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    James M. Dorsey

    James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, a syndicated columnist and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. A veteran, award-winning foreign correspondent whose career focused on ethnic and religious conflict, James focuses at RSIS on political and social change in the Middle East and North Africa, the impact of change in the Middle East and North Africa on Southeast and Central Asia and the nexus of sports, politics and society in the Middle East and North Africa and Asia.

Author's Posts

  • The Middle East Rush to Bury Hatchets: Is it sustainable?0

    by James M Dorsey    27 January 2022 How sustainable is Middle Eastern détente? That is the $64,000 question. The answer is probably not. It’s not for lack of trying. Gulf states and Egypt have ended their debilitating 3.5-year-long economic and diplomatic boycott of Qatar. The UAE has moved at lightning speed to establish formal ties

  • Ukraine crisis could produce an unexpected winner: Iran0

    by James M Dorsey   25 January 2022 Iran potentially could emerge as an unintended winner in the escalating crisis over Ukraine. That is, if Russian troops cross the Ukrainian border and talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement fail. An imposition of tough US and European sanctions in response to any Russian

  • UAE schoolbooks earn high marks for cultural tolerance, even if that means praising China0

    by James M Dorsey    22 January 2022 An Israeli NGO gives the United Arab Emirates high marks for mandating schoolbooks that teach tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and engagement with non-Muslims. “The Emirati curriculum generally meets international standards for peace and tolerance. Textbooks are free of hate and incitement against others. The curriculum teaches students to value

  • Kazakhstan, like Ukraine, spotlights the swapping of the rule of law for the law of the jungle0

      by James M Dorsey       16 January 2022 When a Russian-led military force intervened earlier this month, it did more than help Kazakh President Qasym-Johart Toqayev restore and strengthen his grip on power following days of protest and violent clashes with security forces. The intervention brought to the fore a brewing competition for spheres of

  • Kazakhstan has lessons for the Gulf0

      by James M Dorsey  13 January 2022 Russia’s intervention in Kazakhstan contains a cautionary message for Gulf foreign ministers visiting Beijing this week. The intervention to stabilize the government of Kazakh President Kassym-Johart Tokayev, following mass protests, cemented Russia’s primacy when it comes to security in Central Asia, a swathe of land that is

  • Saudi and Emirati religious moderation inspires few beyond their borders0

      by James M Dorsey     8 January 2022 Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have drawn praise for social reforms that have domestically reduced the role of religion in public life, enhanced women’s rights, and, in the case of the UAE, catered to non-Muslim lifestyles. Yet, Saudi and Emirati efforts to position their countries

  • Qatar, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but unlike Kuwait, cleanses its textbooks0

    by James M Dorsey     2 January 2022 Qatar has begun to cleanse its schoolbooks of supremacist, racist or derogatory references as well as celebrations of violent jihad and martyrdom, according to a recently released study. The revision of textbooks in the final year leading up to Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup is designed to

  • Pakistan revamps education at the point of a gun0

    Javed Ahmad Ghamidi is a rare clerical voice in Pakistan. By James M. Dorsey  30 December 2021 A prominent religious scholar and former member of the state-appointed Council of Islamic Ideology that ensures that legislation conforms with Islamic law, Mr. Ghamidi calls a spade a spade in a country in which that can have dire

  • Playing cat and mouse: UAE energy company agrees to build power plants in Iran0

    3 Increasingly, compliance with US sanctions against Iran could emerge as a litmus test of the United Arab Emirates’ close ties to the United States. At the sharp edge of a potential rift between the allies is a reportedly recently concluded agreement by a private UAE company to build gas-fired thermal, solar, and wind power

  • Middle Eastern autocrats sigh relief: the US signals Democracy Summit will not change policy0

      James M. Dorsey    4 December, 2021 The United States has signalled in advance of next week’s Summit for Democracy that it is unlikely to translate lip service to adherence to human rights and democratic values in the Middle East into a policy that demonstrates seriousness and commitment. In a statement, the State Department said the

  • Testing the waters: Russia explores reconfiguring Gulf security0

    by James M Dorsey    28 November 2021 Russia hopes to blow new life into a proposal for a multilateral security architecture in the Gulf, with the tacit approval of the Biden administration. If successful, the initiative would help stabilise the region, cement regional efforts to reduce tensions, and potentially prevent war-wracked Yemen from emerging as

  • Qatari World Cup sparks healthy controversy across multiple issues0

      by James M Dorsey   24 November 2021 When seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton wore a helmet this weekend featuring the colours of the LGBTI Pride Progress Flag during the debut Qatar Grand Prix, he was challenging more than the Gulf state’s failure to recognise rights. So will the Danish Football Union (DBU), Denmark’s governing

  • Pulling back from the brink: Religious and ethnic intolerance threatens to spin out of control0

        by James M. Dorsey    15 November 2021 The family of nations is balancing on the edge of an abyss as mushrooming religious and ethnic intolerance becomes the norm. Western as well as non-Western societies have helped paved the road towards the abyss: the West by abandoning the post-World War Two principle of

  • Whither Muslim solidarity and moderation?0

    by James M. Dorsey    11 November 2021 Former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki AlFaisal Al Saud must have gotten his tenses mixed up when he asserted in a recently published memoir that no one should underestimate the political importance of Muslims’ commitment to helping other Muslims. Prince Turki’s memoir is focused on Afghanistan, a major


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