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]

Russian-Iranian Strains Raise Possibility of US-Israel-Russia Deal on Syria

| June 14, 2019

With Israel set to host an unprecedented meeting of the national security advisors of the US, Russia, and Israel, this week’s efforts by German FM Heiko Maas and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to mediate between the US and Iran could prove to be but a sideshow. The meeting of the national security advisors, against the backdrop of Syrian and Russian forces pummeling Idlib, the last major stronghold of Syrian rebels, takes on added significance with strains emerging in relations between Moscow and Tehran.


Saudi Religious Moderation: How Real Is It?

| June 7, 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is determined to promote an image of himself as a harbinger of Saudi religious moderation, but many observers suspect that the changes he has implemented are only skin-deep. His reforms may turn out to have more to do with public relations than with fundamental change.


Young Arabs Say Religion Plays Too Big a Role in the Middle East

| May 30, 2019

A recent annual survey of Arab youth provides insights that should inform autocrats’ quest for social and economic reform. The survey also suggests, as do the intermittent anti-government protests that continue to erupt in different parts of the Arab world, that Western and Middle Eastern interests would be better served by more nuanced US and European approaches toward the region’s regimes.


Pakistan on a Tightrope

| May 19, 2019

Pakistan risks falling off a tightrope as it attempts to balance its relations with rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.


Arab Power Struggles Are Alive and Well

| May 10, 2019

Libya’s battle for Tripoli alongside ongoing mass anti-government demonstrations that toppled autocratic leaders of Algeria and Sudan demonstrate that the popular Arab protests that in 2011 forced four presidents out of office – as well as the counterrevolution it provoked – are alive and kicking.


Battling for the Future: Arab Protests 2.0

| May 6, 2019

Developments across northern Africa and the Middle East demonstrate that the drivers of the 2011 popular revolts that swept the region and forced the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen to resign not only continue to exist, but can still upset the apple cart at any moment. They suggest that the regional struggle between forces of change and ancien regimes and militaries backed by the UAE and Saudi Arabia is far from decided.


The Future of the China-Russia Alliance

| April 24, 2019

Odds are that China and Russia will prove to be long-term US rivals. However, it may just as well be that their alliance will prove to be more tactical than strategic, with the China-Russia relationship resembling US-Chinese ties: cooperation in an environment of divergence rather than convergence.


Protests Challenge Gulf Counterrevolution

| April 18, 2019

Much of the Middle East’s recent turmoil stems from internecine Middle Eastern rivalries spilling onto third country battlefields and Saudi and UAE-led efforts to roll back the achievements of the 2011 popular Arab revolts and pre-empt further uprisings. The recent successful toppling of ailing Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and months of anti-government demonstrations that have put Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir on the defensive suggest that the Saudi-UAE effort may be faltering.


US Designation of Revolutionary Guards Risks Escalation

| April 12, 2019

The US designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, and the Iranian response, has potentially put US military personnel in the region in harm’s way. The designation increases economic pressure on Iran because the IRGC is not only an army but also a commercial conglomerate – but it remains to be seen to what degree the sanctions will affect the IRGC.


Chinese Pressure Tactics

| April 3, 2019

Recent Chinese pressure on Myanmar to approve a controversial dam project and the arrest in Kazakhstan of a human rights activist suggest that China, in a seemingly tone-deaf pursuit of its interests, is forcing governments to choose between heeding increasingly anti-Chinese public sentiment and pleasing Beijing to ensure continued political and economic support.