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Showing posts from March, 2016

Amnesty International criticism returns Qatar to square one (JMD on Play the Game)

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Amnesty International criticism returns Qatar to square one
Photo: Special KRB/Flickr
31.03.2016
By James M. Dorsey
A new report from Amnesty International slams Qatar for not living up to promises to improve workers’ rights and adds to a growing international criticism of Qatar’s inability to properly implement adopted policies.
World Cup host Qatar and FIFA are in public diplomacy terms back to square one with a just published Amnesty International report that takes the Gulf state to task for failing to implement lofty promises to significantly improve workers’ working and living conditions and the world soccer body for not ensuring that Qatar lives up to international standards. The report, The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game, provides a damning assessment of the state of affairs five years after FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Amnesty interviewed more than 200 labourers working on the refurbishment of the Khalifa International Stadium, one of eight planned facilities for the W…

AFC rehires former executive accused of seeking to destroy corruption-related documents

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By James M. Dorsey
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), despite multiple legal inquiries into global soccer governance and a massive corruption scandal, has rehired as a consultant its former general secretary, Dato’ Alex Soosay, less than a year after his departure as a result of this blog’s disclosure of Mr. Soosay's attempt to undermine an independent audit by requesting tampering with or destruction of documents.’
Mr. Soosay’s hiring, barely a month after AFC President Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa was defeated in elections for the head of troubled world soccer body FIFA, suggests that many regional and global soccer executives have yet to absorb the full impact of the corruption scandals and care little about appearances. Mr. Salman’s own record, particularly with regard to human rights, cast a shadow over his FIFA candidacy.
The AFC as a body has so far not been named in legal investigations by Swiss and US authorities that have already led to multiple indictments…

ILO to Qatar: Put your money where your mouth is or else

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By James M. Dorsey
The International Labour Organization, by giving Qatar 12 months to implement labour reform, has put the Gulf state on notice that it no longer can delay acting on promises made in the wake of its successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup. The ILO warning rings stark as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar’s main competitor, steps up efforts to become the region’s prime sports hub, on the back of implementation of the very labour reforms Qatar has yet to produce.
The ILO threat to establish a Commission of Inquiry if Qatar fails to act in the coming year comes amid mounting pressure on the Gulf state. Such commissions are among the ILO’s most powerful tools to ensure compliance with international treaties. The UN body has only established 13 such commissions in its century-long history. The last such commission was created in 2010 to force Zimbabwe to live up to its obligations.
Piling on the pressure on Qatar, Amnesty International has said it would issue a report on M…

Terrorism and Euro 2016: What the ISIS Attacks Mean for the Upcoming Soccer Tournament (JMD quoted on Me.com)

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Terrorism and Euro 2016: What the ISIS Attacks Mean for the Upcoming Soccer Tournament By Miles SurreyMarch 25, 2016 LIKE MIC ON FACEBOOK: In the summer of 2010, within the al Shabaab extremist group-controlled areas of Somalia, watching the World Cup placed many civilians at the risk of flogging, amputations and even executions. To the people in power, football – or soccer as it's known in the United States – infringed on their ambitions, namely that of jihad, or holy war, and it had to be stamped out.  With Europe once again on high alert following the deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, which left 34 people dead and more than 230 wounded and came on the heels of November's ISIS attacks in Paris, officials have raised concerns that terrorists could target the upcoming Euro 2016 tournament. The competition, which pits the best international teams in Europe against one another every four years, will be hosted in 10 stadiums across France, beginning on June 10.  "…

Turkish soccer pitches tell the story of hardening fault lines

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Source: Hurriyet
By James M. Dorsey
Turkish soccer pitches tell the story of the country’s multiple sharpening fault lines that are exploding into political violence on the streets of Turkey’s major cities as the government fuels deep-seated political and ethnic tensions.
The warning signs were long visible on the pitch: increased militarism, ethnic tensions between Kurds and Turkish nationalists, and expressions of empathy with the Islamic State (IS), the jihadist group that controls chunks of Syria and Iraq and that alongside Kurds is believed to be responsible for some of the recent bombings in Istanbul, Ankara and south-eastern Turkey.
In the latest development, authorities on Sunday cancelled the derby between Istanbul arch rivals Galatasary SK and Fenerbahce SK and evacuated fans from Istanbul’s Turk Telekom Arena amid fears of yet another attack.
The cancellation followed a suicide attack by IS a day earlier in a popular Istanbul shopping district, the sixth in Turkey in the …

Russia, Iran strive for larger energy cooperation (JMD quoted in AzerNews)

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Russia, Iran strive for larger energy cooperation 17 MARCH 2016, 18:38 (GMT+04:00) By Aynur Karimova Lifting sanctions in fact opened large opportunities for the resource-rich Islamic state to push forward its long stagnated industry. Intensified visits to Tehran in an effort to find a deserved place in the perspective Iranian market are reality of the past few months. But could Russia really become the favorite partners in the oil and gas industry of Iran is now debated by experts unambiguously. Iran and Russia have recently voiced their intention to develop all-out cooperation in the energy sector - from swapping oil and gas to involving Russian companies in the development of Iran's oil and gas fields. The removal of the international sanctions on Iran and the recent improvement of Tehran’s relations with the Western countries have tackled the competition among the energy companies for the vast Iranian market. Russia is among these states. Russian companies are keen on participa…

CHINA AND THE MIDDLE EAST: VENTURING INTO THE MAELSTROM (Part 1)

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The RSIS Working Paper seriespresents papers in a preliminary form and serves to stimulate comment and discussion. The views expressed in this publication are entirely those of the author(s), and do not represent the official position of RSIS. This publication may be reproduced electronically or in print with prior written permission obtained from RSIS and due credit given to the author(s) and RSIS. Please email RSISPublications@ntu.edu.sg for further editorial queries.




NO. 296


CHINA AND THE MIDDLE EAST: VENTURING INTO THE MAELSTROM



JAMES M. DORSEY


S. RAJARATNAM SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES SINGAPORE



18 MARCH 2016

About the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) was established in January 2007 as an autonomous school within the Nanyang Technological University. Known earlier as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies when it was established in July 1996, RSIS’ mission is to be a leading research and graduate teaching ins…