Showing posts from June, 2011

Putting the pieces back together again in Libya

Preparations for a Libya without Colonel Qaddafi come as the United Nations quietly seeks to negotiate an end to the crisis. (File Photo) By JAMES M. DORSEY AL ARABIYA No doubt, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi will eventually be forced out of power. But forces loyal to the embattled colonel are likely to be as much part of post-Qaddafi reconstruction as they are part of the problem today. That is the conclusion of government experts on nation building and development from the United Nations, the United States, Europe, Canada and Turkey who are consulting with the NATO-backed Libyan rebels’ Transitional National Council (TNC). The experts are using the transition in post-invasion Iraq as their model. Preparations for a Libya without Mr. Qaddafi, who has ruled the country with an iron hand for 41 years, come as the United Nations quietly seeks to negotiate an end to the crisis. UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council earlier this

Audience figures for Asian Cup hold out promise for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup

The Asian Cup finals last January set new domestic television audience records. (File photo) By JAMES M. DORSEY AL ARABIYA If television audience records for this year’s Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup finals in Qatar are anything to go buy, Qatar can look forward to achieving new viewer records when it hosts the World Cup in 2022. The Asian Cup finals last January set new domestic television audience records driven by viewers in Asian football giants Korea and Japan, the AFC said releasing data compiled by CSM Media Research. The data provide the first television ratings for the Middle East of Asian Cup finals. Audiences in Japan, this year’s Asian Cup winner, grew from 131 million viewers of the 2007 tournament to 209.2 million of the Qatar event. The audience in Korea increased from 29.5 million in 2009 to 41 million this year. Japan accounted for 43.2 percent of the total AFC Asian Cup 2011 audience followed by Korea and China with 32 percent or 156.6 million

Obama sets himself up for failure in Afghanistan

US President Barak Obama has decided to start drawing down the additional 33,000 troops he dispatched to Afghanistan as part of a surge. (File photo) By JAMES M. DORSEY AL ARABIYA US President Barak Obama seems determined to chalk up Afghanistan as a failure on his scorecard. Together with his decision to start drawing down the additional 33,000 troops he dispatched to the war-shattered Central Asian nation as part of his surge, Mr. Obama has also lowered his sights on what he hopes Afghanistan will look like once the vast majority of US forces have returned home 3.5 years from now. Gone are the hopes that Afghanistan would emerge from the war as a beacon of democracy, peace and stability in a nook of the world populated by troubled, often autocratically ruled nations. Instead, Mr. Obama is gunning to leave behind a nation that no longer is a playing ground where regional powers fight some of their battles. To achieve that, Mr. Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham

Qaddafi warrant: Rare unity could backfire on Russia, China

A house in Tripoli destroyed by NATO bombing. (File photo) By JAMES M. DORSEY AL ARABIYA The International Criminal Court’s issuance of arrest warrants for Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi constitutes a rare recent instance in which Western nations have found common ground with China and Russia in efforts to stop brutal crackdowns on anti-government protesters in the Middle East and North Africa. The warrants for Mr. Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam al-Qaddafi and the head of Libyan military intelligence, Abdullah Senussi, are based on a case involving charges of crimes against humanity, including murder and persecution, that was referred to the court by the United Nations Security Council with the consent of the United States and Europe as well as Russia and China. The referral stands in stark contrast to Russian and Chinese denunciations of US and European interpretations of a Security Council resolution endorsing the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya that both count
Campaign to topple board of Egyptian soccer body mushrooms Tuesday, 28 June 2011 Egypt Football Association chairman Samir Zaher. (File photo) By JAMES M. DORSEY AL ARABIYA A campaign by soccer clubs and militant fans to unseat the board of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA), the country’s governing soccer body, has mushroomed into open revolt. In a statement after a meeting on Sunday, 52 soccer clubs, including crowned Cairo club Al Zamalek SC, said they no longer trusted the board and were calling an extraordinary general assembly to table a motion of no-confidence. “With 53 clubs in attendance, 52 of which called for an extraordinary general assembly, the clubs agreed to withdraw their confidence” in the board,” the statement published on Zamalek’s Website said. Sunday’s meeting was called to ensure that the clubs had a legal quorum after a meeting on Saturday attracted 49 clubs, just short of the number needed. The EFA in a statement of its own on its Web

Iranian soccer body fires top officials

The Iranian Football Federation (IFF) has fired three of its top officials after Iran failed to advance to the next round of qualifiers for 2012 London Olympics, according to, an Iranian exile news website. The officials were blamed for the awarding to Iraq of a match that Iran had 1:0 because the Islamic republican team fielded a player who had been suspended. National team administrator Fereydoon Moeini, Olympic team supervisor Asghar Hajiloo and Davoud Parhizgar, a staff member, were sacked for dereliction. Their dismissal was ordered by IFF chief Ali Kaffashian despite the fact that Iran would have needed to beat Iraq 4:0 to advance in the tournament. Earlier this month the hopes of Iran’s women’s team were dashed when a crucial match against Jordan was cancelled because the squad appeared on the pitch wearing the hijab, an IUslamic headdress that cover the hair, neck and ears. World soccer body FIFA bans all political and religious symbols during matches.

Obama nudges Israelis, Palestinians to talk. Failure again?

Mr. Obama desperately tries to forge a deal under which Israeli and Palestinians would return to the negotiating table. (File photo) By JAMES M. DORSEY AL ARABIYA Israel’s rerouting Sunday of a section of its contentious West Bank separation barrier constitutes not only a major victory for the village of Bilin that has come to symbolize Palestinian opposition to the enclosure, but also takes on added significance as US President Barak Obama’s efforts to kick start stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks gain momentum. The rerouting of the section four years after Israel's Supreme Court ordered it torn down falls short of villagers’ demands to remove the structure from the village altogether. Villagers have vowed to continue with their weekly protests that have frequently ended in clashes between activists and Israeli troops and turned their village into a symbol of resistance. The rerouting nevertheless constitutes an ever so miniscule gesture as Mr. Obama desperate

Investigator doubts veracity of British paper’s allegations of FIFA corruption

FIFA has suspended two members of its executive committee for one to three years, after its probe into alleged misdealings in the bidding for football’s 2018 and 2022 World Cups. (GETTY photo) By JAMES M.DORSEY AL ARABIYA Allegations by British newspaper The Sunday Times that executive committee members of world soccer body FIFA are corrupt were designed to further Britain’s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup, according to a report compiled by a private investigator on behalf of a world soccer body FIFA executive committee member who was suspended on charges of corruption. The 24-page report entitled Project Airtime summarizing the investigation by French investigator Jean-Charles Brisard asserts that evidence of the alleged corruption submitted by The Sunday Times to a British parliamentary enquiry into soccer governance as well as FIFA was in part fabricated. Irrespective of whether Mr. Brisard’s allegations are correct, the report constitutes part of an emerging bat