Is Iran Turning its Back on Syria?

By James M. Dorsey RSIS Commentaries No. 129/2011 dated 6 September 2011 Synopsis Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s staunchest ally, Iran, is hinting that its support for the embattled leader is not unconditional. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is preparing for the likelihood … Continue reading

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China scores fatal own goals in competition for post-Qaddafi Libya

By James M. Dorsey China has scored two near fatal own goals in the race for influence and lucrative contracts in oil-rich post-Qaddafi Libya. A document disclosed this weekend testifies to China preparing to supply as late as July weapons … Continue reading

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Myanmar has much to teach autocratic Arab leaders when it comes to soccer

By James M. Dorsey   When it comes to soccer as a release valve for pent-up anger and frustration, Myanmar’s authoritarian leaders are proving to be far better students of Roman history than their embattled Arab counterparts. If Arab leaders … Continue reading

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Qaddafi sons: two sides of the same coin?

By James M. Dorsey It is hard to fathom that Colonel Moammar Qaddafi’s third son, Al Saadi Al Qaddafi, would truly be any more conciliatory to NATO-backed Libyan rebels who have effectively replaced his father as the country’s rulers, than … Continue reading

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Algerian-Qatari tension over Libya spills onto the soccer pitch

By James M. Dorsey Diplomatic tensions between Algeria and Qatar over the Gulf state’s support for NATO-backed Libyan rebels are spilling onto the soccer field. As part of a litany of alleged anti-Algerian moves by Qatar, Algerian media are accusing … Continue reading

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Risk of messy transition

By James M. Dorsey   ITH Nato-backed rebels capturing Tripoli and members of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s family, Libya could emerge as the Arab world’s first revolution rather than its third successful popular revolt following the toppling earlier this year of … Continue reading

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US and the Middle East: PR fiasco looms for Obama

By James M. Dorsey   Synopsis President Obama faces a public relations disaster in the Arab and Muslim world next month with his expected rejection of recognition of Palestinian statehood by the United Nations General Assembly. Obama could do much … Continue reading

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Fall of Qaddafi poses policy challenge for China and Russia

By James M. Dorsey   Significant advances by NATO-backed Libyan rebels pose a significant policy challenge for China and Russia that could prompt a rethinking of their support for autocratic leaders in the Middle East and North Africa. As Russia … Continue reading

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Libya at crossroads: A model for the Middle East or a revolution that goes awry?

By James M. Dorsey   With NATO-backed rebels capturing Tripoli and members of Colonel Moammar Qaddafi’s family, Libya could emerge as the Middle East and North Africa’s first revolution rather than its third successful revolt following the toppling earlier this … Continue reading

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Tightening noose leaves Assad substantial room to fight on

By James M. Dorsey   Mark Twain’s warning that “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” must be on Syrian president Syrian president Bashar al Assad’s mind as his country braces itself for European sanctions on his country’s oil … Continue reading

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Soccer binds jihadists in Russian terror plot

  By James M. Dorsey Islam Khamushev played soccer as a kid with Muradom Edilbiyev and Muradom Umayev. As adults, the three childhood friends with roots in the northern Caucasus, a hotbed of Islamist militancy, planned to blow up the … Continue reading

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Syria’s Latakia stadium joins long list of region’s politically abused soccer pitches

By James M. Dorsey  Syrian president Bashar al Assad has highlighted the symbolic role of soccer pitches in the Middle East and North Africa with the herding this week of hundreds, if not thousands, of anti-government protesters into the stadium … Continue reading

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Somalia soccer seeks Diaspora support as Islamists lose ground

By James M. Dorsey Somalia, racked by civil war and famine, is seeking soccer players and fan support from the country’s large Diaspora to rebuild shattered infrastructure in advance of 2014 World Cup qualifiers. The recruitment and fundraising campaign follows … Continue reading

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Libyan rebels seek to project image of unity as they advance on Tripoli

By James M. Dorsey With NATO-backed rebel troops closing in on the Libyan capital Tripoli, Col. Moammar Qaddafi’s opponents are desperate to project a façade of unity, brush aside internal rifts and assure Libyans and the international community that they … Continue reading

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Bahrain: A headache for Obama and Blatter

By James M. Dorsey   US president Barak Obama and Sepp Blatter, the head of world soccer body FIFA, share the same headache: what to do about Bahrain? So far, Messrs. Obama and Blatter have essentially shied away from confronting … Continue reading

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Efforts to halt Syrian crackdown focus on crippling economic sanctions

By James M. Dorsey   A day of failed diplomatic flurry in the Damascus is focusing efforts on strangling the regime of Syrian president Bashar al Assad economically despite Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bid to give the failure … Continue reading

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Syria’s Widening Protests: Assad increasingly Beleaguered

By James M. Dorsey RSIS Commentaries (No. 118/2011 dated 10 August 2011) Synopsis The protests against Syrian president Bashar al Assad’s regime is spreading to the country’s business community and middle-class residents of Damascus. There is also mounting international pressure on Assad to halt … Continue reading

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Saudi criticism of Syrian president Assad isolates Iran but fails to address key issues

  By James M. Dorsey Saudi King Abdullah’s call on Syrian president Bashar al Assad to embrace reform and his withdrawal from Damascus of the kingdom’s ambassador has boosted hopes of the international community coming together to force a halt … Continue reading

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Saudi women campaign for recognition of right to play soccer

By James M. Dorsey Two Saudi women have established a women’s soccer and basketball team in the port city of Jeddah in a bid to persuade the government to allow and support women’s right to engage in competitive sports in … Continue reading

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Controversy about Qatar World Cup fuels calls for European summer soccer

By James M. Dorsey Controversy about the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar is fuelling suggestions to radically alter the calendar of European soccer to make it a summer instead of a winter game. The debate threatens to … Continue reading

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