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]

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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Saudi Moderation? Prince Muhammad Is on Shaky Ground

| April 12, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has dazzled international media and public opinion by lifting some restrictions on women’s rights and holding out hope for the abolishment of others, vowing to return the kingdom to a vague form of moderate Islam that many believe is defined by the social reforms he has already implemented, and curbing the powers of the country’s ultra-conservative leadership. But his top-down approach to social change, which brushes aside Saudi history, rests on shaky ground.

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Churchill vs. May: A Revealing Study in Contrasts

| April 9, 2018

Unlike Winston Churchill, who did not hesitate to light up a cigar and pour himself a drink in the company of Saudi King Abdulaziz, modern-day Western leaders like Theresa May disdain their own cultures in deference to Islam even as they decry the Muslim world’s chronic human rights abuses. The fallout from their refusal to stand up for democratic values might prove very costly over the long term.

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The Middle East’s Nuclear Technology Clock Is Ticking

| March 20, 2018

The Middle East’s nuclear technology clock is ticking as nations in the region pursue peaceful capabilities that could leave the door open to military options in the future.

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The Arabs Leverage Lucrative Nuclear Contracts

| March 9, 2018

Controversy in South Korea over a secret military clause in a nine-year-old agreement to build the United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear reactor raises a Pandora’s Box of questions about political and military demands that Arab nations may seek to impose as they embark on a nuclear trajectory.

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