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.
The outcome of the retrial, and its timeframe, remain uncertain. But more importantly, Mr. Fahmy should not be subjected to this process at all.
A stampede at a Cairo stadium earlier this month, much like a politically-loaded soccer brawl in the Suez Canal city of Port Said three years ago, is shining a spotlight on Egypt's unreformed, unabashedly violent, and politically powerful police and security forces amid confusion over what precisely happened and how many fans died.
The United Arab Emirates has embarked on an all-out effort to broaden its regional influence and achieve global acceptance of its autocratic definition of terrorism that encompasses all non-violent, legitimate expressions of political Islam.
The death of at least 40 militant, highly politicized, and street battle-hardened Egyptian soccer fans in clashes with security forces raises the stakes for general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi's efforts to suppress political dissent.
Egyptian-general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi's efforts to lend legitimacy to parliamentary elections scheduled for this spring have gotten off to a murky start with the appointment of a controversial, reportedly United Arab Emirates-backed human rights NGO as one of five foreign election monitors.
Leading opposition figures were jailed with long sentences following the widespread 2011 popular uprising, but the main group--Al Wefaq--was allowed to exist and its leadership largely spared prison. It was harassed in the courts and vilified in the state press, yes, but its senior leadership had not been subjected to long-term detention. Until now.
When Sarah Samir stepped this week on to an Egyptian soccer pitch to referee a men's match, she joined a small band of Arab women referees staking out their right to be involved in the sport on par with men.
Kuwait may have scored the first goal against Australia in the opening match of the Asian Cup but when the match ended 4:1 in favor of the Australian hosts the message was not simply a defeat on the pitch. It highlighted the importance/impact of Middle Eastern politics on the region's game.