Saudi Arabia is using soccer and its influence in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to expand its campaign to isolate Iran, complicate Iran's return to the international fold in the wake of the nuclear agreement, strengthen Iranian hardliners in advance of next month's crucial elections in the Islamic republic, and deflect attention from mounting criticism of the kingdom's human rights record.
Military operations resulted in an economic recession and deepened local infighting. Saudi Arabia has also lost soldiers in battle and faces increased retaliatory attacks. To avoid further bloodshed, it would be wise for Saudi Arabia to consider using diplomacy rather than facing the Houthis head-on.
Traditional human rights groups have long documented the repression of LGBTQ activists in the Middle East. These efforts, unfortunately, have not translated into the improved status of innocent men and women who dare to openly acknowledge their sexual orientation. One human rights activist has taken a different approach.