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The Turbulent World with James M. Dorsey

The Turbulent World with James M. Dorsey

Author: James M. Dorsey

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Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and co-host of the New Books in Middle Eastern Studies podcast. James is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title as well as Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario and Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa.
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Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan for Gaza’s future once the guns fall silent is likely to be a non-starter. Rather than provide a pathway to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the plan aims to squash Palestinian national aspirations and ensure continued Israeli control.
Two recent soccer incidents suggest that beyond optics little has changed in the Saudi-Iranian rivalry since China mediated the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries a year ago.
With the Gaza ceasefire and prisoner exchange talks stalled, Israel and its hardline US supporters have stepped up long-standing efforts to discredit Qatar, the main mediator between Hamas and the Israeli government.
Increasingly, the Biden administration links a Gaza ceasefire and a prisoner exchange to broader regional objectives, including Saudi recognition of Israel and the semblance of a pathway to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The realisation that Saudi Arabia is not Qatar may seem obvious, but it has significant meaning for the lessons rights activists and others draw from the Qatar World Cup as they prepare for a Saudi-hosted tournament in 2034.
China’s northwestern province of Xinjiang has taken advantage of the international community’s focus on Gaza and US support for Israel, to tighten control of the region’s Turkic Muslim Uighur population, reshape Islam, and engage in social engineering.
US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has found a hardened political landscape as he tours the Middle East for the fifth time since the Gaza war erupted.
Qatari mediation in the Gaza war threatens to become a double-edged sword.
The irony of Middle Eastern geopolitics is that Israel makes it increasingly difficult for US President Joe Biden to support it, while Iran strengthens domestic US anti-Iranian and pro-Israeli hardliners.
The timing of US and Israeli allegations that United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff participated in Hamas’ October 7 attack on the Jewish state was hardly coincidental.
Israel and Hamas are likely to be buoyed in efforts to secure a ceasefire and a new round of prisoner exchanges by an International Court of Justice ruling that Israel’s conduct in Gaza risks acts of genocide, even though the court’s decision failed to satisfy either party.
If one listens to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders, there is only one conclusion: an end to the Gaza carnage is nowhere in sight. However, there may be more to the maneuvering on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide, notwithstanding both sides’ seemingly uncompromising positions.
A recent Lebanese public opinion poll suggests there may be limits to Iran-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah’s restraint in confronting Israel. It also suggests why Iran feels emboldened by escalating tensions in the Middle East.
A Casualty Of War

A Casualty Of War

2024-01-1711:26

Turkish disciplinary action against two Israeli soccer players spotlights one more major casualty of the Gaza war beyond the 24,000 Gazan death toll, the Hamas-held hostages; and the mass Israeli arrests of West Bank Palestinians: freedom of expression.
Increasingly, the United States is caught in a Catch-22 with tension mounting in the Red Sea, Israel maintaining unabated its assault on the Gaza Strip, and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) possibly ruling that Israel may be committing genocide.
US pressure on Israel to switch gears and focus on targetted precision strikes and killings, rather than indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip, potentially heightens the risk of the war escalating into a regional bust-up and expanding beyond the Middle East. The heightened risk suggests US efforts to allow Israel to continue attempting to destroy Hamas while minimising civilian Palestinian casualties could backfire. This would further underline that the only way of preventing an escalation, protecting innocent lives, and securing the release of Hamas-held hostages, is a ceasefire.
The question is not if but when Gaza-related violence will spill onto the streets of European and American cities. This week’s killing in Beirut of Hamas executive Saleh al-Arouri significantly enhanced the threat posed by Hamas, Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, and jihadists.
History repeats itself. This week’s presumably Israeli killing in Beirut of senior Hamas official Salah al-Arouri raises the spectre of renewed tit-for-tat Palestinian and Israeli killings in third countries.
The jury is out on the degree to which the Gaza war threatens pre-war efforts by Middle Eastern states to freeze their differences and focus on economic and security cooperation.
Controversy over the release of Palestinian tax receipts tests the United States’ ability to pressure Israel and suggests that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ultra-religious, ultra-conservative government may not survive an end to the Gaza war.
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