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Soccer and Militant Islam Intersect in Incidents Across the Middle East

James Dorsey | Posted 10.20.2014 | World
James Dorsey

A successful soccer player near the peak of his career, 22-year Nidhal Selmi died last week a foreign fighter for the Islamic State, the jihadist group that controls a swath of Syria and Iraq.

Egypt's Banning of Ultras Constitutes Effort to Outlaw Legitimate Opposition

James Dorsey | Posted 09.06.2014 | Politics
James Dorsey

An expected decision by Egyptian soccer authorities to ban as terrorist organizations groups of militant soccer fans builds on the definition by Arab autocrats of legitimate, democratic opposition forces as violent threats to their grip on power.

North African Soccer Pitches Return as Venues for Anti-government Protests

James Dorsey | Posted 09.02.2014 | World
James Dorsey

The incidents reflect mounting anger and frustration among North African youth who have few if any social and economic prospects.

World Cup Broadcasts: The Middle East's Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity

James Dorsey | Posted 08.28.2014 | Sports
James Dorsey

Pricing by Qatari entities holding World Cup rights for the Middle East and North Africa, including Al Jazeera's belN Sports channel, puts broadcasts beyond the reach of many football fans in the region.

Politics, Political Interference, and Mismanagement Hamper Middle Eastern Soccer

James Dorsey | Posted 08.16.2014 | Sports
James Dorsey

Millions across the Middle East and North Africa will cheer Algeria, the only Arab squad to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, when it meets Belgium this week in its first tournament match.

Controversial Soccer Club Chief Declares Candidacy in Egypt's Presidential Election

James Dorsey | Posted 06.05.2014 | Politics
James Dorsey

Egyptian soccer is adding salt to the run-up to presidential elections that are certain to be won by the country's strongman, newly retired general Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, with the announcement of the controversial chairman of one of Egypt's foremost clubs that he too was a presidential candidate.

Rival Fans Unite to Claim Ownership of Egyptian Stadia

James Dorsey | Posted 05.11.2014 | Politics
James Dorsey

In a rare demonstration of unity, several groups of militant soccer fans have thrown down a gauntlet for the Egyptian interior ministry and its security forces by effectively demanding ownership of sports stadia.

Egyptian Autocrats Struggle With Soccer's Political Pros and Cons

James Dorsey | Posted 04.26.2014 | Politics
James Dorsey

The Egyptian government's effort to promote soccer and use the sport to garner public support amounts to a double-edged sword.

Banning of Egyptian Player Highlights Problems of Sports Governance

James Dorsey | Posted 01.23.2014 | World
James Dorsey

This week's banning of a prominent Egyptian soccer player for expressing political views on the pitch goes to the core of international sports' problems: a refusal to recognize the inextricable linkage between sports and politics.

Al Ahli Turns African Championship Into Anti-government Protest

James Dorsey | Posted 01.23.2014 | World
James Dorsey

Clashes this weekend between security forces and militant supporters of Cairo club Al Ahli SC have dented the Egyptian military-backed government's efforts to show that the country had put its political crisis behind it.

Soccer and Autocracy: Who Do National Football Teams Represent?

James Dorsey | Posted 11.07.2013 | World
James Dorsey

Little better illustrates the inextricable link between sports and politics than the frequent perception of Middle Eastern and North African national football teams as representatives of repressive autocratic regimes.

Egypt's Third Way: A Blend of Islamism and Militarism

James Dorsey | Posted 10.04.2013 | World
James Dorsey

The U.S. quest for stability in the Middle East that amounted to support for autocratic regimes at the expense of democratic values was in part fueled by fear -- fear that change in countries like Saudi Arabia threatened to open the door to the replacement of conservative, pro-Western rulers by military officers steeped in a vision that combined nationalism and Islamism.

The Struggle for Egypt: Saudi Arabia's Regional Role

James Dorsey | Posted 09.15.2013 | World
James Dorsey

The Egyptian military coup was Saudi Arabia's third successful counter-strike in recent weeks against the wave of change in the Middle East and North Africa and its most important defeat to date of Qatari support for popular revolts and the Brotherhood.