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Articles by: Dr James M Dorsey

King Mohammed prays in a mosque in Zanzibar

The Saudi-Moroccan spat: Competing for the mantle of moderate Islam

Lurking in the background of a Saudi-Moroccan spat over World Cup hosting rights and the Gulf crisis is a more fundamental competition for the mantle of spearheading promotion of a moderate interpretation of Islam. It’s a competition in which history and long-standing religious diplomacy gives Morocco a leg up compared to Saudi Arabia, long a citadel of Sunni Muslim intolerance[Read More…]

Morocco may have lost the World Cup but could lead the way in protest

Morocco may have lost the World Cup but could lead the way in protest

Mounting anger and discontent is simmering across the Arab world much like it did in the walk-up to the 2011 popular revolts that toppled four autocratic leaders. Yet, this time round the anger does not always explode in mass street protests as it recently did in Jordan. To be sure, fury at tax hikes in Jordan followed the classic pattern[Read More…]

Saudi Arabia drags geopolitical baggage on to the World Cup pitch

Saudi Arabia drags geopolitical baggage on to the World Cup pitch

Saudi Arabia has much at stake when its national soccer team enters the pitch for the opening match of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow. With politics a permanent fixture, Saudi Arabia is playing in the World Cup finals for the first time in more than a decade at a moment that the kingdom is vying for enhanced influence in[Read More…]

Israel scores painful own goal in run-up to the World Cup

Israel scores painful own goal in run-up to the World Cup

Argentina’s cancellation of a friendly against Israel because of Israeli attempts to exploit the match politically is likely to reverberate far beyond the world of soccer and spotlights the risks of Israeli efforts to persuade the international community to recognize Jerusalem as its capital. The Argentinian decision suggests that despite the fact several countries, including East European nations, are debating[Read More…]

Jordanian protests: Revisiting the Arab Spring and setting a benchmark

Jordanian protests: Revisiting the Arab Spring and setting a benchmark

  Protests that forced Jordan’s prime minister to resign and laid bare the country’s systemic economic and political crisis shed a new light on the root causes of popular protests in the Middle East that swept the region in 2011 and have since continuously erupted at local levels in a swath of land stretching from Morocco to Egypt. The protests,[Read More…]

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Mahathir’s reforms could put Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the spot

Mahathir’s reforms could put Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the spot

Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammed Mahathir is adopting policies that could reshape the Southeast nation’s relations with powerful Gulf states. A series of anti-corruption measures as well as statements by Mr. Mahathir and his defense minister, Mohamad (Mat) Sabu, since this month’s upset in elections that ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak from office, are sparking concern in both Saudi[Read More…]

Politicizing Education: Israel and Myanmar set worrisome precedent

Politicizing Education: Israel and Myanmar set worrisome precedent

 Israel and Myanmar, two countries with troubled human rights records and disputed histories of dealing with ethnic and national rights, have set a worrisome precedent by giving each other a veto over what students are taught about the other. A recently signed education agreement between Israel and Myanmar allows for editing each other’s textbooks as they relate to the portrayal[Read More…]

The Middle East’s Nuclear Technology Clock Starts Ticking

The Middle East’s Nuclear Technology Clock Starts Ticking

The Middle East’s nuclear technology clock is ticking as nations pursue peaceful capabilities that potentially leave the door open to future military options. Concern about a nuclear arms race is fuelled by uncertainty over the future of Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement, a seeming US willingness to weaken its strict export safeguards in pursuit of economic advantage, and a willingness by[Read More…]

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