A series of recent mass protests in several Arab countries have called into question suggestions that civil wars, brutal crackdowns and military coups and interventions have quelled popular willingness to stand up for rights in the Middle East.
A shadowy group of militant soccer fans that has largely lied low since it participated in mass anti-government protests in 2013 that led to the military overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has claimed responsibility for a car bomb near a Cairo security building that injured at least six policemen.
This month's premier league final between Cairo's two storied clubs, Al Ahli SC and Al Zamalek SC, once the world's most violent derby, was more than a clash between two soccer giants.
Criticism this week by soccer player Ahmed al-Merghani of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi's hard-handed repression of dissent and failure to defeat a mushrooming insurgency in the Sinai peninsula signals mounting discontent in Egypt.
The Economist recently highlighted the contrast between post-revolt Asian societies and Middle Eastern and North African societies in the woes of a pro-longed, messy and bloody transition that is pockmarked by revolt and counter-revolt, sectarianism, the redrawing of post-colonial borders, and the rise of retrograde groups as revolutionary forces.
Ultras have for the past eight years been at the core of anti-government protest in Egypt. They have been the drivers of student protests in the last two years against the regime of Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, the general-turned-president who in 2013 toppled Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first and only democratically elected president.
Few are able to bridge Egypt's deeply polarizing divide between supporters and opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood following the 2013 military coup that toppled President Mohammed Morsi.
Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has been elected president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for a second term and vice president of world soccer body FIFA amid unanswered questions about the AFC's handling of corruption investigations.
Egyptian-general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al Sisi's iron grip on dissident is likely to be put to the test with the sentencing to death of 11 soccer fans for involvement in a politically loaded football brawl three years ago that left 74 militant supporters of Al Ahli SC dead.
Egypt has moved closer to banning as terrorist organizations militant soccer groups that form the backbone of opposition to autocratic rule with the arrest and pre-trial detention of five alleged members of the Ultras White Knights (UWK), the highly-politicized, street battle-hardened support group of storied Cairo club Al Zamalek SC.
A soccer pitch in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, home to Iran's Arab minority, has emerged as a flashpoint of anti-government protest at a time of rising Arab-Iranian tensions over the status of Shiite Muslim minorities in the Arab world and the crisis in Yemen.
BEIRUT -- With the Iranian involvement against ISIS in the assault on Tikrit, and the Saudi invasion of Yemen to stem the tide of Iranian influence, we have entered a new Middle Eastern war.
Iran's crackdown earlier this month on the protesting soccer fans was as much in line with its intolerance toward expressions of anti-government sentiment as it was a response to references to Ahwaz in Saudi media as Arab territory.
An Egyptian prosecutor has set the stage for the banning of a group of hard-core, militant soccer fans by charging them with accepting money and explosives from the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to stage last month's Cairo football riot in which 22 people were killed.
Some critics claim that the reason for President Obama's reluctance to support Egypt's fight against terrorism is that Washington does not want to reward a dictator that stifles freedom at home. However, this is a weak argument that could easily be applied to Jordan.
Militant, highly politicized, street battle-hardened supporters of both clubs played a key role in the demonstrations that removed Mr. Mubarak from power and in protests against all subsequent governments, including that of Mr. Al Sisi.