Militant Islam

Pakistani poker: Playing Saudi Arabia against China

Pakistani poker: Playing Saudi Arabia against China

October 7, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr. Desperate for funding to fend off a financial crisis fuelled in part by mounting debt to China, Pakistan is playing a complicated game of poker that could hand Saudi Arabia a strategic victory in…

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…

Despite concerns, China sees a potential ally in Pakistan’s Imran Khan

July 30, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. Pakistani prime minister-in waiting Imran Khan’s ability to chart his own course as well as his relationship with the country’s powerful military is likely to be tested the moment he walks into his new office. Pakistan’s most fundamental problems loom large and are likely to demand his immediate…

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.…

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…

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…

Saudi effort to isolate Iran internationally produces results

June 8, 2018

By James M. Dorsey / Mid-East Soccer. Saudi efforts to isolate Iran internationally are producing results in North Africa and Central Asia. Authorities and religious leaders in Tajikistan and Algeria have in recent weeks accused Iran of subversive activity and propagating Shiism while Morocco last month announced that it was breaking off diplomatic relations with…