Qatar and the World Cup: Protests and Human Rights In Play

May 20, 2014

Mega sporting events allow Qatar and other nations to build soft power on the international stage. Mass protests against Brazil's hosting of the FIFA World Cup, Turkey's loss of opportunities to hold sports events, and controversy over Qatar's labor system are impacting the global sports world's...

Gulf Security: A Risky New US-Saudi Blueprint

December 16, 2013

A US-backed Saudi blueprint risks splitting the GCC. In a bid to reassure Gulf states worried about a US-Iranian rapprochement and critical of American Middle East policy, the Obama administration has opted to back Saudi efforts for regional hegemony through greater integration of Gulf military...

Investment in Soccer: A Double-Edged Sword for Gulf States

December 10, 2013

In bids to enhance their soft power, Gulf states run the risk of reputational damage. Saudi Arabia has become the latest Gulf country to discover that investment in European soccer to achieve national and corporate branding, risks reputational damage when potentially discriminatory government and...

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Rewriting the Middle East Map

November 27, 2013

The Iran deal could rewrite the political map of the Middle East. If all goes well, the preliminary agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia – plus Germany, would ensure the peaceful nature...

Saudi Arabia: The Politics of Soccer

May 28, 2013

As soccer continues to emerge as a focal point of dissent in Saudi Arabia, women are to be allowed into stadiums in the conservative kingdom.  Saudi Arabia, under domestic and international pressure to grant women sporting rights, is creating separate stadium sections so that female...

Algeria: The Arab World’s Next Revolt?

May 20, 2013

With President Bouteflika recovering from a stroke in a French hospital, Algeria's rising tension among soccer fans could lead the country towards an uprising, argues James M. Dorsey. Algeria is competing to be the next Arab nation to witness a popular revolt. That is assuming soccer is a...

Turkey Gears Up to Give Gulf States a Run for their Money

April 01, 2013

The Gulf states dominate headlines with Qatar’s controversial hosting of a World Cup and the high profile acquisition of European soccer teams, but they may be meeting their match in an emerging competition for being the Middle East and North Africa’s prime sports, transportation and...