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 … [Read more…]

Government and Fans Battle in Court and on the Pitch in Egypt and Turkey (JMD in Research 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 … [Read more…]

Soccer soft power: A double-edged sword

By James M. Dorsey An avalanche of criticism of FC Bayern Muenchen,  a leading soccer brand and Germany’s most successful club, for playing a commercially driven friendly against Saudi Arabia’s FC Al Hilal amid a crackdown on dissent in the kingdom, the public flogging of a blogger and the putting on trial in a court … [Read more…]

Turkish soccer body penalizes Kurdish club amid mounting tensions

By James M. Dorsey A Turkish Football Federation (TFF) decision to penalize a third tier soccer club in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir for adopting a Kurdish name reflects mounting tension in south-eastern Turkey. The tension is fuelled by the realization that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is unlikely to make major concessions before parliamentary … [Read more…]

Turkish soccer: Illiberal President Erdogan’s latest victim

By James M. Dorsey Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s illiberal policies have targeted the media, the judiciary, the police, militant soccer fans, and anti-government protesters. Now they threaten to claim yet another victim: the game of football itself. In a major blow to troubled Turkish soccer, Yildiz Holding, a conservative conglomerate known for its confectionary … [Read more…]

Asian Cup Politics: more than just a game

By James M. Dorsey Kuwait may have scored the first goal against Australia in the opening match of the Asian Cup but when the match ended 4:1 in favour of the Australian hosts the message was not simply a defeat on the pitch. It highlighted the importance and the impact of Middle Eastern politics on … [Read more…]