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Mehrdad Minavand of Iran in action during the World Cup first round match against the United States at the Stade Gerland in Lyon, France on June 21, 1998. Iran won the match 2-1.
Mehrdad Minavand of Iran in action during the World Cup first round match against the United States at the Stade Gerland in Lyon, France on June 21, 1998. Iran won the match 2-1.

A U.S.-Iranian Standoff at the World Cup—and Beyond

Off the playing field, Iran’s protests and ongoing uranium enrichment have heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

A worker walks past FIFA World Cup banners outside the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
A worker walks past FIFA World Cup banners outside the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Qatar Can’t Hide Its Abuses by Calling Criticism Racist

Migrant workers from South Asia and Africa have suffered for years under the Gulf nation’s kafala system. They deserve compensation for wage theft, injuries, and death.

A view of the 974 Stadium, built out of shipping containers, which will host matches during the World Cup, in the Ras Abu Aboud district of the Qatari capital Doha on Oct. 20.
A view of the 974 Stadium, built out of shipping containers, which will host matches during the World Cup, in the Ras Abu Aboud district of the Qatari capital Doha on Oct. 20.

Don’t Ignore Qatar’s Progress on Labor

Critics of the World Cup host nation overlook the reforms the government has undertaken.

A woman walks past a promotional installation for this year's World Cup soccer tournament, which is being held in Qatar, at a shopping mall in Beijing on Nov. 17.
A woman walks past a promotional installation for this year's World Cup soccer tournament, which is being held in Qatar, at a shopping mall in Beijing on Nov. 17.

Chinese Firms Are at the World Cup, but Not Chinese Fans

A soccer-loving nation is isolated from the global sport.

Visitors take photos of the 2022 FIFA World Cup countdown clock in Doha, Qatar, on Oct. 30.
Visitors take photos of the 2022 FIFA World Cup countdown clock in Doha, Qatar, on Oct. 30.

World Cup Shows Need to Crack Down on Kim’s Labor Exploitation

Shipping workers abroad helps the North Korean leader evade sanctions and finance his nuclear weapons.

The emblem of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is unveiled.
The emblem of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is unveiled.

How Qatar Can Save Its World Cup Legacy

Media liberalization would allow journalists to report on the country’s labor reforms from within rather than imposing a jaded narrative from without.

U.S. Army troops from the 10th Mountain Division collect their duffels after returning from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan to Fort Drum, New York, on Dec. 8, 2020.
U.S. Army troops from the 10th Mountain Division collect their duffels after returning from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan to Fort Drum, New York, on Dec. 8, 2020.

What to Do With U.S. Forces in the Persian Gulf

As the United States leaves Afghanistan, the question of troops in the Middle East to support the Afghan mission looms large.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan and Nayef Falah al-Hajraf, the secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, on Jan. 5.
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan and Nayef Falah al-Hajraf, the secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, on Jan. 5.

The Qatar Blockade Is Over, but the Gulf Crisis Lives On

Efforts at regional reconciliation have done nothing to address the core differences that divide Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

Palestinian men line up to receive Qatari cash aid outside the post office in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, on March 31, 2020.
Palestinian men line up to receive Qatari cash aid outside the post office in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, on March 31, 2020.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on Nov. 25.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on Nov. 25.

Our Top Weekend Reads

Why Biden could lose the left, the peril of persuasion in the Big Tech age, and old rivals join forces in Kashmir.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepares to board his plane at the Old Doha International airport in the Qatari capital Doha, on Nov. 21, 2020.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepares to board his plane at the Old Doha International airport in the Qatari capital Doha, on Nov. 21, 2020.

The Pitiful Endgame of Saudi Arabia’s Qatar Blockade

As the Trump administration winds down, Riyadh is trying—and failing—to cut its losses on a failed regional policy.

Israeli and United Arab Emirates flags line a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya on Aug. 16.
Israeli and United Arab Emirates flags line a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya on Aug. 16.

How ‘Free Zones’ Became the Middle Eastern Diplomacy Tool of Choice

The special economic zones are meant to quietly bring countries together before more public realignments. But do they?

An art installation including a balloon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s image on it is seen in Habima Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Sept. 15.
An art installation including a balloon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s image on it is seen in Habima Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Sept. 15.

Netanyahu Can’t Catch a Break

The Israeli prime minister is trying to coast on his reputation as a grandmaster of national security, diplomacy, and economics—but it isn’t working.

The Qatar flag seen at the Opening Ceremony of the 15th Asian Games at the Khalifa stadium in Doha on Dec. 1, 2006.
The Qatar flag seen at the Opening Ceremony of the 15th Asian Games at the Khalifa stadium in Doha on Dec. 1, 2006.

How Israel Emerged as an Unlikely Peacemaker in the Middle East

By playing a productive role mediating between Qatar and its foes, the country has carved out a position as the one actor that could ease regional tensions.

Qatari charity workers prepare food parcels for migrant laborers
Qatari charity workers prepare food parcels for migrant laborers

Middle East Autocrats Target South Asian Workers

Hundreds of Nepalis and others have been deported under cover of the pandemic.

Foreign laborers working on a construction site for one of Qatar's 2022 World Cup stadiums
Foreign laborers working on a construction site for one of Qatar's 2022 World Cup stadiums

Migrant Workers Can’t Afford a Lockdown

As Qatar races to complete construction projects ahead of the 2022 World Cup, a small army of workers from South Asia are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

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