Showing posts from January, 2015

Tug-of-war among Islamists behind Libya hotel attack: Experts (JMD quoted on AFP)

Tug-of-war among Islamists behind Libya hotel attack: Experts AFP   Jan 29, 2015, 10.27AM IST Tags: Tripoli | Libya hotel attack | Islamists | Islamist-led militias | Corinthia Hotel (Gunmen stormed the luxurious…) CAIRO: A bitter tug-of-war between  Islamists  vying for power and influence was behind this week's deadly assault on a top Libyan hotel that was claimed by the Islamic State group, experts say. Gunmen on Tuesday stormed the luxurious  Corinthia Hotel  - popular with world leaders and diplomats - killing nine people including an American, a French citizen, a South Korean and two Filipinas before blowing themselves up. The attack on such a high-profile target in the heart of  Tripoli  underscored the fragile security situation in the capital, which is controlled by a patchwork of militias allied with one of the two governments claiming to rule Libya. Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn), a coalition of  Islamist-led militias  that insta

Egypt appoints controversial UAE hired gun as elections monitor

By James M. Dorsey Egyptian-general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s efforts to lend legitimacy to parliamentary elections scheduled for this spring have gotten off to a murky start with the appointment of a controversial, reportedly United Arab Emirates-backed human rights NGO as one of five foreign election monitors. The appointment of Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) alongside four other foreign and 63 local NGOs followed statements by the European Union and The Carter Center that they would not be monitoring the Egyptian parliamentary election in March and April. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said the African Union would be sending 50 monitors. International NGO’s complained that they were given only a week to enter bids for the monitoring of this spring’s election. GNRD has in the last year taken partisan stands by seeking to thwart Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup, promoting the autocratic UAE as a model of adherence t

Government and Fans Battle in Court and on the Pitch in Egypt and Turkey (JMD in Research Turkey)

Government and Fans Battle in Court and on the Pitch in Egypt and Turkey Author:  James M. Dorsey, Writer, Journalist, Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies Date: Jan 25, 2015      New Post ,  Research/Policy Papers Government and Fans Battle in Court and on the Pitch in Egypt and Turkey Introduction Egyptian and Turkish soccer pitches are set to re-emerge as battlegrounds between militant, street battle-hardened fans and authoritarian leaders in a life and death struggle that involves legal proceedings to brand the supporters as terrorists and efforts to undermine their popular base. Struggles Heat Up Egyptian fans, after recently storming a Cairo stadium in advance of an African championship final, have vowed in a statement on their Facebook page to break open Egyptian premier league games that have been closed to the public for much of the past four years.[i] Fans played a key role in mass anti-government protests that in 2011 toppled Pr

UK search for Jihadi John spotlights recruitment role of soccer

By James M. Dorsey The United Kingdom’s search for Jihadi John, the masked, British-accented fighter who appears in videos and beheading of foreigners condemned to death by the Islamic State, the jihadist group that controls a swath of Syria and Iraq, has highlighted the significance for militants of soccer as a recruitment and bonding tool. It has also put the spotlight of a small band of Portuguese nationals who have joined the jihadists in recent years. The British search is focusing, according to The Sunday Times , on five East London amateur players who travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State and have since suggested on social media that at least one of them had intimate knowledge of the executions. The five are seen as potential leads to Jihadi John, who identity is believed to be known to British intelligence. One of the five players, 28 year-old, Nero Seraiva, tweeted last year on July 11, days before the execution of American journalist James Foley, the

AFC official ‘happy’ to bar women spectators from stadia

Alex Soosay: happy to bar women from stadia By James M. Dorsey The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has dropped any pretention of standing up for universal standards for equality in sports by endorsing bans on women attending soccer matches in stadia. In doing so, the AFC has confirmed policies adopted by the Asian group as well as world soccer body FIFA that effectively supports autocratic or illiberal democratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa. The confirmation came in remarks by AFC general secretary Dato' Alex Soosay to Agence France Press (AFP) that he is “happy” to respect Iranian laws that ban women from watching male soccer matches in stadia. By implication, Mr. Soosay could have also been referring to Saudi Arabia which, like Iran, bans women from stadia, and in contrast to the Islamic republic, refuses to legalize or encourage women’s soccer. “We’re very broad-minded.  In Australia there’s a big Iranian community and you can’t stop them f