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Qatari soft power efforts: two steps forward, one step backwards

Efforts to leverage Qatar’s 2022 World Cup hosting rights to create the soft power the Gulf state needs to punch above its weight and ensure a sympathetic hearing in the international community in times of emergency operate on the Leninist principle of two steps forward, one step backwards. Take events this month as an example. …

James Dorsey

Pushing the envelope: the World Cup and Arab revolts drive change

Pressured by human rights and trade union activists leveraging Qatar’s exposure as a World Cup host and influenced by subtle changes sparked by popular Arab revolts in recent years, young Qataris are pushing the envelope, broaching publicly hitherto taboo subjects like homosexuality, women’s dress codes, and citizenship. The pushing of the envelope may be the …

James Dorsey

A study in soft power strategy: Iceland 1, Qatar -1

The soccer soft power contrast between Qatar and Iceland speaks volumes. A comparison of the strategies of both countries demonstrates that it takes more than money to leverage soccer to create political, geopolitical, and economic opportunity. Money and world soccer body FIFA’s desire to take one of the world’s foremost sporting events beyond Europe and …

James Dorsey

Germany launch World Cup defense

The next World Cup is still almost two years away, but qualifying for the event is about to get underway. Germany’s first test is against Norway on Sunday. It’s the beginning of a new era with a new captain.

Deutsche Welle

FIFA, human rights, and politics: one step forward, two steps back

World football body FIFA’s creation of a watchdog to monitor the living and working conditions of migrant labour employed in World Cup 2022-related construction sites is the second time in a month that Qatar has been warned that it needs to demonstrate sincerity in its reform of the Gulf state’s controversial labour system. The announcement …

James Dorsey

Embattled World Cup host Qatar sends mixed messages

The embattled World Cup host Qatar is sending contradictory messages as it struggles with demands to improve migrant labour conditions, answer the mounting questions about the integrity of its successful FIFA bi, confront the fall-out of dropping energy prices, and seek to project itself as both a key Western ally and a useful conduit to …

James Dorsey