This week's guest editors

Britain and Bahrain: still allied against democracy and human rights

An interview with Maryam al-Khawaja, a leading Bahraini human rights activist, on the continuing protests in Bahrain, the regime’s continued repression and the UK’s involvement in the ongoing situation.

The Arab Spring popular uprisings – myth and reality

It is critical to recognize the significance of this revolutionary chapter in the modern history of the Middle East and the creative conceptions and articulations of resistance that shattered the system of domination, particularly the popular roots of these uprisings amongst the urban and rural poor.

This week's window on the Middle East - March 20, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, The continuous battle against sexual harassment in Egypt.

Status quo in Bahrain

As the struggle in Bahrain continues, people in the west need to hold their governments accountable for their support of despotic regimes. 

The Arab Spring and the changing balance of global power

From an empirical-analytical point of view, what has happened in the Middle East and North Africa since Mohammed Bouazizi died? This is not an opinion piece, but an assessment of underlying factors which have put pressure on the aspiration for justice and political reform launched by the Arab Spring. (5,000 words) 

Bahrain’s attempts at subsidy reform

The burden of debt is being pushed onto the shoulders of citizens, and so subsidy reform may tip the delicate balance of the political and economic impasse.

This week's window on the Middle East - January 17, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Corruption in Bahrain.

Corruption in Bahrain

The Crown Prince’s renewed anti-corruption effort faces serious threats, particularly from powerful elites with a deep vested interest in maintaining the fig leaf of impunity.

Prospects for a GCC-Iranian rapprochement?

A US-Iranian rapprochement over Iran's nuclear programme could improve general US-Iranian relations, leading to the lifting of Iran's painful sanctions. Could this in turn encourage improved relations between the countries of the GCC and Iran? 

Whose Police?

Do the police serve the public, or are they a force of elite control? openSecurity's series opens up this question to citizens, analysts and activists around the world: where does security come from?

Chasing accountability; facing impunity

Bahrain's attempt to hold the state security services to account is channeled through campaigning, lobbying and of course the revolution itself. But what help are the official channels, and the law?

Policing Bahrain: the long arm of the British

Just after the Arab Spring was brutally crushed in Bahrain, Britain's John Yates, the former Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner, became an advisor to the Ministry of Interior. What happened next?

The history of British involvement in Bahrain's internal security

John Yates is only the most recent Briton to be given a public role in Bahrain's internal security. Since founding the Bahraini police force, the British influence is as strong as ever.

The Islamic state in context

Almost by default, the swelling numbers of young Arabs, especially in the culturally vibrant centres of the Arab world (Cairo, Tunis, Beirut, Damascus, Casablanca, Kuwait, Manama), will create plurality - in social views, political positions, economic approaches, and in social identities and frames of reference.

Palestine, peoples and borders in the new Middle East map

Today’s Sunni/Shiite regional war is the direct product of the Bush/Blair war on Iraq. The divide is all the more dangerous because of the Levant’s confessional mosaic. These events are changing the very nature of the states in the region, and the peoples that lie within them. Where do Palestine’s borders now lie?  

Bahrain's rights, Britain's failure

Britain's lack of support for freedom of expression in Bahrain is a flawed and self-defeating policy, says Nicholas McGeehan of Human Rights Watch.

Propaganda war marks the second anniversary of the Bahraini Spring

Bahrain’s Arab Spring has developed into an ugly sectarian battle, pitting the Al-Khalifa regime, with the support of Saudi Arabia, conservative Sunni clerics and most of Bahrain’s Sunni minority on one side, against activists for the country’s Shia majority on the other. This development has suited the regime.

Rebuilding the walls

The internet promised “shared humanity in all its messy glory”. But national governments are keen to turn back the global tide of communications.

Islam in the Arab transformations

The Shari’a is largely irrelevant to most important issues of policy and administration in the economy and in government. Its historical and symbolic locus is on family and sexuality: patriarchal rights, segregation of the sexes, enforced female modesty.

In conversation: Syria in perspective

Fawaz Gerges and Rosemary Hollis with Robin Yassin-Kassab at the openDemocracy conference Syria's peace: what, how, when?, discussing the regional proxy war, class dynamics in Syria, intervention and the costs of not negotiating with Assad.

Obama and the Middle East: the lessons of Iraq?

Why has the Obama administration been reluctant to intervene directly in the raging Syrian conflict, or even to arm the rebels? Why did the US president refuse to take ownership of the NATO mission in Libya, failing to engage in Tunisia and Egypt? What makes sense of Obama’s strategy towards the greater Middle East?   

A problematic discourse: who speaks for Arab women?

Placed between the First Lady and the Diplomat at the recent Trust Women conference on the 'Arab spring', Ala'a Shehabi argues that in order to foster constructive engagement with the global south, the media, international donors and policy makers should recognise the radical social shifts towards unorganised local groupings and informal collectives

Walking the tightrope: Al Wefaq’s quest for relevancy in post-uprising Bahrain

A call for foreign intervention is a cry for help by an embattled opposition walking a shaky tightrope with a tough choice ahead.

Concern and frustration in the Gulf

America is still the Gulf states' indispensable ally, but the indecisiveness of Obama's policy in the Middle East is starting to foster frustration and concern in the Gulf capital cities. This is where Romney might have a card to play.

The Gulf’s cupcake entrepreneurs

In the Gulf, it is all too easy to succumb to the temptation of catering to the population’s excessive tendency to consume as opposed to engaging in innovative entrepreneurship with an exportable added value.

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