enter third day. Thousands of young Gbagbo supporters rush to enlist in national army. Yemeni general backs rebels after army fires on protestors. Bahrain’s monarch thanks GCC states for help in foiling foreign plot to destabilise the kingdom.

States, religious diversity, and the crisis of secularism

In India, the existence of deep religious diversity has ensured a conceptual response not only to problems within but also between religions. Without taking it as a blue print, the west must examine the Indian conception and learn from it, regarding peace between communities, community-specific rights, the rights of minorities, the porous divide between the modern state and religion, and the skills to accommodate the latter. They might begin by jettisoning the preoccupation with ‘equal treatment’.

The Commons debate on Libya: a milestone for British democracy?

The Commons debate on Libya has been dismissed by some as irrelevant, as military intervention has already begun. Yet this is a milestone for democracy, as Cameron has acknowledged the emerging convention that parliamentary approval is required for the deployment of British forces abroad

Loss of Chechnya: the case for the defence

Chechnya’s ex-foreign minister Ilyas Akhmadov has published a book chronicling the loss of his republic to Russia. Politicians from other countries with similar tales of loss and betrayal have tried to justify their actions in the same way. Oliver Bullough examines the current situation in the light of some of their accounts.

Libya: the view from where you are

The international war over Libya began on the late evening of 19 March 2011. Its meaning depends on the angle of vision - and what happens next.

Why I will vote "no" to Libya action

The Labour MP for Nottingham North sets out why he will oppose the West's military action in the vote in the House of Commons.

Multiculturalism and the politics of bad memories

‘Multiculturalism’ entails society offering a full range of prospects, membership, and respect to all its members – regardless of cultural and religious differences –while also creatively accommodating them in a fashion that is both morally persuasive and practically effective for the majority of society. Has Europe ever tried it?
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