Saudi Arabia uses soccer to isolate Iran

By James M. Dorsey   Saudi Arabia is using soccer and its influence in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to expand its campaign to isolate Iran, complicate Iran’s return to the international fold in the wake of the nuclear agreement, strengthen Iranian hardliners in advance of next month’s crucial elections in the Islamic republic, and … [Read more…]

Targeted Paris stadium symbolizes pitfalls of war against the Islamic State

By James M Dorsey Zouhair, a security guard of immigrant background, was one of several security officers, who on Friday prevented three of the Paris suicide bombers from entering the city’s Stade de France stadium. The bombers were forced to blow themselves up outside the stadium and at nearby McDonald’s. Little is publicly known about … [Read more…]

UAE chairman of Manchester City pressures UK to crack down on Muslim Brothers

By James M. Dorsey Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, chairman of Manchester City, one of Britain’s most popular soccer clubs and a close business associate of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has warned the UK that his country would block multi-billion dollar arms deals, halt investment in Britain and suspend intelligence cooperation if … [Read more…]

Syrian soccer: Succeeding against the odds

Despite civil war, Syria’s tightly-controlled national team remains on course to qualify for its first ever World Cup October 9, 2015 10:16AM ET by James M. Dorsey   @mideastsoccer Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s political fortunes are looking up on more than one battlefield. Even as Russian military intervention appears to have given Assad’s government a new lease on life, … [Read more…]

FIFA to rescue of troubled Saudi King Salman

By James M. Dorsey Palestine is a headache Saudi King Salman doesn’t need as he confronts rare demands from members of his ruling family that he and his son be removed from power, growing unease about a seven-month old devastating military campaign in Yemen that has caused devastation and mounting civilian casualties, widespread criticism of … [Read more…]