Dr. James M. Dorsey

Dr. James M. Dorsey

Dr. James M. Dorsey

(Ph.D. University of Utrecht). Specializes in the Muslim world's political, social, and economic fault lines as well as Chinese policy towards the region with a focus on geopolitics, social movements, and political and militant Islam. James also focuses on the nexus of sports, politics, and society. Email: [email protected]

Talking to Rouhani: Is Trump Shooting from the Hip or Reading from a Script?

| August 5, 2018

Message to Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv: Not to worry. US President Donald J. Trump has no intention of unconditionally meeting his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani. On the contrary: Trump’s surprise announcement that he is willing to talk to Rouhani is likely part of a plan formulated almost a year by National Security Advisor John R. Bolton before he returned to government service.

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Russian Hacking in the US and the Gulf

| July 23, 2018

The covert cyberwar that helped spark the 13-month-old Gulf crisis, which 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.

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Saudi Religious Diplomacy Targets Jerusalem

| July 8, 2018

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. The kingdom’s quest for regional hegemony risks deepening divides in the Muslim world.

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The Moroccan Boycotts: A New Model for Protest?

| June 22, 2018

Mounting anger and discontent is simmering across the Arab world much as it did in the run-up to the 2011 popular revolts that toppled four autocratic leaders. But this time around, the anger does not always explode in mass street protest,s as it recently did in Jordan. In Morocco, it is manifesting in the form of widespread boycotts.

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The 2018 World Cup Could Become the Middle East’s Latest Battlefield

| June 13, 2018

The simultaneous presence in Russia of the Saudi and Iranian teams for the 2018 World Cup is likely to shine a spotlight on the covert wars between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran as well as on a related dispute over 2022 World Cup host Qatar, which did not qualify for this year’s tournament. Tensions will be present even if the kingdom and the Islamic Republic fail to meet face to face on the pitch.

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Protests in Jordan: Revisiting the Arab Spring

| June 6, 2018

Protests that forced Jordan’s prime minister to resign and laid bare the country’s systemic economic and political crisis shed new light on the root causes of popular protests in the Middle East that swept the region in 2011 and have since continuously erupted across a swath of land stretching from Morocco to Egypt.

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China Is Treading a Fine Line in Iran

| May 18, 2018

Now that Donald Trump has exited the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran, there is more at stake for the other signatories than either their belief in the deal’s virtues or their eagerness to salvage economic opportunities. Maintaining the deal without the US would deliver a severe blow to American credibility and perceptions of US power. China has long experience circumventing sanctions regimes, but the environment surrounding the reimposed sanctions is likely to be unusually confrontational.

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Saudi-Moroccan Soccer Spat Symbolizes the New Arab Politics

| May 17, 2018

The spat over Saudi Arabia’s refusal to support a Moroccan bid for hosting rights of the 2026 World Cup tells the tale of the rise of individual country nationalism at the expense of Arab solidarity, Saudi determination to safeguard its alliance with the US at any cost, and creeping Saudi and UAE efforts to strong-arm countries into supporting their 11-month-old diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar.

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Iran Struggles with Potentially Explosive Environmental Crisis

| May 1, 2018

Iranian leaders are struggling, three months after anti-government protests swept the Islamic Republic, to ensure that environmental issues that helped spark a popular uprising in Syria in 2011 leading to a brutal civil war don’t threaten the clergy’s grip on power.

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Natural Gas: An Underrated Driver of Saudi Hostility Towards Iran and Qatar

| April 25, 2018

Debilitating hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran is about lots of things, not least who will have the upper hand in a swath of land stretching from Central Asia to the Atlantic coast of Africa. While attention is focused on ensuring that continued containment of Iran ensures that Saudi Arabia has a leg up, geopolitics is but one side of the equation. Natural gas is the other.

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