The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer
Footballing for soft power – A conversation with James Corbett

Footballing for soft power – A conversation with James Corbett

October 23, 2022

It's a good time to take a step back and evaluate where we stand as we enter the final weeks before the World Cup in Qatar, the most controversial in the history of world soccer body FIFA.

Joining me today to take a stab at evaluating the often fierce debate about the Qatar World Cup that has sparked deep seated emotions on both sides of the divide, and to look at what the debate has produced in terms of change in Qatar and lessons learned by human rights groups, trade unions, and other activists and NGOs, as well as what happens to these issues once the World Cup is over, is renowned sports journalist and historian James Corbett.

The 2022 World Cup: Qatar’s Make-or-Break Moment

The 2022 World Cup: Qatar’s Make-or-Break Moment

October 18, 2022

The final run-up to the 2022 World Cup and the tournament's management is make-it-or-break-it time for Qatar.

Both will determine Qatar’s ultimate soft power benefit from the World Cup. How Qatar manages the tournament, and potential flare and hick-ups will shape how the 2022 World Cup is perceived and remembered.

The 2022 World Cup: Qatar’s Make-or-Break Moment

The 2022 World Cup: Qatar’s Make-or-Break Moment

October 18, 2022

The final run-up to the 2022 World Cup and the tournament's management is make-it-or-break-it time for Qatar.

Both will determine Qatar’s ultimate soft power benefit of the World Cup. How Qatar manages the tournament, and potential flare and hick-ups will shape how the 2022 World Cup is perceived and remembered.

Indonesian Muslims gamble on problematic ties to Saudi government vehicle

Indonesian Muslims gamble on problematic ties to Saudi government vehicle

October 14, 2022

Nahdlatul Ulama, arguably the world’s only Muslim mass movement propagating a genuinely moderate and pluralistic form of Islam, has forged an unlikely, albeit temporary, alliance with the Saudi-controlled Muslim World League.

The World Cup: A Mixed Blessing for Qatari Soft Power

The World Cup: A Mixed Blessing for Qatari Soft Power

October 12, 2022

The glass should have been more than half full rather than half empty. But ‘with a little help from its friends,’ Qatar has proven to be its own worst enemy in the court of public opinion.

The geopolitical minefields of a Turkic world

The geopolitical minefields of a Turkic world

October 8, 2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has blown new life into Turkey’s vision of a Turkic world that stretches from Anatolia to Xinjiang in north-western China.

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.

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