Allegations have been made of millions of dollars of improper payments to Fifa officials who were involved in the process of voting for the winning bids. We are no closer today to knowing whether or not these allegations are true or false. Fifa has investigated itself and not surprisingly found itself to be not guilty.
With the Middle East at yet another critical juncture and with a sense of common purpose emanating from the region, this is neither the time for straw man moralising or finger pointing. The West should don its realpolitik glasses and use Qatar's status in the area to give a nudge to the consolidation process currently taking place in the Islamic world.
While it may be more comforting to consider these men but lone wolves acting upon their own deranged ideas, that no longer seems to be the case. In this age of social media and easily accessible information in which we live, it is no longer necessary for contact to be made for a message to be passed on.
As one "War on Terror," draws to an end, so starts another. The upcoming withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan should force our politicians to reflect, largely on the utter futility of combating societal and religious problems with bombs. Old habits die hard. Not having learnt that virtually every Western intrusion into the Middle East ends in disaster, parliament's acquiescence to David Cameron's demand that Britain join the fight against ISIS proves our foreign policy is created in a historical vacuum.
Studies provide a number of fresh insights into evolving attitudes and technology based behaviours in this fast changing region... The Middle East is not as different as you might think... "The digital divide demarcates technological abilities in the Arab world about as starkly as anywhere on earth."
Citing a confidential assessment by former South African police chief Andre Pruis, British media is trying to make the case that Qatar is too vulnerable to terrorism to serve as host. As someone who has worked on counter-terrorism issues for nearly 20 years, I find this argument wrong for three key reasons.
Workers explained their circumstances. As we sat with them in the terribly overcrowded 'bedrooms' many wept from sheer frustration. Returning home to massive debts chalked up by payment to labour agents is a humiliating prospect that has led some migrant workers to take their own lives. Agents actively recruit workers in poverty stricken and jobless countries. I wondered about the men I met who will return home alive or uninjured, who will repay their debt and who will survive the shame if they "fail". I looked workers in the eye and felt immense anger at the betrayal of their human rights.
Compare and contrast. In a few years' time several hundred professional footballers from all over the world will arrive in the Gulf state of Qatar to take part in the 2022 World Cup... Meanwhile, during the same period in mid-2022, it's very likely that several hundred other overseas workers will arrive at the always-overcrowded Doha International Airport.