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

  By James M. Dorsey 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. To watch a video version of this story on YouTube please click here. A podcast version is available on   Soundcloud, Itunes , Spotify , Spreaker , and   Podbean. Geopolitics i

The World Cup and beyond: Thinking strategically about LGBT rights

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  By James M. Dorsey 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. To watch a video version of this story on YouTube please click here . A podcast version is available on   Soundcloud, Itunes , Spotify , Spreaker , and   Podbean. When Egypt

China and the Middle East: Heading into Choppy Waters

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  By James M. Dorsey To watch a video version of this story on YouTube please click here . A podcast version is available on   Soundcloud , Itunes , Spotify , Spreaker , and   Podbean. 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. The laundry list of pitfalls for China includes the fallout of the Ukraine war, strained US relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Turkish opposition to Finnish and Swedish NATO membership, the threat of a renewed Turkish anti-Kurdish incursion into northern Syria, and the fate of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program. Drowning out the noise, one thing that becomes evident is that neither the Gulf states nor Turkey have any intention of fundamentally altering their security relationships with the United States, even

Recognising Israel: Any Asian volunteers?

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  By James M. Dorsey To watch a video version of this story on YouTube please click here . A podcast version is available on   Soundcloud, Itunes , Spotify , Spreaker , and   Podbean. The question for Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is not whether either country will recognise Israel but when and who will go first. For the past two years, Saudi Arabia was believed to want a Muslim state in Asia, home to the world’s three most populous Muslim majority countries, to recognise Israel first. Asian recognition would give the kingdom, home to Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, a welcome fig leaf. Numbers, as expressed by population size, were one reason. Compared to Saudi Arabia’s 35 million people, Pakistan has a population of 221 million, Indonesia 274 million, and Bangladesh 165 million. That was one reason Saudi Arabia preferred an Asian state to take the lead in following the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan, who recognised Israel in the least two ye

The India-Gulf Spat: Protagonists in glass houses

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 By James M. Dorsey 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. To watch a video version of this story on YouTube please click here . A podcast version is available on   Soundcloud, Itunes , Spotify , Spreaker , and   Podbean. Qatar Airwa