This chronic failure over such impossibly low stakes necessitates that Arabs following international competitions hedge their bets, since the obsession with football won’t go away simply because their national teams are relegated to watching. This leads to fervent support for international clubs and European and Latin American national teams, with a fanaticism and enthusiasm that make one believe they hail originally from Munich, Sao Paolo or Manchester.
We are witnessing an intense scramble for control of the Middle East among mostly autocratic, disparate regimes, creating new alignments where the fabulous wealth of small states is conjugated with countries boasting larger armies, with proxies and mercenaries as expendable cannon fodder in tow.
It is true that at present the Turks and the Iranians are playing nice with each other, but these are ephemeral moments; their respective imperatives will lead them to collide with one another regardless of their subjective preferences.
In early 2020, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman executed two plans — an oil war and a crackdown on dissident family members — that exemplify his blunt, risky methods of consolidating power for himself and raising Saudi Arabia’s profile.