The 2022 FIFA World Cup, one of the biggest international sporting events, is being held for the first time in the Middle East, with Qatar as the host nation. My experience attending the tournament underlines the economic, political and social tensions that this World Cup has put on prominent display.
Middle East & North Africa Archive
After the financial and cultural success of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, more and more nations have vied for the chance to host the Olympics and the World Cup, leading to ambitious budgets and corruption in the selection process. Since the selection of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, though, FIFA and the IOC have course-corrected.
The initial inability of many in the West to fully grasp the scale of what is now unfolding in Iran is the product of three dynamics that reflect deeper problems with how the EU and U.S. engage with the wider world. To avoid repeating those mistakes, the West needs to mitigate such distortions of perceptions and policy.
At COP27, the Middle East Came Up Short on Climate Action—Again
As the United Nations COP27 Climate Change Conference closed Sunday, Egypt, this year’s host, hailed the agreements brokered there as a success. But there continues to be a gap between the climate-change commitments most countries in the Middle East and North Africa have formally expressed and their actual behavior.
The U.N. COP27 Climate Change Summit has entered its final week, but the agenda for the remainder of the conference threatens to be overshadowed by concerns over Egypt’s poor human rights record, especially because of the restrictions Egyptian authorities have placed on the participation of civil society groups at the summit.
Under Netanyahu, Israel’s Ukraine Policy Will Still Be ‘Made in Syria’
The return of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister has raised the question of whether he will revisit Israel’s neutrality over the war in Ukraine. But he is unlikely to, for a simple reason: Israel fears that aligning against Russia in Ukraine would curtail its freedom to operate against Iranian forces and proxies in Syria.
Netanyahu’s New Partners Could Spell Trouble for U.S.-Israel Ties
The new Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu is anticipated to be different than its predecessors due to the likely inclusion of two ultra-nationalist and Jewish supremacist parties. That will present a challenge to the U.S., in terms of the new government’s more unsavory figures and the policies it is expected to implement.
The U.N. COP27 Climate Change Conference kicked off in Egypt this week, capping off a year of contrasts when it comes to climate action. On one hand, several states dramatically increased their climate ambitions. On the other, a series of extreme weather events reinforced the sense of urgency over the climate crisis.
Saudi Arabia has ramped up its crackdown on dissent, as recent cases make clear that the country is willing to surveil its citizens abroad and severely punish them for exercising their right to free expression within the jurisdiction of democratic countries, a worrying trend that appears to only be getting worse.
Netanyahu’s Far-Right Partners at Home Could Lose Israel Friends Abroad
Israel’s fifth parliamentary election in four years secured a dramatic political comeback for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is set to form a government that will include the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionism. The coalition already threatens to undermine Israel’s partnerships with Gulf States and the U.S.
Israeli voters went to the polls for the fifth time since 2019 on Tuesday, in elections that many expected to deliver the same kind of “Groundhog Day” outcome of indecisive deadlock that characterized the previous four ballots. Instead, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a stunning political comeback, overcoming his legal jeopardy stemming from corruption trials and a toxic personal brand that had splintered the Israeli right to win an outright majority. For the past three years, opposition to Netanyahu had driven the formation of an “anyone but Bibi” coalition among political factions that otherwise had little to nothing in […]
Iraq’s New Government Puts Iran-Backed Militias in the Driver’s Seat
Iraq’s parliament approved a new government last week, bringing an end to the year-long political deadlock that followed the country’s 2021 parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani will head the new government, backed by a coalition dominated by parties representing Iran-backed Shiite militias.