Gulf autocrats and sports corruption: A marriage made in heaven

Remarks at 2016 Exeter Gulf Conference Global soccer and global sports governance have for the past nine years and certainly since a fateful meeting in late 2010 of the executive committee of FIFA, the world soccer body, witnessed crisis after crisis. Invariably the scandals involved corruption: financial corruption, political corruption or corruption of sporting performance. … [Read more…]

Creating Frankenstein: The Saudi Export of Wahhabism – Remarks at 2016 Exeter Gulf Conference

This book project on Saudi public diplomacy using primarily the kingdom’s financial muscle has had a long gestation. It focuses on the impact of various policies of the kingdom on Muslim communities and nations across the globe. In doing so, I will concentrate on Saudi government policy and actions as well as those of senior … [Read more…]

Soccer investments’ reputational risk catches up with UAE

By James M. Dorsey Reputational risk associated with autocratic investment in high profile soccer clubs threatened to catch up with the UAE as a powerful coalition of political and civic leaders in Manchester demanded that the Gulf country release political prisoners, investigate allegations of torture and respect human rights. The leaders, who include members of … [Read more…]

Is Saudi Arabia Zion?

By James M. Dorsey Kamal Salibi, one of the Arab world’s foremost contemporary historians, kicked up a storm when he concluded in a 1985 linguistic exegesis that Judaism’s Zion was not located in Israel but in Saudi Arabia. Israelis, Jews, Saudis, Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians found common ground at the time to denounce Mr. Salibi … [Read more…]

Erdogan vs. Gulen: Power struggle comes full circle in Turkish soccer

By James M. Dorsey Politics’ incestuous relationship with soccer came full circle this week with the mass resignation of executives of the Turkish football federation and the firing of scores of officials, including referees, as part of the government’s witch-hunt against followers of controversial Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen and other government critics. Intended to facilitate … [Read more…]

Creating Frankenstein: The Impact of Saudi Export of Ultra-Conservatism in South Asia

By James M. Dorsey Introduction Continued doubts about the longevity of the Saudi ruling family are fuelled by its Faustian bargain with Wahhabism -a conser vative, intolerant, discriminatory and anti-pluralistic interpretation of Islam.[i] It is a bargain that has produced one of the largest dedicated public diplomacy campaigns in history. Estimates of Saudi Arabia’s spending … [Read more…]

Turkey’s anti-Gulen campaign: Strengthening militants and jihadists James M. Dorsey A Turkish demand that Pakistan close 28 primary and secondary schools associated with controversial, self-exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen has put the government in Islamabad in a quandary as it attempts to get a grip on an education sector in which militant Islamists and jihadists figure prominently. Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan … [Read more…]