Islam

Playing politics with religion: Imran Khan puts himself between a rock and a hard place

August 28, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. Less than a week in office, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has made blasphemy one of his first issues, empowering militants and initiating international moves, long heralded by Saudi Arabia, that would restrict press freedom by pushing for a global ban. Mr. Khan, in his first address as…

Crunch time in Pakistan

August 26, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. It’s crunch time in Pakistan. Resolving Pakistan’s financial crisis is likely to require newly appointed prime minister Imran Khan to not only accept an International Monetary Fund (IMF) straightjacket but tackle his and Pakistan’s convoluted relationship to militancy. With the breeding ground for militancy built into the country’s…

Russian Hackers: The shadowy world of US and Gulf hacks just got murkier

July 17, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. The covert Qatar-United Arab Emirates cyberwar that helped spark the 13-month-old Gulf crisis that pits a Saudi-United Arab Emirates-led alliance against Qatar may have just gotten murkier with the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mr. Mueller’s indictment provided detail on website…

Xinjiang: Pan-Turkism fuels China’s hearts-and-minds campaign

July 13, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. Chinese efforts to woo Saudi Arabia’s ethnic Chinese community highlight the People’s Republic’s effort to avert criticism from the Muslim world of its crackdown in the north-western province of Xinjiang and strengthen relations with the kingdom and Middle Eastern nations. The efforts to woo a community, a significant…

Whither Wahhabism?

July 9, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman could well dash expectations that he is gunning for a break with Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism rather than a shaving off of the rough edges of Wahhabi ideology that has been woven into the kingdom’s fabric since its founding more than eighty years ago.…

Saudi religious diplomacy targets Jerusalem

July 3, 2018

By James M. Dorsey     A United Arab Emirates-backed Saudi effort to wrest control from Jordan of Islam’s holy places in Jerusalem signals a sharper, more overt edge to Saudi religious diplomacy and the kingdom’s quest for regional hegemony that risks deepening divides in the Muslim world.     The effort also serves to…

The Middle East: History threatens to repeat itself

July 1, 2018

By James M. Dorsey If the notion that history repeats itself is accurate, it is nowhere truer than in the Middle East where the international community, caught by surprise by the 2011 popular Arab revolts, has reverted to opting for political stability as opposed to sustainability, ignoring the undercurrents of change wracking the Middle East.…

Shooting oneself in one’s own foot: Pakistan’s failed effort to evade terrorism finance listing

June 29, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. The Pakistani government’s removal of a virulently anti-Shiite militant from its terrorism list at the very moment that an international money laundering and terrorism finance watchdog was deciding to put the country on a watchlist highlights Pakistan’s struggle to come to grips with militancy. The decision by the…

Indonesian Muslim leader signals global shifts in meetings with Pence and Netanyahu

June 23, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. Yahya Staquf, a diminutive, soft-spoken leader of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim movement, and Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s advisor on religious affairs, has held a series of meetings in recent weeks that reflect the Muslim world’s shifting attitudes towards Israel and the Palestinians and a re-alignment of…

Israel adopts abandoned Saudi sectarian logic

June 17, 2018

By James M. Dorsey Amid ever closer cooperation with Saudi Arabia, Israel’s military appears to be adopting the kind of sectarian anti-Shiite rhetoric that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is abandoning as part of a bid to develop a national rather than a religious ethos and promote his yet to be defined form of…