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Showing posts from August, 2013

Qatar 2022 – A mixed blessing

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By James M. Dorsey
Winning the 2022 World Cup hosting rights has proven to be a mixed blessing for Qatar. The wealthy Gulf emirate, more than two years after world soccer body FIFA voted in Qatar’s favor, is under greater scrutiny than it ever has been and that it originally had bargained for. Qatar’s suitability as a host is being questioned, its labor system is under attack and some court decisions have earned it unfavorable publicity.
Writing in Arabian Business as FIFA prepares at an executive committee meeting in October to move the dates of the Qatari World Cup from summer to winter because of the emirates’ extreme temperatures in June and July, Gay Wright raised the specter of the unprecedented: “What if Qatar loses the 2022 World Cup?” That may be less far-fetched than meets the eye given that the losers in the race for the 2022 Cup – the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia – could initiate legal action demanding a new vote on the grounds that a change of dates co…

Turkey moves to prevent protests in stadiums and on campus

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By James M. Dorsey
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has announced a series of measures to prevent soccer stadiums and university campuses from becoming major protest venues as the football season and the academic year begins. In doing so, Mr. Erdogan is taking a leaf out of the playbook of Egyptian military strongman Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and other Arab autocrats who demonize their opponents as terrorists.
In a series of recent statements aimed at students and militant soccer fans who played prominent roles in the mass Gezi Park protests in June, the government said it intended to replace private security forces in stadiums and on campuses with police forces; was banning the chanting of political slogans during soccer matches; obliging clubs to force spectators to sign a pledge to abide by the ban before attending a game; and was cancelling scholarships for students who had participated in anti-government protests.
The government said plainclothes policeme…

Pressure for labor reform in Qatar increases amid calls to move World Cup to winter

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By James M. Dorsey
Activists have stepped up calls for a boycott of the 2022 World Cup if Qatar fails to bring conditions for its majority foreign work force in line with international labor standards. The campaign seeks to exploit potential Qatari vulnerability at a time that world soccer body FIFA gears up to decide whether to move the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East and North Africa from summer to winter.
In a strengthening of the boycott campaign waged since Qatar was awarded World Cup hosting rights in late 2010 by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which has 175 million members in 153 countries, Anti-Slavery International this week declared its support for shunning the wealthy Gulf state.
“It would be a dreadful pity and an enormous shame on all of us if we are prepared to participate in a world cup that has been brought to us by slavery,” said Aidan McQuade, the group’s director.
ITUC secretary general Sharan Burrow said her organization was pre…

The politics of Indonesian and Turkish soccer: a comparative analysis (with Leonard Sebastian)

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Soccer & SocietyVolume 14Issue 5, 2013Special Issue: Football in AsiaSelect Language​▼ Translator disclaimer The politics of Indonesian and Turkish soccer: a comparative analysis DOI:10.1080/14660970.2013.792482James M. Dorseya & Leonard C. Sebastiana*
pages 615-634
Publishing models and article dates explained
Published online: 23 May 2013Article Views: 17 Preview Access Options Alert me Abstract With soccer playing an increasingly important political role in both Turkey and Indonesia, this essay seeks to highlight similarities in the politics of soccer in two parts of the world that share cultural and political traits but are geographically distant from one another.

Turmoil in Egypt: Learning lessons from the Philippines

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By James M. Dorsey
With Egypt deeply polarized politically and religiously, kick-starting a political process capable of bridging divides and creating an inclusive democratic process seems a distant prospect. It will ultimately depend on the likely shrinking over time of the military's popular base and the government's realization that it needs the United States and the European Union to tackle the country's vast economic problems.
Amid entrenched political battle lines that have been reinforced by a brutal security force crackdown on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Egyptians would do well to look at past events in the Philippines as well as the last 2.5 years of their own history. Military support for a popular uprising forced elected Philippine President Joseph Estrada out of office twelve years ago. Nine subsequent years of corrupt government by Mr. Estrada's successor, Gloria Arroyo, have since persuaded many to rethink their original backing for theun…

Soccer militants put their mark on Egyptian protests

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By James M. Dorsey
A soccer brawl last year in which more than 70 militant soccer fans died galvanized significant numbers of Egyptians against the military and security forces. The brawl accelerated the military’s desire to turn power over to an elected government.
Eighteen months later, mass protests, involving Muslim Brothers, non-Brothers and militant, street battle-hardened soccer fans are opposing the military ouster of elected president Mohammed Morsi and the subsequent brutal crackdown on the Brotherhood, both of which were backed by a significant segment of Egyptian society.
The ingrained resistance to military rule and arbitrary security forces of many soccer fans and the youth groups that formed the backbone of the popular uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak out of office in early 2011 is again visible in more than the fact that it has been adopted by a far wider part of the Egyptian public. It has been reinforced by what many Egyptians perceive to be a restoratio…

US Tightrope Walk: Arab Autocrats Try to Redefine Terrorism

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RSIS presents the following commentary US Tightrope Walk: Arab Autocrats Try to Redefine Terrorism 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. 148/2013 dated 12 August 2013
US Tightrope Walk: Arab Autocrats Try to Redefine Terrorism

By James M. Dorsey
Synopsis

The United States is walking a tightrope with US Secretary of State John Kerry’s
controversial endorsement of the toppling of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as a “restoration of democracy”. The endorsement is likely to be seen by Islamist and non- Islamist anti-government protesters as backing for conservative Arab autocrats who project their crackdowns on opposition forces as a ‘struggle against terrorism’. That perception will gain currency as Egyptian security forces prepare to crack down on mass pro-Morsi demonstrations in Cairo.
Commentary