Author Archive: James M. Dorsey

James M. Dorsey

is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives at the airport for a state visit to China in Beijing, capital of China, March 15, 2017.Xinhua SIPA USA / PA Images

Spreading the Gospel: Asian Leaders Wary of Saudi Religious Diplomacy

Critics in the Maldives likely sighed relief when Saudi King Salman this week postponed his visit because of an outbreak of flu. The flu is however unlikely to halt a planned massive Saudi investment or the impact on Maldives society of the kingdom’s religion-driven public diplomacy. Big ticket investments and countering political violence dominated the headlines of the king’s tour of Asia together with the extravagance of his travel – an entourage of at least 1,000, 459 tonnes of luggage, a golden electric elevator for the monarch to descend from his private plane, and a specially built toilet for his visit to a Jakarta…
Read more

Pakistan - Saudi - Iran

Pakistani Military Engagement: Walking a Fine Line Between Saudi Arabia & Iran

Pakistan is emerging as an important military player in the Gulf as its struggles to balance complex relations with regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran and diverging approaches by different branches of its government. Pakistan’s military engagement with the Gulf goes far beyond increased involvement in a Saudi-led, 41-nation military alliance that officially was established to counter terrorism, but is widely suspected to also be a bid to garner support for the kingdom’s troubled intervention in Yemen and create an anti-Iranian Sunni Muslim grouping.

This week’s sanctioning of one of China’s largest telecom equipment manufacturers, ZTE, by the US Commerce Department, and an investigation of Huawei, ZTE’s foremost Chinese competitor, could not have come at a more auspicious moment for Saudi King Salman as he visits China on the third leg of his month-long Asian tour.

China Maneuverers Between Saudi Arabia and Iran

This week’s sanctioning of one of China’s largest telecom equipment manufacturers, ZTE, by the US Commerce Department, and an investigation of Huawei, ZTE’s foremost Chinese competitor, could not have come at a more auspicious moment for Saudi King Salman as he visits China on the third leg of his month-long Asian tour. King Salman’s visit aims to strengthen economic and military ties and persuade China that Saudi Arabia rather than Iran is its most useful regional ally. The penalties and investigation of the two Chinese companies related to violations of US sanctions on Iran as well as North Korea signal the Trump…
Read more

© Photo: PakistanTribe

Sunni Ultra-Conservatism & Western Populism: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Two recent high profile events, Pakistan’s Super Cricket League (PSL) final and the Lahore Literary Festival, reflect the country’s struggle with the rise of militant Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism. They also illustrate how militancy often serves illiberal Pakistani leaders as a tool to curtail critical expression much like Western populists such as US President Donald J. Trump seek to redefine truth and refocus public debate.

SA_

Creating Frankenstein: Saudi Arabia’s Ultra-Conservative Footprint in Africa

There is much debate about what spurs political violence. The explanations are multi-fold. There is one aspect that I’d like to discuss here as it relates to Africa and that is the role of Saudi Arabia. Let me be clear: With the exception of a handful of countries, none of which are in Africa, Saudi Arabia, that is to say the government, the religious establishment and members of the ruling family and business community, does not fund violence.

Detained Pakistani Militant Goes Into Politics Image ©: Azaz Syed

Detained Pakistani Militant Goes Into Politics

Muhammad Hafez Saeed, the recently detained UN and US-designated global terrorist and one of the world’s most wanted men, plans to register his group, Jama’at-ud-Dawa (JuD), widely seen as a front for another proscribed organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), as a political party in Pakistan, according to sources close to the militant.

Trump1

Liberals Pay the Price for Trump and Saudi-supported Illiberalism

US president Donald J. Trump’s fuelling of Islamophobia with his newly imposed travel ban as well as his war on the mainstream media feed an increasing trend towards supremacism and intolerance as well as restrictions on freedom of expression, media and religion across the Muslim world.

world order_

Towards a New World Order in Eurasia? The Role of Russia and China

A new Russian-led, China-backed Eurasia-centred world order may be in the making against the backdrop of alleged Russian cyber warfare against the US and Europe. Analysts see a pattern in Russian moves that could serve China’s interests, should US president-elect Donald Trump adopt a more confrontational approach towards Beijing.

Menu Title