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Showing posts from July, 2012

The Syrian Crisis: Russian Policy Risks Wider Conflict

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RSIS presents the following commentary The Syrian Crisis: Russian Policy Risks Wider Conflict by James M. Dorsey. It is also available online at this link. (To print it, click on this link.). Kindly forward any comments or feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentaries, at  RSISPublication@ntu.edu.sg
No. 139/2012 dated 31 July 2012

The Syrian Crisis: Russian Policy Risks Wider Conflict 
By James M. Dorsey
Synopsis
Russian support of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on anti-government insurgents bodes ill for Moscow’s ability to prevent chaos and anarchy in Syria and risks wider conflict in the Fertile Crescent and beyond.
Commentary
Russian policy towards the Syrian crisis is seen internationally as supporting president Bashar al Assad’s brutal crackdown on anti-government insurgents and opposition protestors. In Syria, where intense fighting has spread from Damascus to Aleppo, many believe the international community has abandoned them and left to fend for themselves against the superi…

Gut organisiert und fanatisch - der Kick und die Politik (JMD on German radio)

Gut organisiert und fanatisch - der Kick und die Politik Tagung über die politische Rolle von Fußballfans Von Jakob EplerFür organisierte Fans ist Fußball mehr als nur ein Spiel. Das Stadion ist für sie auch ein Ort, um politische Ansichten lautstark kundzutun. Warum das so ist, wollte das Institut für Fankultur wissen - und fand in Ägypten ein Paradebeispiel für die Verquickung von Sport und Politik.  Nach einem Fußballspiel Anfang Februar dieses Jahres starben im ägyptischen Port Said 74 Menschen. Der Verein Al Masry hatte Al Ahly aus Kairo empfangen und 3:1 gewonnen. Danach jagten Anhänger des Gastgebers Spieler und Fans von Al Ahly mit Messern und Schlagstöcken. Schnell gab es Gerüchte, die Gewalt sei gewollt und organisiert gewesen. Der Hintergrund: Die Ultrabewegung von Al Ahly ist ein politischer Faktor in Ägypten. Die Fans waren laut James M. Dorsey entscheidend am Sturz von Ex-Präsident Hosni Mubarak beteiligt. Dorsey ist Journalist und Fellow an der Nanyang Technological U…

The Arab world in turmoil: Nasser’s legacy reprise

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RSIS presents the following commentary The Arab world in turmoil: Nasser’s legacy reprise by James M. Dorsey and Mushahid Ali. It is also available online at this link. (To print it, click on this link.). Kindly forward anycomments or feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentaries, at  RSISPublication@ntu.edu.sg
No. 136/2012 dated 26 July 2012

The Arab world in turmoil:
Nasser’s legacy reprise
By James M. Dorsey and Mushahid Ali

Synopsis A wave of anti-government protests in the Middle East and North Africa that is rewriting the region’s political map is sparking a reinterpretation of recent Arab history that could shape political attitudes of future generations. Commentary The rise of Islamist forces in Egypt and other nations in which popular uprisings have toppled autocratic leaders over the past 18 months constitutes the Middle East and North Africa’s latest attempt to take control of its own history. Islamist forces feed on their history of opposition to autocratic rule and a perception that …

FIFA suspension of Bin Hammam buys time

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Collecting suspensions: Moahmmed Bin Hammam
By James M. Dorsey
World soccer body FIFA has suspended its ousted vice president, Mohammed Bin Hammam, from involvement in professional soccer for 90 days in the hope that an independent audit critical of the disgraced Qatari national’s financial management of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will allow it to counter a court verdict that could force it to reinstate him.
FIFA said in a statement that its newly appointed anti-corruption team, former New York state attorney Michael J. Garcia and German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, would also use the suspension to assess prospects of building a more solid case against Mr. Bin Hammam in the wake of the court verdict.
The Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) earlier this month lifted a FIFA ban for life on Mr. Bin Hammam from involvement in soccer after finding him guilty of attempting to buy votes of Caribbean soccer officials for his challenge of FIFA boss Sepp Blatter in th…

Fink: Bin Hammam verdict raises questions (JMD quoted)

Fink: Bin Hammam verdict raises questionsESPNSTAR.com columnist Jesse Fink believes questions should be asked of the FIFA ethics committee which dragged Mohamed Bin Hammam 'through the mud'. Singapore-based academic James M. Dorsey, whose excellent blog The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer gets regular plugs in this column (do yourself a favour and read it), spells it out plainly in his latest post. "The Court of Arbitration for Sport's dismissal of bribery charges against ousted FIFA vice-president Mohamed Bin Hammam paints a troubling picture of the status of good governance, accountability and transparency as well as ethical and moral standards in world soccer,"he writes.  "It portrays FIFA's banning of Mr Bin Hammam for life from involvement in professional soccer as having effectively been based on flimsy evidence, inconclusive investigations and witnesses whose credibility is in question." Or in the words of the CAS report itself: "FIFA&…

Court questions integrity of FIFA proceedings against Bin Hammam

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By James M. Dorsey
A careful read of this month's Court of Arbitration of Sports dismissal of bribery charges against ousted FIFA vice president Mohammed Bin Hammam paints a troubling picture of the status of good governance, accountability and transparency as well as ethical and moral standards in world soccer.
CAS's ruling leaves little doubt that the judges believe that Mr. Bin Hammam, a 63-year old Qatari national, is more likely than not guilty of the charges brought against him. The court nonetheless acquitted Mr. Bin Hammam on the grounds that FIFA's evidence did not meet its standard of "comfortable satisfaction." The court left the door open to renewed prosecution of Mr. Bin Hammam if FIFA is able to shore up its evidence.
If Mr. Bin Hammam would be hard pressed to portray the ruling as evidence of his innocence, it is in many ways equally condemning of FIFA. It portrays FIFA’s banning of Mr. Bin Hammam for life from involvement in professional soccer as ha…

Qatar and UAE hire fired AFC Bin Hammam associates

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Mohammed Bin Hammam
By James M. Dorsey
Qatari and United Arab Emirates soccer bodies have provided employment for dismissed former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) senior staff implicated in an independent auditor’s report that questions the financial management of the group by its suspended president, Qatari national Mohammed Bin Hammam.
The fact that the Qatar and UAE soccer bodies agreed to hire personnel that AFC let go because of their relationship to Mr. Bin Hammam is likely to prompt further questions about his links to the Qatari royal  family and his potential involvement in Qatar’s controversial winning of the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
Mr. Bin Hammam is fighting charges of bribery and corruption and potentially allegations of money laundering, busting of US sanctions and tax evasion as a result of the auditor’s report as well as his ousting last year as vice president of world soccer body FIFA. Mr. Bin Hammam is at the center of a number of soccer corruption scandals t…

Bin Hammam audit opens Pandora’s Box

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Mohammed Bin Hammam
By James M. Dorsey
An independent auditor's report into financial management of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) by its disgraced Qatari president has set the stage for major investigations by Malaysian judicial authorities and international soccer bodies into governance of world soccer and the awarding to Qatar of hosting rights of the 2022 World Cup, the world's biggest sporting event.
The report by PriceWaterhouse Cooper (PWC) of disgraced former FIFA vice president Mohammed Bin Hammam who was last week suspended for 30 days as head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as a result of the report suggests cases of money laundering, tax invasion, bribery and busting of US sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
The report provides the Kuala Lumpur-based AFC with the reasonable suspicion of a legal offence that it under Malaysian law is obliged to report to authorities. It also leaves the AFC with little choice but to launch a full-fledged investigati…

Egyptian military uses soccer ban to undermine ultras

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Port Said continues to haunt the military and soccer
By James M. Dorsey
Egypt’s military rulers are employing a security-inspired sustained ban on professional soccer as a tool to undermine radical, highly-politicized and street battle-hardened soccer fans who have emerged as the North African country’s most militant opponents of the armed force’s grip on politics.
The military’s effort to sideline soccer as a national past time is in stark contrast to ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s use of the game to enhance his image and distract public attention from politics. If soccer overshadowed politics under Mr. Mubarak, politics dwarfs soccer under his successors.
So far the military supported by the interior ministry appears to be succeeding in its goal of isolating militant soccer fan groups. It is however a strategy that could backfire. For one, public focus on politics means closer scrutiny of public officials and enhanced pressure on both the military and Egypt’s newly elected president,…