The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer
Qatar World Cup offers lessons for human rights struggles

Qatar World Cup offers lessons for human rights struggles

June 30, 2022

It’s a good time, almost 12 years after the world soccer body, FIFA, awarded Qatar the 2022 World Cup hosting rights and five months before the tournament, to evaluate the campaign to reform the country’s erstwhile onerous labor system and accommodate fans whose lifestyles violate restrictive laws and/or go against deeply rooted cultural attitudes

 

Launched 12 years ago, my column, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, offers, to borrow a phrase from an early proprietor of The Observer, ‘the scoop of interpretation.’ The column continues to have significant impact. It is republished by news websites, blogs, and newsletters across the globe. Maintaining free distribution is key to maintaining the column’s impact. However, to do so, I rely on those readers who value the column and its impact by voluntarily becoming paid subscribers. If you are able and willing to support the column, please become a paid subscriber by clicking on Substack on the subscription button and choosing one of the subscription options.

Saudi religious soft power diplomacy eyes Washington and Jerusalem first and foremost

Saudi religious soft power diplomacy eyes Washington and Jerusalem first and foremost

June 25, 2022

Geopolitics is written all over Saudi religious soft power efforts. Nowhere more so than when it comes to Israel and Jews because of the growing importance of security cooperation with the Jewish state and the influence of the Israeli lobby in the United States, the kingdom's most important yet problematic security partner.

Launched 12 years ago, my column, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, offers, to borrow a phrase from an early proprietor of The Observer, ‘the scoop of interpretation.’ The column continues to have significant impact. It is republished by news websites, blogs, and newsletters across the globe. Maintaining free distribution is key to maintaining the column’s impact. However, to do so, I rely on those readers who value the column and its impact by voluntarily becoming paid subscribers. If you are able and willing to support the column, please become a paid subscriber by clicking on Substack on the subscription button and choosing one of the subscription options. If you prefer, you can also make a donation. Thank you for your continued interest, readership, and support.

The World Cup and beyond: Thinking strategically about LGBT rights

The World Cup and beyond: Thinking strategically about LGBT rights

June 20, 2022

When Egyptian football legend Mohammed Aboutreika came out swinging against homosexuality in late 2021, he touched a raw nerve across the Muslim world.

The tit-for-tat between Mr. Aboutreika and supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights laid bare a yawning gap.

China and the Middle East: Heading into Choppy Waters

China and the Middle East: Heading into Choppy Waters

June 17, 2022

China could be entering choppy Middle Eastern waters. Multiple crises and conflicts will likely shape its relations with the region’s major powers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey.

Recognising Israel: Any Asian volunteers?

Recognising Israel: Any Asian volunteers?

June 12, 2022

The question for Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is not whether either country will recognise Israel but when and who will go first.

 

Welcome to The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer or Mideastsoccer newsletter. I’m James Dorsey, an award-winning scholar, journalist, and columnist. In this newsletter, I talk about everything from geopolitics, relations between the Middle East or West Asia and the rest of Asia, big power rivalry and its impact on the Middle East and Eurasia, religious soft power rivalry, and the politics of sport. At times, I host authors of interesting and relevant books.

I launched The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer 12 years ago. It offers, to borrow a phrase from an early proprietor of The Observer, ‘the scoop of interpretation.’ It continues to have significant impact and are republished by news websites, blogs, and newsletters across the globe. It’s used in class rooms and serves many as a tool for understanding the complex world we live in.

Maintaining free distribution is key to maintaining the column’s impact. However, to do so, I rely on those readers who value the column and its impact by voluntarily taking out a paid subscription. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber by going to https://www.jamesmdorsey.substack.com or making a donation at  http://www.jamesmdorsey.net so I can keep distributing the column for free to achieve the widest distribution possible.

Paid subscribers additionally get on request individual and/or group briefings and Q&A sessions at their convenience. I’m always happy to answer questions, respond to comments, and provide insights based on my knowledge, understanding and extensive network that will further help readers make sense of the world around them.

Thank you for your continued interest, readership, and support.

The India-Gulf Spat: Protagonists in glass houses

The India-Gulf Spat: Protagonists in glass houses

June 8, 2022

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baqr, a man known for his pithy retorts, pretended to quiver in his pants. Hindu nationalists had called for a boycott of the Gulf airline after Qatar took India to task for derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed and Muslim worship by two spokespeople of the country’s ruling party.

Double standards haunt US and Europe in NATO dispute with Turkey

Double standards haunt US and Europe in NATO dispute with Turkey

June 6, 2022

US and European acquiescence in Turkey's long-standing refusal to honour Kurdish ethnic, cultural, and political rights has come home to roost with Turkish opposition to Finnish and Swedish NATO membership.

Launched 12 years ago, my column, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, offers, to borrow a phrase from an early proprietor of The Observer, ‘the scoop of interpretation.’ The column continues to have significant impact. It is republished by news websites, blogs, and newsletters across the globe. Maintaining free distribution is key to maintaining the column’s impact. However, to do so, I rely on those readers who value the column and its impact by voluntarily becoming paid subscribers. If you are able and willing to support the column, please become a paid subscriber by clicking on Substack on the subscription button and choosing one of the subscription options. If you prefer, you can also make a donation. Thank you for your continued interest, readership, and support.

New Books Network: Interview with Peter Mandaville, editor of Wahhabism and the World

New Books Network: Interview with Peter Mandaville, editor of Wahhabism and the World

June 2, 2022

Wahhabism and the World constitutes one of the few, if not the first comprehensive, impassionate interrogations of the impact on Islam of Saudi financial and other support for the global spread of what Peter Mandaville calls Saudi religious transnationalism and is more colloquially referred to with catchall phrases such as Saudi funding or support for ultra-conservatism. Mr. Mandaville’s volume with chapters that provide fresh insights into the Saudi export drive and a set of case studies illustrates that the reality of the campaign is far more complex and layered.

Conflict in Ukraine: How long can the Middle East walk a tightrope?

Conflict in Ukraine: How long can the Middle East walk a tightrope?

May 29, 2022

For now, Ukraine is the far from my bed show for most Middle Eastern nations. The question is not if but when Ukraine will arrive on their doorstep.

Playing games in NATO, Turkey eyes its role in a new world order

Playing games in NATO, Turkey eyes its role in a new world order

May 25, 2022

NATO’s spat over Turkish opposition to Swedish and Finnish membership is about more than expanding the North Atlantic military alliance. It's as much about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's immediate political goals as Turkey's positioning itself in a new 21st-century world order.

Launched 12 years ago, my column, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, offers, to borrow a phrase from an early proprietor of The Observer, ‘the scoop of interpretation.’ The column continues to have significant impact. It is republished by news websites, blogs, and newsletters across the globe. Maintaining free distribution is key to maintaining the column’s impact. However, to do so, I rely on those readers who value the column and its impact by voluntarily becoming paid subscribers. If you are able and willing to support the column, please become a paid subscriber by clicking on Substack on the subscription button and choosing one of the subscription options. Thank you for your interest, readership, and support.

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