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Saturday, August 2, 2014

As concerns continue to build, will a Qatar World Cup really happen? (JMD quoted in Sports Illustrated)

As concerns continue to build, will a Qatar World Cup really happen?

The plot of land where Lusail Iconic Stadium outside Doha, Qatar, will stand is mounds of dirt and sand last fall, some nine years before the World Cup is slated to be played there.
Photo: Scott Nelson for Sports Illustrated

The plot of land where Lusail Iconic Stadium outside Doha, Qatar, will stand is mounds of dirt and sand last fall, some nine years before the World Cup is slated to be played there.

This story appears in the July 28, 2014, issue of Sports Illustrated. Subscribe to the magazine here.
The city that will host the 2022 World Cup final doesn’t yet exist. And so, on a relatively temperate day in Qatar—97 degrees at 3:45 p.m.—you drive a half hour north from Doha, past all the construction cranes, past the billboards heralding the future (Lusail City, Iconic City, We Will Make It Happen) to the patch of bare desert sand that, eight years hence, will stage the planet’s biggest Big Game. You step out of the car, and your sunglasses fog up instantly. In the distance you can make out a white school bus carrying migrant workers—from Nepal, perhaps, or India—to a nearby job site.
What do you see here?
Do you see progress? Qatar’s World Cup organizers view this ground as a blank canvas for a new era in the Middle East, a way to advance their society and use soft power—i.e., the world’s most popular sport—to promote the country’s foreign policy.
“The plans for 2022 are part of the DNA of the country’s overall development,” says Hassan Al Thawadi, the head of the World Cup ’22 organizing committee, who compares Qatar’s vision to Steve Jobs’s in the tech industry and to Detroit’s at the dawn of the automobile age. “We bid for this World Cup having full faith in the innovative spirit of human nature, the belief that nothing is impossible.”
Or do you see folly and outrage? Consider all the reasons critics say Qatar shouldn’t have been awarded World Cup 2022 by FIFA’s executive committee 3 1/2 years ago. There’s the heat: The average high temperature in mid-July, when the final is currently scheduled, is 106 degrees, and FIFA’s own technical report branded Qatar’s climate “a potential health risk” for players.
There are the allegations of corruption: The Sunday Times of London reported last month that a Qatari official had paid millions of dollars to FIFA voters and influencers in exchange for World Cup votes. (The Qataris deny this.) And then there are the working conditions for those constructing Qatar’s stadiums and infrastructure: An independent study by a multinational law firm cited 430 Nepalese and 567 Indian worker deaths in Qatar between January ’12 and April ’14.
Amnesty International says that Qatar, the world’s wealthiest nation per capita, located on a finger of natural-gas-rich desert in the Persian Gulf, hasn’t done nearly enough to prevent the systematic abuse of the country’s 1.4 million migrant workers. The human rights organization has called for an end to thekafala system, common in the gulf states, which requires migrants to have sponsors who control their exit visas and can thus prevent them from leaving the country.
“Qatar is a country without a conscience,” says Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, which has demanded FIFA re-vote for the 2022 Cup.
The Qataris have responses for those charges. The heat? It won’t be a problem, they say, because of innovations in open-air cooling. “The first generation of cooling technologies has been a great success and is on the ground today,” says Al Thawadi, who adds that Qatar nevertheless is open to hosting the tournament during a cooler time of year, likely November and December, if FIFA changes the schedule.
As for the corruption charges? “We won fair and square,” Al Thawadi says.
A fast-talking, British-educated lawyer who once lived in Houston, Al Thawadi, 35, speaks with a vocabulary full of Americanisms; he says fans will “have a blast” in Qatar and apologizes with a smile for his “verbal diarrhea.” When you question him about migrants’ rights, he holds that global media attention surrounding the World Cup will force Qatar to adopt a better working environment.
“There are good laws [to protect workers in Qatar], but the problem is in implementation,” he says. “The country is committed to implementing these laws and changes. The idea is that this World Cup can accelerate some of these initiatives.”
But does Al Thawadi have enough juice with the Qatari royal family (which runs and funds nearly everything in the authoritarian nation) to persuade them to enact real change? Shouldn’t mega-events such as the World Cup and the Olympics be awarded to countries after they start treating workers humanely? And with all of this controversy continuing nearly four years after the vote, what are the chances that Qatar will host the World Cup in 2022? Is a re-vote even possible?
It may look like a simple patch of sand. But that depends on what you see.
Former U.S. national team coach Bora Milutinovic is part of the sporting revolution in Qatar.
Photo: Scott Nelson for Sports Illustrated

Former U.S. national team coach Bora Milutinovic is part of the sporting revolution in Qatar.

Bedecked in blue mosaic tiles, the L’wzaar Seafood Market, hard by Doha’s Katara Beach and the opera house, is the kind of restaurant that wouldn’t be out of place in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood or in New York City’s meatpacking district. Over a lunch of salmon and sea bass, Bora Milutinovic holds court on Qatar, the country he now calls home 10 months of the year.
A peripatetic Serb whose main language is Spanish, Milutinovic has coached a record five World Cup teams: Mexico (1986), Costa Rica (’90), the U.S. (’94), Nigeria (’98) and China (2002). He has an uncanny ability to win over bosses and fans in any country, and in ’10, a few years after coaching Qatar’s top club, Al Sadd, he began serving as one of the main ambassadors for Qatar’s World Cup ’22 bid.
“I was here for the first time in 1993,” he says, his arms outstretched to describe the surroundings. “Nothing, nothing, nothing! 2002: nothing! 2005: nothing! . . . But see how everything changed? Now you can eat fish. Everything is possible.”
These days Milutinovic’s official job is as an adviser at the Aspire Academy, a sprawling state-of-the-art institute in Doha for elite young athletes. He’s too smart to take the Qatar national team coaching job—at least not until right before the team receives its automatic World Cup bid for 2022—and so he does a little bit of everything for Qatari sports.
In December ’10, he played a starring role in Qatar’s formal World Cup bid presentation in Zurich, where the country beat the U.S., 14 to 8, in the final round of voting. His old employers weren’t exactly thrilled.
“I like the people who helped me in America, but now I am with another team,” Milutinovic says with a cackle. “I am so happy my team wins! This is the key: Always be winning!”
Qatar’s idea to bid for World Cup 2022 was born in ’09, when Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmad Al Thani, the head of the country’s national soccer federation, called Al Thawadi in for a meeting. FIFA had announced in late ’08 that it would award both the ’18 and ’22 tournaments at the Zurich meeting. A winning nation would then have 12 years to prepare for the ’22 Cup. The Qataris saw that span as a chance to propose futuristic projects that they would have time to complete, including new transportation networks and new stadiums, some of which would be broken down afterward and sent to developing nations.
“Sports play a very central theme in terms of the country’s development, and hosting major events has also been part of our tradition,” says Al Thawadi, citing the 2006 Asian Games in Doha as one example. “When it came to hosting the World Cup, that satisfied our passion: We love the game. But more importantly, it also has to be part of changing a country’s developmental codes as well. We were in the process of significant infrastructure development, and it just made sense to try to host a major event such as the World Cup because you have a blank slate, so the infrastructure can be developed to satisfy the needs and requirements of the World Cup.”
FIFA’s bidding rules for the tournament are famously vague, and the Qataris spent lavishly to win over hearts and minds. They hired soccer royalty as bid ambassadors, including Zinédine Zidane, Pep Guardiola and Gabriel Batistuta. They became the sole paying sponsor of the African confederation general assembly in Angola, in 2010. They paid for the visits of international journalists and soccer administrators. (SI covered its own travel costs for this story.)
And it certainly didn’t hurt that Qatar had set up the Aspire Academy’s Football Dreams project, which developed talented youngsters in countries including Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Paraguay and Thailand—all of which had World Cup–voting members on FIFA’s then 24-member executive committee. “If I knew we could have utilized them [to influence the vote] without breaking the rules, I would have done it,” says Al Thawadi, “but the reality is we didn’t even know about it. There’s nothing that breached the rules.”
At the final bid presentation in 2010, the Qataris sold themselves as offering the first World Cup or Olympics in the Middle East. And they brought out their trump card, Sheikha Mozah, wife of the then Emir and the Jacqueline Kennedy of the Arab world, who spoke eloquently. The U.S. had its own cleanup hitter, Bill Clinton, but he wasn’t enough. Qatar stunned the sports community with its victory and energized an entire region.
“Everybody was happy and cheering for Qatar when they won,” says Najib el-Haiby, a popular Lebanese sports radio host. “It’s the first time an Arab country has this kind of honor, and it’s a unique occasion for all Arabs to watch this big festival of football in the Middle East.”
Yet the questions about Qatar and its World Cup bid were just beginning. Two of the 24 members on FIFA’s executive committee were suspended in 2010 after undercover reporters for The Sunday Times caught them trying to sell their votes and breaching rules. And in the last four years, five more FIFA voters (including Chuck Blazer of the U.S.) have either been banned from the organization or forced off the executive committee amid charges of misappropriating money or giving/taking bribes.
One of those banned was Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam, for improper conduct during his tenure as the head of the Asian Football Confederation. Bin Hammam was cited in a Sunday Times report last month for allegedly bribing World Cup voters to choose Qatar.
In 1999, after it was revealed that International Olympic Committee officials had been bribed by Salt Lake City organizers, the IOC changed its bid process. FIFA now claims to be undergoing similar reform and has changed the rules about how World Cup hosts will be chosen. The entire 209-nation body will now vote, not just the executive committee. FIFA has also established an ethics committee with what it calls independent investigatory and adjudicatory branches.
In July 2012, FIFA appointed as its lead investigator Michael Garcia, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who was in charge of the federal probe that helped to bring down New York governor Eliot Spitzer. Charged with investigating the World Cup bids for ’18 (which was won by Russia) and ’22, Garcia is expected to release his findings to FIFA in September.
Meanwhile, publications including France Football and The Sunday Times have published a steady stream of investigative reports raising questions about the Qatari bid, and The Guardian dropped a bombshell exposé last September detailing the personal stories of Nepalese migrant workers who have died by the hundreds in Qatar. In response Qatari media have alleged that the most recent reports are driven by racism and anti-Islamic bias.
“The Qataris believe that this is a conspiracy against them, but they need to come out and provide solid evidence that there was no corruption,” says Michael Stephens, the Qatar-based deputy director of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, a British think tank. “It’s looking increasingly likely that Qatar didengage in practices that were questionable. They are still in a situation where they could lose [the World Cup], and their response of calling racism—well, this is not how they are going to win the debate.”
Hassan Al Thawadi, head of Qatar's 2022 World Cup organizing committee, has grand visions despite loud criticisms.
Photo: Scott Nelson for Sports Illustrated

Hassan Al Thawadi, head of Qatar's 2022 World Cup organizing committee, has grand visions despite loud criticisms.

What would happen if Qatar lost the World Cup? The country would save upward of $30 billion on stadiums and infrastructure, for starters. But that would pale in comparison to the loss of prestige, says James M. Dorsey, author of the respected blog The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. After spending years and billions of dollars building influence in the region—not least through Al Jazeera television, which is funded by the Qatari royal family—-Qatar’s status in the Middle East took a hit when the government backed the failed Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. Losing the World Cup would hurt Qatar’s standing even further.
“I think the damage is much more in terms of how it would fundamentally undermine Qatar’s soft-power strategy,” says Dorsey. “The World Cup, like their art museums, Al Jazeera and high-powered foreign policy, is designed to embed Qatar at multiple levels in the international community. Losing the World Cup would be a tremendous setback in its relations with the world and a loss of international prestige. That is costly, but it’s not about dollars and cents, it’s something more fundamental.”
Nobody is sure what a re-vote would look like, in part because nothing like it has ever happened before. But, barring any surprises, it still appears unlikely that Qatar will lose World Cup 2022, despite the surge of international criticism. FIFA insiders say that Garcia has yet to find any smoking guns that would provide enough evidence of corruption in Qatar’s bid to strip the nation of the tournament. (His report is expected to focus more on suggestions for reforming FIFA’s bidding rules.)
As for Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers, FIFA has expressed concern, but nobody in the organization has threatened to move the tournament for that reason. The most likely scenario for dealing with the June-July heat—and one favored by FIFA president Sepp Blatter—involves moving the Qatar World Cup to November-December 2022, with the final taking place just before Christmas. 
Such a plan would certainly be met with resistance by the tournament’s various stakeholders. Fox, for example, paid $425 million for the U.S. English-language TV rights to World Cups 2018 and ’22 in June-July, and it would want compensation for a tournament taking place during the pro and college football seasons. Likewise, the powerful European domestic leagues would expect some sort of payback for having their calendars disrupted. But the prevailing sense inside FIFA is that the organization will reach a solution that allows for a November-December tournament in Qatar.
“Qatar still has a chance to make it a great World Cup,” says Danyel Reiche, an assistant professor at the American University of Beirut who focuses on the intersection of sports and politics. “Fans will be excited because Qatar is so small and the stadiums are all a short distance from each other.”
But Reiche cautions that World Cup 2022 will only be a success if Qatar is responsive to legitimate concerns.
“The migrant labor issue is significant and will need to be addressed,” he says. “Technology alone will not solve the heat issue, so it’s likely that the dates will have to change to the cooler months. And they can’t address the corruption allegations by burying their head in the sand. They have to deal with it.”
Back in Doha, in his aerie above the space-age downtown skyline, Al Thawadi projects openness toward skepticism and criticism. Will migrant workers die by the thousands in constructing World Cup venues and infrastructure?
“The safety, security and dignity of every migrant worker—of every person that delivers this World Cup—are put at the forefront,” he promises.
And given Qatar’s laws against homosexuality, will gay fans be welcome at the World Cup?
“Everybody is welcome,” he says. “Our laws are actually ones that look at public displays of affection more than being discriminatory. We are a conservative society—a developing and forward-thinking conservative society.”
Do you believe Al Thawadi? Do you think Qatar can use the World Cup to modernize its treatment of migrant workers? Or do you believe Amnesty International and the International Trade Union Confederation, who don’t buy what he’s selling? All signs say that we’re going to Qatar in 2022, but at what cost?
“Ask whatever you want,” Al Thawadi says. “Yes, my answers may not be satisfactory to you 100 percent. You might not walk out convinced. I understand that, and I respect that. But that is the whole point of this. We’re coming with something which you might accept. If you might not accept, you tell me why not. And I will try to tinker with that as well and try to get to a stage where we all kind of walk out of here thinking, Yes, we made a difference. Our goal is by 2022 the world turns around and says the Middle East is not only part of the past—because it has always been part of the past—but it is very clearly part of the future.”
A couple of weeks ago the IOC heard recommendations about how future Games will be awarded and conducted. After a Winter Olympics in Sochi that cost $51 billion, and a World Cup in Brazil that drew mass protests over public spending, fewer cities than ever are showing interest in bidding for sports’ mega-events. Two weeks ago the IOC narrowed the list of bidders for the 2022 Winter Games from three to . . . three—Beijing, Oslo and Almaty, Kazakhstan. All other potential bidders had dropped out. Who will host the Olympics and World Cups of the future? How can the IOC and FIFA spread their events around the globe if only petrochemical giants, select oligarchies and a few infrastructure-rich nations like the U.S., Great Britain and Germany can afford to stage them?
What do you see here? Progress or folly?
TIME's Aryn Baker contributed special reporting to this story.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Netanyahu’s Dilemma: From the War in Gaza to the War at Home



RSIS Commentary is a platform to provide timely and, where appropriate, policy-relevant commentary and analysis of topical issues and contemporary developments. The views of the authors are their own and do not represent the official position of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU. These commentaries may be reproduced electronically or in print with prior permission from RSIS and due recognition to the author(s) and RSIS. Please email: RSISPublications@ntu.edu.sg for feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentaries, Mr Yang Razali Kassim. 


No. 153/2014 dated 31 July 2014

Netanyahu’s Dilemma:
From the War in Gaza to the War at Home

By James M. Dorsey

Synopsis

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is likely to face significant political problems at home and a far less empathetic diplomatic environment abroad once the guns fall silent in Gaza. Calls in Israel for an inquiry into the government’s handling of the Gaza crisis and what is being described as an intelligence failure regarding tunnels built by Hamas are mounting. In addition, Israel’s relations with its closest allies, the United States and the European Union, have been bruised even if they continue to uphold the Jewish state’s right to defend itself.
Commentary

ISRAEL’S RATIONALE for its assault on Gaza has shifted during the last three weeks of almost uninterrupted hammering of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, one of the world’s most densely populated territories. The war launched first to counter Palestinian rockets fired in response to an Israeli crackdown on Hamas operatives on the West Bank following the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers has since focused on underground tunnels that potentially allow Islamist militia fighters to penetrate Israel, and in recent days on critical infrastructure such as Gaza’s power supply.

While Israel may be succeeding in severely damaging the military infrastructure of Hamas and other Islamist groups in Gaza, it realizes that international discomfort with its heavy-handed approach that has cost the lives of some 1,300 mostly Palestinian civilians and wreacked devastating material damage that will cost billions to rebuild, means that it does not have a lot of time to militarily achieve its objectives. It also is dawning on Israel that the diplomatic and political price it may have to pay is rising by the day. The war in Gaza will no doubt strengthen calls for a boycott of and sanctions against Israel and could accelerate EU moves to ban dealings with Israeli entities based in occupied territory.
Intelligence Failure

Increasingly, proponents of Israel’s assault on Gaza, who constitute a majority of the Israeli population, question whether Israel could have countered Hamas’ increasing military prowess in ways that would have been less costly. Military analysts, after four wars in the last eight years against non-state actors, the Shiite Islamist militia Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas, are calling for a review of Israeli military strategy and reorganization of the armed forces.

Revelations that the government long knew about Hamas’ tunnelling operation but did not consider it a serious enough threat to counter, have sparked demands for an investigation of what the Israeli media and some analysts are describing as an intelligence failure. At the core of the alleged failure is whether the government and the military ignored Hamas’ tunnelling because it had in recent years downgraded the security threat posed by Palestinians and elevated Iran’s nuclear program to the most existential threat the Jewish state was facing. As a result, Israel focused its political, diplomatic, intelligence and military energies on Iran rather than Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups.

The revelations also raise questions on the government’s real motive in first cracking down on Hamas on the West Bank and then launching its attack on Gaza. Critics of Israel charge that the government’s real goal was to prevent the emergence of an effective Palestinian national unity government that would group all factions, and that had tacit support from Israel’s allies, because that would have made it more difficult for Israel to sabotage peace negotiations while maintaining a façade of seeking to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hamas strengthened

An indication of the political fallout that Netanyahu can expect once the fighting in Gaza is brought to a halt, is evident in Hamas’ ability to reject ceasefires despite the punishing Israeli assaults that do not involve a lifting of the seven-year old Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Rather than weakening Hamas, Israel’s attacks appear to have strengthened it politically to the degree that it feels it can impose conditions of its own in dealings with Israel rather than simply respond to Israel’s requirements.

Israeli defence and intelligence sources say the threat posed by the tunnels only became evident when Palestinians taken prisoner in the early stages of the Gaza operation disclosed plans for Hamas fighters to infiltrate Israel in a bid to carry out a massive attack during this coming fall’s season of Jewish high holidays. Until then Israel had paid limited attention to the tunnels and discarded various plans involving water ditches, drones, sensors and radars that could have either neutralized the threat or alerted Israel to them in a timely fashion.

The damage to Israel’s reputation and relations with its allies is prompting Israeli leaders to consider whether it should quickly end the fighting in Gaza despite Netanyahu’s warning that Israelis should brace themselves for a long campaign. Those considerations are being complicated by Hamas, which is unwilling to let Israel that easily off the hook and needs to show more than resilience to Palestinians who have paid dearly in the group’s confrontation with Israel. A lifting of the Gaza blockade would fit the bill.
Political accounting and military review

Hamas’ demand also makes it more difficult for Israel to claim that it has inflicted debilitating damage on the group and that it may not survive politically because Gazans will hold it to account. It also puts to rest Israeli claims that Hamas is desperate for a ceasefire. Hamas has moreover demonstrated that its command and control remains intact.

The Israeli drive to continue the assault on Gaza is fuelled by the fact that the resolution of its two earlier conflagrations with the group ultimately failed to produce results. Israel agreed in 2009 to an unconditional ceasefire in the hope that it had sufficiently weakened the group and created enough of a deterrence. Three years later it hoped that a vague, unsigned agreement mediated by Egypt would do the job. Israel’s problem is that continuing the assault would likely force it to expand its ground operations at considerable military, political and diplomatic risk.

With military analysts noting that various incidents in which rockets and mortars have killed Israeli soldiers, questions are being raised about the military’s ability to protect Israeli civilians despite the effectiveness of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defence shield. The questions fuel demands for a post-war political accounting and a military review.

“Despite many achievements that the army brass can point to, the current war in Gaza reveals once again the necessity of a comprehensive reorganization of the military. The training of forces, the equipment in use, combat doctrine, and operational plans — all will need to be thoroughly investigated when the hostilities are over,” said Amos Harel, the military correspondent of Ha’aretz newspaper.

James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as 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.  

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Qatar invests in Israeli soccer despite Gaza and war of words with Jerusalem


By James M. Dorsey

Qatar is emerging for the second time in a decade as the only Arab state without a peace treaty and diplomatic relations to have invested in Israel. Qatar’s latest investment in Israeli Palestinian soccer comes against a backdrop of a war of words between the two countries over the Gulf state’s support for Hamas, the Islamist militia that controls the war-wracked Gaza Strip. Yet, Qatar’s relationship with Hamas makes it alongside Turkey the only country that can talk directly to the group as part of international efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.

A Qatari agreement to donate $4.6 million to two Israeli Palestinian soccer clubs, Bnei Sakhnin, a team based in Galilee that historically stands for Israeli-Palestinian co-existence, and Maccabi Ahi Nazareth FC, a squad that historically was part of the centrist wing of the Zionist movement, was negotiated prior to the eruption three weeks ago of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

In a move that is likely to provoke Israeli right-wing and nationalist ire, Qatar this week paid Bnei Sakhnin, which was the foremost Palestinian team to include Jewish players in its squad, its first instalment of the donation. Mazen Gnayem, the mayor of Sakhnin, a Palestinian town in the Lower Galilee, and former Bnei Sakhnin chairman, told Israeli business newspaper Globes that Qatar had transferred $500,000. Right wing and nationalist ire is likely to feed on the fact that Bnei Sakhnin recently lost Eliran Danin, its last Jewish player. Maccabi Nazareth however continues to have both Palestinian and Jewish players.

Shimon Peres, who last week stepped down as Israel’s president and is widely seen as a dove when it comes to Israeli-Palestinian peace, accused Qatar this week of being “the world’s largest funder of terror.” Mr. Peres charged that “Qatar does not have the right to send money for rockets and tunnels which are fired at innocent civilians. Their funding of terror must stop. If they want to build then they should, but they must not be allowed to destroy,” he told Ban-Ki Moon during the United Nations Secretary General’s visit to Jerusalem in a failed bid to achieve a Gaza ceasefire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s former security advisor Major General (res) Yaakov Amidror said the United States had earlier stopped the Amman-based, Palestinian-owned Arab Bank from transferring Qatari funds for the payment of 43,000 public sector workers in Gaza who haven’t received salaries for month. Gen Amidror told The Times of Israel that Qatari funding of Hamas’ military operations continued nevertheless unabated.

Israeli economy minister Naftaniel Bennett meanwhile called on world soccer body FIFA to deprive Qatar, which is home to Hamas leader Khaled Mishal, of its right to host the 2022 World Cup because of its funding of what he described as radical Islamic terror. Communications Minister Gilad Erdan demanded that the Qatar’s state-owned Al Jazeera network be taken off the air due to its “extremely severe incitement against the State of Israel as well as enthusiastic support for Hamas and its terrorist actions.” Earlier, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced the network despite the fact that Israeli spokesman, including his ministry’s spokesman, Yigal Palmor, appear regularly on Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera was this week forced to evacuate its Gaza office after it came under fire. The network’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Walid Al-Omari, accused members of the Israeli Cabinet in an interview on Israel’s Army Radio of incitement and putting its crews at risk.

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid Al Attiyah, who has played a key role in the ceasefire negotiations, hit back at Israel, saying that  ”Qatar does not support Hamas, Qatar supports the Palestinians.” In an interview with CNN, Mr. Al Attiyah accused Israel of systematically sabotaging peace efforts over the past year. He lashed out at Messrs Lieberman and Bennett, saying they “practice terrorism… Israel never leveraged on the pragmatic approach of Hamas. Mr. Al Attiyah noted that Hamas had agreed to participate in Palestinian elections in 2006 encouraged by the fact that then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had asked Qatar to support the group’s move. “They decided to practice democracy,” the minister said.

The Israeli war of words on Qatar is designed to further isolate Hamas, which has found little sympathy among Arab government in its latest round of fighting with Israel, leaving the Gulf state as its main Arab backer. By discrediting Qatar hopes to support Egyptian mediation efforts in the knowledge that Cairo’s relations with Hamas are troubled because it views the group as an extension of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Former Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became in 2012 the first Arab head of state to visit Hamas-controlled Gaza. Mr. Al Attiyah said residential housing and hospitals that were being built in Gaza prior to the Israeli assault with $500 million pledged by Sheikh Hamad had been constructed by contractors associated with Hamas’ rival, Al Fatah, the group that forms the backbone of the West Bank’s Palestine Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas. He said the funds for Gaza were being channelled through Arab Bank and the Palestine Authority rather than Hamas.

Qatar played an important role earlier this year in bridging the seven-year old rift between Fatah and Hamas which led to an agreement to form a national unity government that would be backed by both groups but would not include Hamas representatives. The formation of that government prompted Mr. Netanyahu to break off US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Israel’s assault on Gaza is believed to be in part intended to undermine the government and put Mr. Abbas back in the driver’s seat, an effort that has so far backfired.

Qatar first invested in Israeli soccer when it funded in 2006 the construction of the Doha Stadium in Sakhnin to the tune of $6 million, the first ever official investment in Israel itself by an Arab state that has yet to recognize Israel. The funding came after Bnei Sakhnin, Israel’s most successful Israeli Palestinian club, won the 2004 State Cup. The team’s captain, Abbas Suan, became a national hero in 2006 when he scored a key goal in Israel’s World Cup qualifier against Ireland.

A week later Mr. Abbas was greeted in the stadium of Jerusalem by supporters of Beitar Jerusalem, Israel’s most anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim club, with chants of “Suan, You Don’t Represent Us” and “We hate all Arabs.”


James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as 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.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Battle of the Ceasefires: Israel, Hamas Struggle for Moral High Ground



RSIS Commentary is a platform to provide timely and, where appropriate, policy-relevant commentary and analysis of topical issues and contemporary developments. The views of the authors are their own and do not represent the official position of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU. These commentaries may be reproduced electronically or in print with prior permission from RSIS and due recognition to the author(s) and RSIS. Please email: RSISPublications@ntu.edu.sg for feedback to the Editor RSIS Commentaries, Mr Yang Razali Kassim. 


No. 151/2014 dated 29 July 2014
Battle of the Ceasefires:
Israel, Hamas Struggle for Moral High Ground

By James M. Dorsey
Synopsis

If Israel came close to destroying Hamas in two earlier confrontations in 2008/9 and 2012, it has succeeded in the latest round of fighting to rescue the group from potential demise. Hamas is emerging as the key player capable of cornering Israel politically and diplomatically despite its military superiority.

Commentary

THE EFFORT to achieve a ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip resembles a see-saw with at times Israel and at other times Hamas rejecting a halt to hostilities or violating a brief silencing of the guns in a bid to ensure its collapse. The back and forth reflects in the first instance a battle between Israel and Hamas to occupy the moral high ground.

But more importantly it highlights a growing realisation that Hamas is emerging politically strengthened from the death and destruction in Gaza while Israel is fighting a rear guard battle to turn military success into political victory.

Hamas forcing Israel into a corner

Israeli spokesmen have projected the acceptance by Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups of a United Nations call for another 24-hour ceasefire as an indication that Hamas had been seriously damaged by the three-week old Israeli assault. More likely is that Hamas hoped to force Israel into a corner after Israel had rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposal for a seven-day halt to hostilities because it would have legitimised Hamas’ demands for a lifting of the seven-year-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, the opening of all the territories border crossings, the free flow of goods and services into the strip and the release of funds for payment of Gazan public sector salaries.

A Hamas spokesman, hours before the group’s acceptance of the UN ceasefire proposal, left little doubt that the Islamist militia had ensured the collapse of an earlier 12-hour ceasefire negotiated by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Qatar, Turkey and Egypt. The spokesman charged that the ceasefire would only allow Israel to prepare its military and intelligence resources for a second round in Gaza.

High stakes

The stakes for both Israel and Hamas are high: Israel cannot afford a halt to hostilities that opens the door to acceptance of Hamas’ demands. Otherwise this would invite questioning of its refusal to deal with Hamas, undercut its effort to undermine the recently agreed Palestinian national unity government supported by Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as well as Hamas, and derail its determination to choke Hamas by blockading Gaza. Hamas for its part needs to demonstrate even if the current conflagration was engineered by Israel that the terrible toll in terms of human life and physical destruction ultimately produced a significant improvement in the lives of the 1.8 million inhabitants of Gaza.

With pictures of utter destruction and bodies being pulled out of rubble where once home stood dominating television news, Hamas is gaining the upper hand. Mr. Kerry’s emphasis on Hamas’ demands while referring in his ceasefire plan to Israeli security concerns in only the most general of terms reflects the swing of public empathy towards the Palestinians even if the Obama administration continues to officially uphold Israel’s right to defend itself.

Nonetheless, the realisation that Israel could emerge the real loser from the latest fighting is beginning to take root in Israeli government circles as well as the country’s political and security establishment. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon has effectively called for an end to Israeli attempts to undermine the Palestinian national unity government by suggesting that Abbas, who until now controls only the West Bank, extend his writ to Gaza as part of what he termed a reconciliation government.

Senior Israeli officials have suggested in recent days that they were never opposed to a Hamas-backed unity government even though Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu broke off US-sponsored peace talks after Abbas reached agreement with Hamas. Ayalon was echoing a plan drafted by the Economic Co-operation Foundation, an Israeli think tank.

Hamas’ instrument

Hamas’ demand for a lifting of the blockade of Gaza is also garnering support from senior Israeli figures such as Yuval Diskin, the former head of Shabak, the internal security service, who has become a dove since retiring.

“Israel is now an instrument in the hands of Hamas, not the opposite. Hamas doesn't care if its population suffers under the attacks or not, because the population is suffering anyway. Hamas doesn't really care about their own casualties either. They want to achieve something that will change the situation in Gaza. This is a really complicated situation for Israel.

“It would take one to two years to take over the Gaza Strip and get rid of the tunnels, the weapons depots and the ammunition stashes step-by-step. It would take time, but from the military point of view, it is possible. But then we would have 2 million people, most of them refugees, under our control and would be faced with criticism from the international community,” Diskin told German magazine Der Spiegel.

Israel’s dilemma is evident. Its definition of ensuring security exclusively through military superiority and heavy-handed repression rather than political compromise is increasingly costing it international support, particularly in the United States, its major ally, and strengthening calls for boycotts and sanctions.

“I think the government may bring this problem onto the country. We are losing legitimacy and the room to operate is no longer great, not even when danger looms… There are plenty of people within Shin Bet (another name for Shabak, the Israeli internal security service), Mossad (Israel external security service), and the army who think like I do.    

“But in another five years, we will be very lonely people. Because the number of religious Zionists in positions of political power and in the military is continually growing,” Diskin said referring to the growing influence in the military of more religious segments of Israeli society as well as the right-wing drift among Israelis.


James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as 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.

Nanyang Technological University
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Monday, July 28, 2014

The 2022 World Cup: A potential Monkey Wrench for Change (JMD in The International Journal of the History of Sport)


By James M. Dorsey




Senior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Co-director, Institute of Fan Culture, University of Wuerzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany

This is the Accepted Manuscript of this article that was published by Taylor Francis Group in The International Journal of the History of Sport, DOI: 10.1080/09523367.2014.929115

James M. Dorsey is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He is also 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 and two forthcoming books on the Middle East and North Africa.


Key words: sports; labour rights; Qatar; Gulf; trade unions; security; defence;

Abstract

The controversial awarding to Qatar of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the world’s most important sporting event alongside the Olympic Games, has emerged as a potential monkey wrench for social and political change. The tournament has to the Qataris’ surprise given international trade unions, human rights groups and a reluctant governing world soccer body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), leverage they lacked prior to the awarding of the event to pressure Qatar to radically reform the Gulf state’s  long-criticized labour system. It has also offered critics of the awarding a stick with which to beat Qatar. In response, Qatar has pledged significant reform in a bid to secure achievement of its soft and subtle power goals and fend off demands that would fundamentally alter its political and social structures. In doing so, it is walking a tightrope, balancing the soft power-dictated need to embed itself favourably at multiple levels in the international community and defeat the mounting threat of losing the right to host the World Cup with maintaining a socially and politically restrictive system whose long-term viability is being called into question.

Demographics, demographics, demographics

Demographics is what distinguishes problems of labour migration to the Gulf, and particularly Qatar, from work-related migratory movements elsewhere in the world. Long-standing concern about the working and living conditions of foreign labour in the region alongside allegations of Qatari vote buying in its successful to host the 2022 World Cup have shot to the top of the agenda of world soccer body FIFA.

Foreigners constitute a majority in several Gulf states; others barely have a majority of local nationals. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals account for less than half of the population in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Nowhere are the demographics starker than in Qatar where the citizenry constitutes at best 12 percent of the population.[1] Qatar’s’ demographic deficit is likely to become even more pronounced in coming years with an expected influx of an additional one million migrant workers needed for the construction of vast infrastructure projects, some of which are directly related to the hosting of the World Cup.[2] These include the construction of at least eight stadia, 70,000 hotel rooms, a city to provide for 200,000 residents, and a road network at an estimated cost of US$97 billion.

Labour migration in this demographic environment takes on a different meaning from anywhere else in the world where local nationals constitute a majority of the population. Labour migrants are always contract workers, never immigrants. No Gulf state with the exception of Saudia Arabia has included a naturalization process in its legislation albeit with a high threshold.[3] The relatively few citizenships that have been granted in the decades since independence were issued by Cabinet decree and almost exclusively to Arabs rather than non-Arabs. Workers and expatriates have no expectation of being able to stay in their host country beyond the term of their contract.

For much of their existence as independent states, Qatar and other Gulf states could pretty much treat foreign workers as they pleased. Supplying countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were happy to reduce unemployment by exporting labour and build foreign currency reserves with workers’ remittances. Reports in the media and by human rights groups regularly highlighted the plight of foreign workers in the Gulf but failed to mobilize sustained and effective calls for change. Lack of interest in the international community allowed Qatar and other Gulf states moreover to replace over time politically risky Arabs, including Egyptians, Yemenis and Palestinians, who initially were more likely to hold anti-monarchical and revolutionary and in more recent times Islamist views with more manageable South Asians who had less of a stake in the region with no enforcement of international labour standards. Asians who by and large do not speak Arabic were furthermore easier than Arabs to segregate from the Qatari population.

Source: The Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011, World Bank

In a break with its segregation policy, Qatar in 2013 organized a cup for foreign workers’ soccer teams organized by their employers. The cup served to shatter the notion that encouraging soccer would give workers something that would lead them to sprouting roots in their host country. A year later, Qatar Star League (QSL), the country’s top league was debating organizing a Super Cup, in which among others the national champion as well as the winner of the Workers’ Cup would compete, a first step in bring the Qatari and foreign community together as part of a policy that aimed to encourage some degree of interaction between the country’s Qatari and non-Qatari population. Qatari sociologist Kaltham Al-Ghanim moreover called on the country’s sports clubs to set up branches in the Industrial Zone “to channel their energy to productive avenues and hunt for sporting talent.” [4]

The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar followed three years later by Dubai’s winning of the right to host the 2020 World Expo for the first time generated pressure on Qatar and the Gulf states and put their labour conditions under a sustained spotlight that they no longer could ignore with impunity. It also gave activists for the first time the leverage they had hitherto lacked to effectively pressure governments as well as major corporations. This was particularly true for trade unions led by the Brussels-based International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC), which unlike human rights groups who wield primarily moral authority claims to have 175 million members, many of whom are soccer fans, in 161 countries.[5] The activists benefitted from the fact that public opinion in many parts of the world doubted the integrity of the Qatari bid because of a massive corruption scandal in world soccer that implicated some of its most senior officials, including FIFA vice president and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed Bin Hammam. A Qatari national, Bin Hammam was banned for life from involvement in professional soccer by FIFA in 2013 after a long and bitter legal battle.

Caught off guard

The corruption scandal coupled with concern about the viability of holding the Cup in Qatar’s extreme summer temperatures and at times biased assertions that the Gulf state lacked the size, soccer history and demography to host the tournament sparked a sea change in attitudes towards the plight of foreign workers of governments in many parts of the world that prior to the awarding of the Cup did not care but that could not no longer claim that they did not know about the conditions under which their nationals were working. That potentially explains why the sudden concern about the plight of foreign workers caught Qatar as well as FIFA off guard. Instead of being feted as the first Arab state to host one of the world’s most significant sporting events Qatar confronted an avalanche of criticism, much of it justified but much of it also reflective of envy of its financial muscle and derogatory about its young history as an independent, small desert state with little soccer history.
“When Qatar was pulled from the envelope in Zurich on December 2nd (2010), amid all the celebrations and joy, we knew that the work was only just beginning. What we did not know or expect was the avalanche of accusations and allegations that we would face in the immediate aftermath of what was a historic day for sport in our country and for the wider region. I’m sure all of you in this audience are well aware of the very tough challenges we have faced since our success last December. Baseless accusations were made against our bid. We were presumed guilty before innocent without a shred of evidence being provided. I want to reiterate to all of you that we conducted our bid to the highest ethical and moral standards. We are immensely proud of the bid that we submitted to FIFA. One that outlined a bold legacy for football development not just in Qatar, but across the Middle East,” Hassan al Thawadi, secretary of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee that was later restyled as the Qatar Supreme Committee for Legacy and Delivery told a Leaders in Football conference in 2011.[6]

Qatari and for that matter FIFA surprise at the intensity of the criticism of Qatar’s successful bid and its labour system nonetheless highlighted fundamental problems in the criteria for the awarding of mega events by international sport associations as well as with the environment in which event hosts operate: the absence of human rights in the awarding criteria in line with the associations’ professed values and of fans’ lack of concern before the uproar over the integrity of the Qatari bid and the conditions under which workers would be building World Cup infrastructure in the Gulf state. Mass anti-government protests in 2013 in Brazil that targeted FIFA’s heavy handed imposition of its own terms on host countries and questioned the government’s expenditure on World Cup infrastructure as well as the key role of soccer fans in popular revolts in North Africa and Turkey, although unrelated to the foreign workers’ issue in Qatar, served as a warning that FIFA and other sport associations no longer could remain oblivious to public opinion.

“FIFA and the IOC will never be properly managed, because fans don't really care. If England wins the Qatar World Cup, nobody will give two hoots whether the tournament was built on slave labour and bungs. Even the possibility of winning will be enough to sweep ethical concerns aside as the tournament draws near, while anything short will be treated, as usual, as a national catastrophe,” wrote The Daily Telegraph journalist Ed Cumming days after his newspaper disclosed another series of eyebrow-raising payments between senior FIFA officials who have since effectively been banned from involvement in soccer.[7] It was not immediately evident that those payments were related to the Qatari bid, but they fuelled renewed public questioning of Qatar. That was equally true for more damaging allegations of bribery in the Qatari bid published three months later by British newspaper The Sunday Times, which said it had millions of documents to back up its assertions.[8] 

Theo Zwanziger, the senior FIFA official dealing with the Qatar labour issue, nonetheless conceded in testimony to the European parliament that “we need to rethink this and give human rights a much higher status.”[9]

Pressure meanwhile mounted on Qatar with an increasing number of media reports led by coverage in Britain’s The Guardian of an increasing number of deaths of primarily Nepalese and Indian workers.[10] The ITUC, Qatar’s harshest critic, predicted that up to 4,000 workers would lose their lives in constructing World Cup-related infrastructure.[11] Some 400 Nepalese reportedly died between. 2012 and 2014.[12] The Indian embassy in Doha reported that more than 500 Indian workers had died in Qatar in the last two years. Indians account for 22% of the estimated 1.2 million workers in Qatar.[13]

The reports left multiple questions unanswered, including lack of clarity on how many of the deaths were work-related although that was likely to be a majority. Workers often do not have a precise understanding of the conditions they will be working under nor do they undergo a proper health check before their departure for Qatar. Deaths are frequently certified as resulting from a heart condition even if it involved a work-related incident because that entails less bureaucracy and allows companies and authorities to fend off investigations and post-mortems.[14]

That state of affairs was implicitly reflected in a study in the Journal of Arabian Studies that listed late wages, significant debts accrued to pay labour brokers, and inconsistent access to healthcare as common problems encountered by foreign workers in Qatar. Funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, the study, entitled ‘A Portrait of Low-Income Migrants in Contemporary Qatar’, said that 56 percent of the workers interviewed reported not having received a government-mandated Hamad health card, needed to access free healthcare.[15] Qatar University meanwhile reported that the vast majority of employers in Qatar illegally confiscated workers’ passport at the outset of their employment even though it violates the provisions of the kafala or sponsorship system that puts workers at the mercy of their employers will little opportunity for redress.

Source: Arab Studies Journal

Against this backdrop, ITUC’s Secretary General Sharan Burrow warned in 2013 that “in the next few months the contracts for the new World Cup stadia and infrastructure will be announced. Millions more workers will be hired from overseas for the road, rail and building infrastructure for the World Cup. We are putting multi-national companies tendering for these contracts on notice to abide by international law and respect workers’ rights.”[16]

Britain’s powerful GMB trade union called in October 2013 on British construction companies active in Qatar and particularly those bidding for 2022 World Cup-related projects not to exploit cheap migrant labour. In a letter to the chief executive officers of 13 British companies, GMB international officer Bert Schouwenberg said: “We believe that UK companies have a particular responsibility to ensure that their Qatar-based employees, regardless of their nationality, and their sub-contractors' employees enjoy terms and conditions within globally accepted standards of 'decent work' as laid down by organizations such as the International Labour Organization." He charged that workers in Qatar "face quite appalling conditions, are treated little better than slaves and live in unacceptable squalid accommodation". The letter was addressed among others to the construction manager of London's Shard skyscraper, Mace, Heathrow Terminal Five builder Laing O' Rourke, FTSE 250 group Kier, Balfour Beatty which is advising Qatar on a $1 billion highways project and Interserve that was awarded $100 million worth of contracts to help the Gulf state exploit its vast natural gas reserves.[17]

Beyond the reputational damage suffered by Qatar as a result of the trade union and human rights campaign, Qatar also is also hurt economically by its labour system despite the obvious advantages of cheap labour and a politically malleable work force. A study by researchers of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar concluded that the cost of maintaining the labour system went beyond reputational damage. The researchers concluded that Qatar would be near the top of the United Nation’s Human Development Index (HDI) if adjustments were made for the country’s large population of migrant workers. With other words, the system undercuts Qatar’s effort to project the Gulf state as a cutting edge, 21st century knowledge-based society.[18]

Running the gamut

Union and NGO demands for reform of Qatar’s labour system ran the social and political gamut from housing and working conditions to restricted legal rights under the kafala or sponsorship system prevalent throughout the Gulf that puts workers at the mercy of their sponsors to the right to form independent trade unions and bargain collectively. The demands positioned the World Cup as a potential agent of social and political change. Unlike in the past when Qatar and other Gulf states could effectively ignore criticism, the Gulf state realized that engagement was the only way of achieving its goal of using the World Cup to build the soft power it needed to compensate for its lack of military hard power.

The tournament embedded in an effort to build a sports sector from A to Z was designed to project Qatar as a forward-looking, cutting edge 21st century society that commands the soft power that goes with it. Qataris realized the value of soft power after Kuwait in 1990 rallied the international community to come to its aid to reverse Iraq’s wholesale occupation of the country. 
They also realized that the then existing Saudi defence umbrella would be unable to protect them. They further understood that they would be unable to defend their small, population-starved state that was virtually sandwiched between conservative Saudi Arabia with whom they share their only land border and revolutionary Iran across the Gulf with whom they share the world’s largest gas field no matter how many sophisticated weapon systems they acquired and how many foreigners they drafted into their armed and security forces. The sports effort was part of a larger policy to project Qatar that includes the creation in the 1990s of the state-owned Al Jazeera network that put Qatar on the map and transformed the region‘s media landscape. The development of Qatar Airways as a world-class airline helped establish Qatar as a hub linking continents. The luring of some of the world‘s foremost universities to establish campuses in the Gulf state and the building of cutting edge museums and massive art purchases were all part of Qatar’s projection. All of this allowed Qatar to project itself as an island of stability, modernity and progress in a sea of volatility and conservatism.

The emergence of the World Cup as a potential agent of change served the purpose of young progressive Qataris who saw it as the vehicle they needed much like Turkey long viewed European Union membership as the straightjacket that would enable it to enact reforms. They saw the labour in terms expressed by a US inter-agency assessment of Qatar that preceded its winning of the World Cup. The assessment concluded that “the pace of reform will depend on how Qatar deals with the influx of foreign workers and the societal changes caused by rapid progress.”[19] Engagement with trade unions, human rights groups and the International Labour Organization (ILO) was intended to fend off demands that would radically alter the country‘s social and political system however as much as it was to control change and achieve soft power.

As a result, Qataris focused on the material living and working conditions of foreign labour while evading discussion of the kafala system and proposing government-controlled workers’ councils as an alternative to free trade unions and collective bargaining.[20] The US assessment of Qatar appeared to predict that approach, arguing that “there are powerful economic incentives to paying expatriate workers low wages and providing them with few services. Influential Qataris have an economic interest in the existing system, and this will be difficult to reverse.”[21] A separate embassy cable notes that “threats of increased criminal and/or collective labour activity by third-country workers” are among the top four priorities of Qatar’s intelligence services.[22]

Ray Jureidini, a sociologist and migration expert at Beirut’s Lebanese American University, who advised the Qatar Foundation on its adoption of standards noted that abolishing the kafala system would amount to a significant overhaul of the Qatari economy. “The kafala system exists as part of an effort by Qataris to retain control of their country. Abolishing the system means opening up a labour market in a country where there is no labour market. The requirement for an exit visa is partly the result of Qatar not having extradition treaties with a lot of countries and wanting to prevent those who break the law from simply skipping the country,” Jureidini said.[23]

Abolishing the kafala system would also pull the rug on fundamental policies designed to ensure 
Qatari control of their state and society and preservation of their culture by effectively segregating Qataris and non-Qataris among whom first and foremost are unskilled and semi-skilled workers. Citing the need to protect families, Qatar bars bachelors, a reference to primarily male Asian workers who left their families behind in their home countries, foreign workers from living in family residential areas and from visiting shopping malls or the bazaar on ‘family days.’ A law signed by Tamim as crown prince mandates that employers must house their workers in designated areas.

Some scholars as well as government critics including Qatari activist and author Ali Khalifa al Kuwari, charge that the demographic imbalance serves the Al Thani’s purpose because it avoids the creation of an indigenous working class that would have strong grounds to demand its rights, replacing it with imported labour that has no illusion of ever becoming naturalized citizens.
[24] “The great influx of immigrant workers, regardless of how necessary they are, is a benefit to the ruler, who is keen to treat people as temporary and readily disposable, rather than as citizens with all their attendant rights,” Al Kuwari said in an interview with Germany’s Heinrich Boell Stiftung. He noted that the number of Qatari nationals as a percentage of the total population had dropped from 40 percent in 1970 to 12 percent in 2010. As a result, Qataris dropped from accounting for 14 percent of the work force in 2001 to a mere six percent in 2014.[25] If population projections of five million inhabitants in 2022 used, according to Al Kuwari, for Qatar’s multi-billion dollar metro and railway projects are correct, the percentage of Qatari nationals would drop even more dramatically.[26]


Source: United Nations 2009
“If Qataris are unable to apply pressure to halt this growing imbalance and begin gradual reform, their natural position at the head of society will fall away and they will be rendered incapable of reforming the other and newer problems. Indeed, they will be transformed into a deprived and marginalized minority in their own land. The perpetuation of this growing imbalance threatens to uproot Qatari society, to erase its identity and culture, to take its mother tongue, Arabic, out of circulation, and erode the role of its citizens in owning and running their own country,” he warned .[27]
A report by the Doha-based Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, ‘Foreign Labor and Questions of Identity in the Arabian Gulf,’ concluded that fears that any degree of integration of foreigners would threaten family-run Qatar’s political, cultural and social identity made change unlikely.[28]

Source: Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies[29]l

“The issues touches upon the essence of the question of the transition towards a ‘citizenship society. … In the absence of the establishment of a modern state based on the bond of citizenship, justice, the rule of law, and equal opportunity among all components of society, it is extremely difficult to assimilate immigrants. … The Gulf countries, due to the delay in the construction of the modern state on the institutional, legal and constitutional levels, have extreme difficulties integrating the population of their home societies – let alone assimilating immigrants,” the report said.

The Gulf state, irrespective of the analysis of the reasons and purpose of its labour import policy, was fighting a rear-guard, uphill battle not only because its critics were unlikely to settle for less than abolishing the kafala system but also because as much as Qatar sought to introduce real and at times revolutionary change of workers’ material conditions it failed to quickly match words with deeds and refused to proactively and transparently communicate reforms it was introducing as well as details of its controversial bid.

Qatar’s initial response was the publishing of a workers’ charter by 2022 Committee. The charter was full of lofty words and good intentions but failed to translate those into practice. The committee, in its rebranded life as the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy corrected that by adopting in early 2014 principles[30] that had been earlier embedded in a charter issued a year earlier by the Qatar Foundation (QF), the state charity driving educational and social development. It published on the eve of the European parliament hearing in which Zwanziger testified a 50-page document setting out standards for workers to be incorporated in all World-Cup-related contracts. The environment ministry’s standardisation affairs department published in early April 2014 a handbook for the accommodation of foreign workers at constructions as well as housing sites took centre stage following visits organized by the ITUC.

The various documents – the 2022 Committee and the Qatar Foundation charters as well as the contractual and housing standards -- focused on workers’ material conditions rather than political demands in part because neither the committee nor the foundation had the authority to issue nationally binding norms and standards and in part in the hope that significant improvement of worker’s well-being would shield Qatar from reforming its social system or enlightened political autocracy in ways that would fundamentally the country’s social and political structure.

Promising reform

At the same time, Qatari officials have suggested that the kafala system would be reformed in due course.[31] Those changes were likely to entail shifting sponsorship of foreign workers from individual employers to the government. They would also allow workers to seek alternative employment without permission of their sponsor after a period of notification. Qatar would further work with the major supplying countries to establish regulated employment agencies to cut out corrupt middlemen.[32]

Home to Qatari progressives conscious of the need for change, the Committee and the Foundation hoped to become role models whose norms would under pressure from the unions and activists e adopted nationally. ”It is QF’s aspiration that these Standards initiate a snowballing process towards transforming workers’ quality of life and thus set an exemplary model for treatment of workers nationwide,” the Foundation’s document drafted as a legal agreement said.[33]

The Foundation rather than the committee took the lead by seeking to address not only abominable living and working conditions once migrant labour arrived in Qatar but also the recruitment process, one of the most onerous phases of the migration cycle. Fees and commissions charged to workers for their recruitment and travel to Qatar by frequently unethical middlemen and kickbacks of on average $600 per head to corrupt company human resource executives meant that workers were several thousand dollars in debt that they needed to pay off with meagre salaries of a few hundred dollars a month by the time they stepped off the plane at Doha Airport.


Figure 1:  Recruitment cycle as depicted by India’s Ministry of Overseas Indian Afiairs (Source: Mary Breeding/World Bank)[34]

In her research in India, World Bank official Mary Breeding “discovered that there are multiple structures, institutions, and processes for labour migrants, recruitment agencies and employers to use in the process of emigrating to the Gulf. There is a legal structure outlined by the ministry (The Emigration Act, 1983, Section 10). There are also the institutions and processes described by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Afiairs’s website. The process in Figure 1 (above) is the legal process of recruitment. There are also several alternatives ways operating openly, even advertised daily in newspapers. The most common alternative form of recruitment is through a sub-agent or “consultant” to a registered recruitment agency. While there are a limited number of formally registered recruitment agents (app. 1835), there are thousands of sub-agents.”

Breeding noted that only one of the recruitment agents she interviewed adhered to the maximum fees chargeable to employees of IRs. 10,000 ($200). All other recruiters she spoke to cited figures between Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 50,000 $800-$1000). The costs are intended to cover passport, visa, emigration clearance fees, airline tickets, mandatory medical exam, and recruitment agent fees. “If a subcontractor is involved, he will also charge an additional fee. The overall costs charged to a job candidate ultimately depend on who pays for what: the recruitment agent, the employer, or the job candidate. In the worst case scenario, the burden is entirely placed on the job candidate to cover all fees for traveling abroad. With the one exception of the government recruitment agency I interviewed, job candidates applying to other agencies always end up paying between four and five times more than the maximum a recruitment agent can charge.” Breeding wrote.


Figure 2: Recruitment reality as depicted by Mary Breeding[35]

As a result, the Foundation mandated that no worker should pay for his or her recruitment. The Foundation went a step further by sending experts to the major Asian suppliers of Qatar’s foreign labour – Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh -- to explore ways of rooting out corruption in the recruitment process, including the involvement of unregistered or unlicensed sub-agents, exploitation of knowledge of workers recruited in remote villages and false promise made to those recruited or failure to make full disclosures. The experts concluded that the Foundation and ultimately the state had three options: organizing its own recruitment process from A to Z; working with national employment agencies despite the problem of corruption affecting many of them; or working with a small number of private sector employment agencies that uphold ethical standards. The Foundation has so far taken its time in deciding which of the options it would pursue. In its version of the standards, the Committee said a template for contracts with recruitment agencies would have to be registered with the Qatari labour ministry.

The standards further addressed a host of issues that were at the core of the criticism of Qatar. They included assurances that workers’ passports would not be confiscated by their sponsors; ensuring timely payment of wages; guarantees that workers would not be penalized for filing complaints; a hotline for workers to file complaints; health, safety and security standards; provisions for adequate housing; hiring of a company worker welfare officer; and a four-tier monitoring and enforcement system. Improved standards are significant given that lower skill labour that is attracted to the Gulf hails from rural rather than urban areas in South Asia where wages are often similar to those in the Gulf. Breeding noted that one recruitment manager she interviewed “captured the essence of many interviews, noting the need to recruit in rural areas as a result of increases in wages of Indian workers in urban areas relative to wages of workers in the Gulf.”[36] She added that “out of the ten employers (in Qatar) I interviewed only three realized that working with subagents is illegal, and none of them were really versed in the legal framework for recruitment established by the Indian government.”[37]

In adopting their standards, the Committee and the Foundation were ahead of the labour ministry even if critics of Qatar’s labour system conceded that rules and regulations effecting worker conditions contain much that is positive.[38] The ministry appears to have focused its contribution on improving enforcement of rules and regulations that was spotty because of a lack of inspectors and supervisors[39] and parroted the Foundation and the Committee’s standards in a series of statements. It said in March 2014 that it had significantly hiked its number of inspectors, sanctioned 2,000 companies in 2013 and another 500 since the beginning of 2014 for labour law violations and taken steps to improve workers’ access to healthcare and their ability to file complaints.[40]

Qatari hopes that the charters and standards would deflate criticism were quickly dashed despite declarations by the ILO and Amnesty International they constituted a step forward but noted that there was much more that Qatar needed to do, including address kafala system.[41]
The ITUC charged in a statement that the committee’s standards “do not deliver fundamental rights for workers and merely reinforce the discredited kafala (sponsorship) system of employer control over workers.”[42] The union criticized details of the standards but reserved its harshest criticism for the committee’s failure to address the sponsorship system as such or its more political demands for workers’ rights to form independent unions and engage in collective bargaining. These critics noted further that standards would stand and fall with their enforcement.

The ITUC rejected labour ministry supervision of adherence to the standards because it had failed to date to stop the charging of fees by middlemen even though they violate Qatari law. “Not a single change has been made or recommended to Qatar’s laws that deny workers their fundamental rights. No workplace voice or representative is allowed for migrant workers in Qatar. A worker welfare officer appointed by the employer is no substitute for a duly nominated worker representative,” the ITUC statement said. It dismissed the standards as an “old, discredited self-monitoring system which has failed in the past in Bangladesh and other countries where thousands of workers have died” – an apparent reference to Bangladesh’s textile industry that has witnessed multiple incidents as a result of unenforced standards. ITUC secretary general said a year earlier that the labour ministry received on average 6,000 complaints a year involving employers’ refusal to give end-of-service benefits and delays in paying or refusal to pay wages, many of which were not acted on.

Denouncing the standards as ”a sham,” the union asserted further that the standards provided for only one social worker for every 3500 employees did not provide details of how complaints would be handled or who would manage the hotline; failed to set up a system to record workers’ deaths and ensure autopsies; did not express the intention to prosecute contractors for breaches; and made no reference to Qatar’s high summer temperatures. “Qatar has to change its laws, nothing else will do,” the statement quoted Burrow as saying.[43]

In responding to the criticism, Qatar officials drew a distinction between the approach of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and human rights groups, which were involved in the drafting of the standards, and that of the ITUC which they said seemed keener on exploiting the situation to its advantage rather than engaging constructively to reach a mutually acceptable solution.[44]

The credibility of the ITUC’s confrontational approach that position it as the bad guy in a good cop-bad cop division of labour among activists was dented in March 2014 when it charged that the World Cup committee was not living up to its own standards. The confederation made the accusation based on a visit to a stadium that turned out to belong to a local club and that did not fall under the committee’s authority.[45]

Qatar nevertheless failed to capitalize on this. Its long-awaited announcement of legal changes to the kafala system[46] raised more questions than providing answers, was muddled by contradictory statements by Qatari officials and persuaded FIFA president Sepp Blatter to cancel a visit to Qatar.[47] The confusion stemmed from the fact that the reforms appeared to involve a refinement of the kafala system such as easing restrictions on exit visas and workers’ ability to change jobs rather than an overall overhaul or abolition as the government had suggested earlier. 

It was further fuelled by the announcement that future labour contracts would have to be in line with a model contract drafted by the government, the terms of which have yet to be disclosed. It compounded the fact that Qatar in the way it announced the measures failed to convey sincerity by having a senior Cabinet official disclose the changes rather than a senior military officer in uniform. Also fuelling doubts was the fact that the reforms have yet to be sent the Qatari Chamber of Commerce and approved by the Shura or Advisory Council. It was not clear how long that process would take.

The announced reforms based on a report by law firm DLA Piper[48] that was commissioned by the government would apply to all workers, including domestics ones. They entailed allowing workers with a fixed-term contract to seek new employment without having to first leave the country or seek permission from their initial employer only at the end of their contract. They would however not lift the ban on breaking their contract without their employer’s permission. 

The reforms further included:

n  An increase of the penalty for employers who illegally confiscate workers’ passports;
n  Forcing employers to pay wages electronically to ensure on time payment;
n  Enforcing as yet undisclosed standards for workers’ accommodation;
n  Streamlining rather than abolishing the requirement for workers to acquire an exit visa before leaving the country. Instead of having to seek their employers consent before departure, workers would apply through an automated system operated by the interior ministry.

Avoiding responsibility

If Qatar has been reactive rather than proactive in addressing labour issues, countries supplying workers have been lax in standing up for the rights of their nationals. The controversy constituted for labour-exporting countries a double edged sword. On the one hand, export of labour suited countries with high un- or underemployment whose remittances served as a source of foreign currency. On the other, it put the spotlight not only on sub-standard conditions in Qatar but also in the labour-exporting countries.

Writing in The Guardian, economist Jayati Ghosh noted that it was a news agency using India’s Right to Information Act rather than the government that took up the deaths of Indian workers in Qatar.[49]  “This apparent apathy and even nonchalance fits in only too well with the overall approach of the Indian elite towards the mass of its workers, migrant or otherwise. The Indian growth story has been marked by very little employment generation. Despite nearly three decades of rapid growth, net formal employment (jobs that provide any sort of worker protection and are subject to labour laws) has not increased at all… When the sheer pace of construction combines with a desperation on the part of workers willing to make huge sacrifices to improve the living conditions of their families, the result is a massive potential for exploitation,” Ghosh said. 

Similarly, Nepal’s Kathmandu Post argued in an editorial written by prominent journalist Kanak Mani Dixit that the country’s government and civic society allowed abuse of Nepalese workers to occur. “The job migrants of Nepal are entrapped not only by the sponsor-manpower nexus but by a neglectful Kathmandu civil society and a government that has floundered all these years when it comes to foreign affairs and the protection of overseas citizens. The Kathmandu discourse on migrant labour is marked by a sense of fatalism—the diffidence explained perhaps by a fear of shaking the honey pot. The Gulf migrants are perceived as the luckier ones, given that the poorest of all cross the open border into the employment sump that is India,” the newspaper said.[50]

Ironically, the Qatar Foundation’s push to overhaul the recruitment of foreign workers could emerge as the driver of a change in attitude in labour-exporting countries like Nepal. The pressure might force those countries to look at reforms at home and push them to ensure improved governance and adhesion to international labour standards in Qatar and other labour-importing nations. “It is a delicate task that requires research, diplomatic skill and committed activism—so that the fundamental rights of the workers are protected without exposing Nepali workers to formal or informal bans (as happened with Filipina workers, when Manila sought to raise their base income).. As a major labour exporter, Nepal must come out of the fog and get involved in the accelerating discourse. Priority in foreign affairs must be given to the relationships with the labour-receiving countries, especially those of the Gulf and Malaysia. We must rise from the wreckage of foreign affairs, including the appointment of incapable political-appointee ambassadors, which has directly hurt the prospects of citizens working overseas,” the Kathmandu Post said.

Conclusion

Labour reform poses a far more existential challenge to Qatar given its demographic deficit than it does in labour-exporting countries. The World Cup offers however Qatar its best chance to tackle a fundamental problem in a controlled and gradual fashion that at some point could threaten the nature of the Gulf state’s society and state. Qataris recognize the threat but like other Gulf states have no solution that would address their concerns of maintaining control of their culture, society and state while granting a majority of the population rights. Fear of loss of control and erosion of national identity serves as an impediment rather than an incentive to tackle the issue head on.

The controversy over labour conditions in Qatar has nonetheless left the Gulf state no choice but to start addressing the issue. That may not produce definitive solutions but opens the door to improvement of the material conditions of foreign workers as well as to a politically and socially sensitive but inevitable debate about the nation’s future. In standing up for the rights of their nationals, governments of labour-exporting states would not only be living up to obligations they accepted when they assumed power but unwittingly would be contributing to a long overdue process of change in Qatar and the Gulf that is likely to be painful and politically charged and will need to be sensitively managed.





[1] Qatar’s 2010 census figures reported 74,087 economically active Qataris over the age of 15 and 1,201,884 economically active non-Qataris. Census 2010, pp.12-13, 19, Qatar Statistics Authority, www.qsa.gov.qa
[2] The Peninsula. 2012. ‘Qatar needs one million foreign workers for 2022 projects: ILO,’ October 15, http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/qatar/210816/qatar-needs-one-million-foreign-workers-for-2022-projects-ilo
[3] Ministry of the Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 1954.  ‘Saudi Arabian Citizenship System,’ September 23, http://www.moi.gov.sa/wps/wcm/connect/121c03004d4bb7c98e2cdfbed7ca8368/EN_saudi_nationality_system.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
[4] James M. Dorsey. 2013. ‘Qatar announces planned migrant workers charter to fend off World Cup criticism,’ The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, February 12, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.com/2013/02/qatar-announces-planned-migrant-workers.html 
[5] International Trade Union Confederation. 2014. List of affiliated organization,’‘ http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/no_36_-_list_affiliates_181113-2.pdf
[6] Gulf Times. 2011.  ‘Text Hassan al Thawadi Speech - Leaders in Football 2011, Gulf Times, October 7, http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=462347&version=1&template_id=36&parent_id=16
[7] Ed Cummings. 2014. ‘Damned if they do and damned if they don't: no wonder sports associations are so badly run,’ The Daily Telegraph, March 2, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/10713932/Damned-if-they-do-and-damned-if-they-dont-no-wonder-sports-associations-are-so-badly-run.html
[8] Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake. 2014. Plot to buy the World Cup, The Sunday Times, 1 June, http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/fifa/article1417325.ece
[9] James M. Dorsey. 2014. ‘Qatar unwittingly forces potential improvement of soccer governance,’ The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, February 15, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.com/2014/02/qatar-unwittingly-forces-potential.html
[10] Owen Gibson. 2014. ‘Doha forced to break silence on Qatar's migrant worker deaths,’ The Guardian, February 18, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/18/doha-forced-break-silence-qatar-migrant-worker-deaths;  Owen Gibson. 2014 ‘Paralysed in Qatar: Nepalese workers trapped in Kafkaesque Gulf nightmare,’ The Guardian, January 27, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/nepalese-workers-world-cup-building-sites-qatar-left-paralysed; Pete Pattisson. 2013. ‘Revealed: Qatar's World Cup 'slaves',’ The Guardian, September 25, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/revealed-qatars-world-cup-slaves
[11] International Trade Union Confederation. 2013. ‘Qatar 2022 World Cup risks 4000 lives, warns International Trade Union Confederation,’ September 27, http://www.ituc-csi.org/qatar-2022-world-cup-risks-4000
[12] Jamie Doward. 2014. ‘Qatar World Cup: 400 Nepalese have died since construction began,’ The Guardian, February 15, http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/feb/16/qatar-world-cup-400-deaths-nepalese
[13] James M. Dorsey. 2014. ‘Mounting workers’ deaths increase pressure on Qatar, FIFA and Asian countries,’ The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, February 20, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.sg/2014/02/mounting-workers-deaths-increase.html
[14] Ibid. Dorsey
[15] Andrew Gardner, Silvia Pessoab, Abdoulaye Diopc, Kaltham Al-Ghanimd, Kien Le Trunge and Laura Harkness. 2013. ‘A Portrait of Low-Income Migrants in Contemporary Qatar,’ Journal of Arabian Studies: Arabia, the Gulf, and the Red Sea, Vol: 3, Issue 1
[16] Interview with the author January 18 2013
[17] James M. Dorsey. 2013. ‘Critics of Qatari sports, labor and foreign policy target its commercial interests,’ October 27, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.com/2013/02/qatar-announces-planned-migrant-workers.html
[18] Ravinder Mamtani, Albert B Lowenfels, Sohaila Cheema, and Javaid Sheikh. 2013. ‘Impact of migrant workers on the Human Development Index,’ Perspectives in Public Health, Vol. 22:4
[19] US Embassy Doha (Qatar). 2008. ‘The Next 3 Years--an Interagency Field Assessment Of Key Trends And Strategic Challenges In Qatar,’ September 16, http://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/cable.php?id=08DOHA664&q=qatar%20saudi
[20] James M. Dorsey. 2012. ‘Qatar to legalize trade union as Saudi Arabia pushes closer Gulf cooperation,’ The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, May 2, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.com/2012/05/qatar-to-legalize-trade-union-as-saudi.html
[21] Ibid. US Embassy Doha (Qatar)
[22] US Embassy Doha. The Move Toward an Interagency Synchronization
[23] Interview with the author October 2 2013
[24] Adam Hanieh. 2011. Capitalism and Class in the Arab Gulf, New York, p. 60-66
[25] Qatar’s 2010 census figures reported 74,087 economically active Qataris over the age of 15 and 1,201,884 economically active non-Qataris. Census 2010, pp.12-13, 19, Qatar Statistics Authority, www.qsa.gov.qa
[26] Ali Khalifa al Kuwari, The People Want Reform in Qatar...Too, 4 November 2012, Perspectives, Heinrich Boell Stiftung, http://www.il.boell.org/downloads/perspectives_MENA_4_Nov_2012_Qatar.pdf
[27] Ibid. Al Kuwari
[28] Baqr Alnajjar. 2013. ‘Foreign Labor and Questions of Identity in the Arabian Gulf,’ Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, http://english.dohainstitute.org/release/3010e20a-1bc3-4807-8f42-f7131151c3d0
[29] Ibid. Alnajjar
[30] Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy. 2014. ‘SC Workers’ Standards Edition 1,’ February 11 email to the author from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy
[31] Mark Bisson. 2014. ‘MEPs Lobby for Qatar 2022 Workers' Rights,’ Inside World Football, March 26, http://worldfootballinsider.com/Story.aspx?id=36761
[32] James M. Dorsey. 2014. ‘Qatar likely to reform controversial labour system,’ The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, March 27, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.sg/2014/03/qatar-likely-to-reform-controversial.html
[33] Qatar Foundation. 2013. ‘QF Mandatory Standards of Migrant Workers’ Welfare for Contractors and Sub-Contractors,’ Qatar Foundation, Sent to author by a drafter of the document.
[34] Mary Breeding. 2010. ‘India-Gulf Migration: Corruption and Capacity in Regulating Recruitment Agencies,’ http://www.marybreeding.com/India-GulfMigration.pdf
[35] Ibid. Breeding
[36] Ibid. Breeding
[37] Ibid. Breeding
[38] Author interviews with human rights and trade unions activists in the period 2011-2014
[39] James M. Dorsey. 2014. ‘Mounting workers’ deaths increase pressure on Qatar, FIFA and Asian countries,’ The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, February 20,
[40] Ibid. Dorsey
[42] James M. Dorsey. 2014. ‘Workers’ welfare in Qatar: Navigating a minefield,’ The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, February 12, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.sg/2014/02/workers-welfare-in-qatar-navigating.html
[43] Ibid. Dorsey
[44] Author interviews with Qatari officials on February 12 2014
[45] International Trade Union Confederation. 2014. ‘The case against Qatar,’ March 14, http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/web_qatar_the_case_against_qatar_march_2014_en_web.pdf / James M. Dorsey. 2014. ‘Qatar labour controversy becomes part of Gulf dispute over Muslim Brotherhood,’ March 16, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.sg/2014/03/qatar-labour-controversy-becomes-part.html
[46] State of Qatar Labour Reform Press Release. 2014. ‘Qatar Abolishes Kafala Introduces Wide-Ranging Labour Market Reforms,  14 May, sent to the author by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy
[47] James M. Dorsey. 2014. Qatar misses the plank on labour reform, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, May 15, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.sg/2014/05/qatar-misses-plank-on-labour-reform.html
[48] DLA Piper. 2014. Migrant Labour in the Construction Sector in the State of Qatar, April,  file:///C:/Users/jmdor_000/Documents/Soccer/Archive/Qatar/225897899-Qatar-Dla-Final-Report-May-2014-For-Publication.pdf
[49] Jayati Ghosh. 2014. ‘Qatar workers' deaths are India's responsibility too,’ The Guardian, February 21, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/21/india-qatar-world-cup-migrant-workers-deaths