24 January 2017
An Egyptian government decision to designate soccer icon Mohammed Aboutreika as a terrorist coupled with the recent arrest of more than 30 militant football fans puts to bed any hopes that general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi sees the game’s supporters as a way to reach out to his opponents.
Mr. Al Sisi’s intent to maintain his brutal crackdown on dissidents was likely bolstered by a perceived change of attitude of the United States with the rise of President Donald J. Trump, who is expected to prioritize counter-terrorism over respect for human rights.
In a telephone conversation this week, Mr. Trump promised Mr. Al-Sisi, who met the president in New York in September and was the first Muslim head of state to congratulate him on his election victory, that the United States was committed to supporting Egypt in its fight against political violence.
… Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title, Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario and a forthcoming book, Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 26/01/2017