The concerns, criticisms and debates at the Qatar World Cup about human rights and other contentious issues served as reminders that sporting events carried out under the banner of national flags will always be susceptible to politicization, no matter how often it is claimed that the athletic arena is off-limits to politics.
Brussels has been rocked this week by the biggest corruption scandal to hit the city in decades, with several people arrested as part of a probe into suspected bribery of European Parliament officials by a Gulf state. Amid all the fevered speculation, the biggest question on the minds of many now is: Who will be next to be implicated?
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia last week for a four-day trip that included three summits in Riyadh with a range of Arab leaders. A bilateral strategic agreement signed by Riyadh and Beijing during Xi’s visit signals Saudi Arabia’s determination to diversify its partnerships and China’s growing role in the region.
As the 2022 FIFA World Cup enters its knockout rounds, a subdued atmosphere in Doha increasingly mirrors the waning public debate around geopolitical issues—particularly Qatar’s poor human rights record—that received significant attention in the runup to the World Cup and during the tournament’s first two weeks.