05 July 2015
Criticism this week by football player Ahmed Al-Merghani of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s hard-handed repression of dissent and failure to defeat a mushrooming insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula signals mounting discontent in Egypt.
Al-Merghani’s comments on his Facebook page are indicative, because they suggested the degree to which Al-Sisi’s cult-like popularity has diminished, barely two years after he toppled elected president Mohamed Morsi in a military coup and a year after the former general was voted into office.
Football frequently serves as a barometer of political trends in the Middle East and North Africa. US intelligence officials have said they routinely attended football matches in the region to glean clues as to where a country is headed.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at 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.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 06/07/2015