It’s Raining Iranian Men, Hallelujah

Team Melli (Shutterstock)

by Shervin Malekzadeh The World Cup ended for the Iranian national team last week but not before the rest of the world took note of its physical prowess off the field. Images of the team went viral after a suggestive… Continue Reading  

Saudi Arabia Versus Iran on the Football Pitch

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by James M. Dorsey Saudi Arabia’s bitter rivalry with Iran has spilled onto Asian soccer pitches with the newly created South West Asian Football Federation (SWAFF) reflecting the kingdom’s bid for regional hegemony, including domination of soccer. Saudi Arabia’s most recent victory… Continue Reading  

The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of the Politics of Middle Eastern Soccer

Qatar_national_football_team

by James M. Dorsey Edited remarks at The Beautiful Game? Identity, Resentment, and Discrimination in Football and Fan Cultures conference, Center for Research on Antisemitism, Berlin, 12-13 April 2018 The virtually continuous role of soccer as a key player in… Continue Reading  

Al-Sisi steps up repression to cover policy failure

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By James M. Dorsey Egyptian general-turned-president Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi would likely be the first to admit that an iron fist is no guarantee for retaining power. Not because of the fate of the country’s longest ruling autocrat, Hosni Mubarak, who… Continue Reading  

Activists and Gulf Crisis Turn Qatar into Potential Model of Social Change

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by James M. Dorsey Potential Qatari moves to become the first Gulf state to effectively abolish the region’s onerous kafala or labor sponsorship system, denounced as a form of modern slavery, could produce a rare World Cup that leaves a… Continue Reading