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Showing posts from April, 2016

Women: A Benchmark of Saudi and Iranian Reform

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By James M. Dorsey
With Saudi Arabia announcing plans for a major restructuring of the kingdom’s economy and Iran gearing up to become a regional hegemon, women’s sports is emerging as a benchmark of reform, and one that so far is less than promising.
Saudia Arabia’s recent outline of plans for large scale economic reform away from the kingdom’s dependency on oil acknowledges that women have a role to play but comes nowhere close to assigning them a full-fledged or unrestricted part to play.
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It's finally out: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. To order:http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/the-turbulent-world-of-middle-east-soccer/

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In a slick document, entitled Vision 2030 that was drafted by Western consultants, Saudi Arabia identifies sports “as a mainstay of a healthy and balanced lifestyle and promises “to enc…

Egyptian soccer fans set stage for growing anti-government protests

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By James M. Dorsey
Militant, street battle-hardened Egyptian soccer fans set the stage for growing protests against the government of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi when they earlier this month forced their way into a stadium in protest against the country’s long-standing ban on supporters attending football matches.
The storming of the pitch in the Borg Al Arab stadium in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria during an African Championship match by Ultras Ahlawy, the militant support group of storied Cairo club Al Ahli SC, was the first major soccer-related incident since 20 fans were killed in Cairo last year in a clash with security forces. Police fired gas during the Alexandria incident, wounding 29 people.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's finally out: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. To order: http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/the-turbulent-world-of-middle-east-soccer/
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FOOTBALL IS RELIGION'S ONLY RIVAL IN THE MIDDLE EAST: JAMES DORSEY (MINT ON SUNDAY)

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FOOTBALL IS RELIGION'S ONLY RIVAL IN THE MIDDLE EAST: JAMES DORSEY James Dorsey. In his latest book, Dorsey looks at football in the region, which overlaps with politics, protests and gender rights Arun Janardhan
While world football may be dominated by European and South American nations, the Middle East and North Africa have consistently made football news over the years. Whether it was Algeria’s shocking win over West Germany in the 1982 World Cup, or the fact that some of the biggest clubs in Europe have owners from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
In his latest book The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, James M. Dorsey, a journalist and a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, looks at football in the region, which overlaps with politics, protests and gender rights.
Edited excerpts from an interview:
What is The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer about beyond what the title suggests?
What the boo…

FIFA, Human Rights and Politics: One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards

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By James M. Dorsey
World soccer body FIFA’s creation of a watchdog to monitor the living and working conditions of migrant labour employed on World Cup 2022-related construction sites constitutes the second time in a month that Qatar has been warned that it needs to demonstrate sincerity in its reform of the Gulf state’s controversial labour system.
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It's finally out: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. To order: http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/the-turbulent-world-of-middle-east-soccer/

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The announcement of the watchdog by Gianni Infantino during his first visit to Qatar as newly elected president of FIFA followed a rare warning by the International Labour Organization (ILO) that it would establish a Commission of Inquiry if Qatar failed to act in the coming year. Such commissions are among the ILO’s most powerf…

Obama in the Gulf: Opportunity in Troubled Relations

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By James M. Dorsey
President Barak Obama has a challenge and an opportunity when he meets this week first with Saudi King Salman and then with the leaders of the six Gulf states. His challenge is to manage increasingly fundamentally diverging policy differences. His opportunity is to push for political and social change given that the United States’ alliance with Saudi Arabia is unlikely to revert to the status ante quo at a time that the kingdom confronts existential threats.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's finally out: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. To order:http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/the-turbulent-world-of-middle-east-soccer/
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The list of differences between Saudi Arabia and the United States that have emerged since the 2011 Arab popular revolts is long and growing. It starts with US support for the toppling of Egyptian Preside…

Saudi player’s public haircut spotlights kingdom’s existential dilemmas

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By James M. Dorsey
Waleed Abdullah probably didn’t know what was happening to him when a referee delayed kick-off of a Saudi premier league match to cut the Al Shabab FC goalkeeper’s hair. In a country that demands conformity, Mr. Abdullah’s hair-do, involving shaved parts of his hair in a style popular among youths across the globe, was deemed un-Islamic and by implication subversive – a threat that needed to be dealt with immediately and demonstratively.
The public humiliation of Mr. Abdullah not only evoked the disgracing of players who failed to live up to autocratic expectations in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya but also resembled enforcement of strict dress codes by the Islamic State, the jihadist group from which Saudi Arabia seeks to differentiate itself.
Al Shabab was only allowed to play after fans, players and officials watched the referee use scissors to remove a small mohawk at the front of Mr. Abdullah’s head.
Mr. Abdullah was the first Saudi player t…

Recognizing fan power, Egypt’s regime boosts calls for security sector reform

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By James M. Dorsey
--------------------------------------------------- It's finally out: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. To order:http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/the-turbulent-world-of-middle-east-soccer/

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s brutal regime in rare gestures towards his opponents has twice this year recognized the potential street power of his country’s militant, street battle-hardened soccer fans. In doing so, the regime has implicitly acknowledged that security forces rather than the fans were responsible for past violence and provided ammunition for calls for wholesale reform of law enforcement.
The Sisi regime’s latest gesture came this week when for the first time in five years allowed thousands of members of the Ultras White Knights (UWK), hard-line supporters of storied Cairo club Al Zamalek FC who played a key role in the 2011 toppling of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and protests against subsequent governments, to attend an African Cha…