The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer
Betting on the wrong horse: The battle to define moderate Islam

Betting on the wrong horse: The battle to define moderate Islam

October 5, 2022

Proponents of a moderate Islam that embraces tolerance, diversity, and pluralism may be betting on the wrong horse by supporting Muslim scholars on autocrats' payroll.

Saudi crown prince shifts into high gear on multiple fronts

Saudi crown prince shifts into high gear on multiple fronts

October 2, 2022

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is simultaneously speed dating and playing on multiple diplomatic, religious, and economic chessboards.

Muslim piety in Southeast Asia mirrors increased religious traditionalism in the Middle East

Muslim piety in Southeast Asia mirrors increased religious traditionalism in the Middle East

September 28, 2022

In a mirror image of recent polling in the Middle East, a just-published survey of Muslims in Southeast Asia suggests Islam’s central role in people’s daily lives and choices.

Political and business leaders in Southeast Asia, home to 276.5 million Muslims who account for 40 per cent of the region's population, are likely to take note of the Southeast Asian survey as well as the recent polling in the Middle East amid perceptions of greater religious conservatism in their countries that are not only aligned with trends in other parts of the Muslim world but also in major non-Muslim faith groups across the globe.

Public opinion surveys challenge the image Arab leaders like to project

Public opinion surveys challenge the image Arab leaders like to project

September 24, 2022

Several recent public opinion surveys send a mixed message to autocratic reformers in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, which hosts this year's World Cup in less than two months.

The surveys reveal contradictory attitudes among Arab youth towards religion as well as widespread rejection of notions of a moderate Islam and formal diplomatic ties with Israel.

Debating religion’s role in infusing politics with values, morals, and ethics

Debating religion’s role in infusing politics with values, morals, and ethics

September 23, 2022

US President Joe Biden’s pledge to return values, morals and ethics to politics and policies is 18 months into his presidency more of an aspiration than a reality.

It is called into question by the crisis in democracy in the United States in the wake of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who questioned the legitimacy of the election that brought Mr. Biden to office.

Even worse, Mr. Trump and his followers question the principle of a peaceful, democratic transition of power and are working hard to introduce at the state level legal and electoral procedures that would jeorpardize the principle of one man one vote.

Nevertheless, Mr. Biden has framed NATO support for Ukraine in its resistance to the Russian invasion as a fight of democracy against autocracy although it is more a struggle for upholding international law and the rule of law.

All of this raises the question whether politics and policies should be grounded in inclusive values, moral and ethics and how to square that with realities of realpolitik.

The clash between the two was on public display with Mr. Biden’s controversial pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in July despite his vow during his election to treat the kingdom as a ‘pariah state’ and his initial refusal after he came to office to deal directly with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam because of the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

To discuss, all of this today, I am joined by Ronald Llamas, a senior advisor to former Philippine President Benigno Aquino, long standing democracy and human rights activist, and a master of the darker arts of politics and policy implementation.

To watch a video version of this story on YouTube please click here.

Creating Building Blocks for Cooperative Security in the Middle East

Creating Building Blocks for Cooperative Security in the Middle East

September 21, 2022

Fading hopes for a revival of the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program potentially puts one more nail in the coffin of a regional security architecture that would include rather than target the Islamic republic.

Returning morals and ethics to domestic and foreign policymaking

Returning morals and ethics to domestic and foreign policymaking

September 16, 2022

Too often, opportunism, in the absence of inclusive moral and ethical standards, allows leaders, officials, policymakers, and politicians to prioritise their interests rather than those of the nation or affected people elsewhere.

Indonesia’s G 20 chairmanship: Balancing on a diplomatic tightrope

Indonesia’s G 20 chairmanship: Balancing on a diplomatic tightrope

September 12, 2022

Indonesia’s geopolitical plate is piling up as the archipelago state prepares to host the Group of 20 (G20) summit and associated gatherings in November, including the Religion 20 (R20), a high-level meeting of religious leaders, the first under the G20’s auspices.

Putin makes civilisationalism fashionable, Dugin puts flesh on its skeleton

Putin makes civilisationalism fashionable, Dugin puts flesh on its skeleton

September 9, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has inspired civilisationalist leaders to emerge from the woodwork and publicly define their states as civilisational rather than national entities.

 

 

In Turkey, zero problems with neighbours mean multiple problems

In Turkey, zero problems with neighbours mean multiple problems

September 6, 2022

Turkey’s reconciliation with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel is doing little to return the country to its “zero problems with our neighbours” policy declared more than a decade ago.

 

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