Qatar is forging its personal path

A fast have a look at a map of the Near East and North Africa reveals two key information: 1) The area is politically divided into sparsely populated, however geographically huge nations on one aspect; smaller nations on the opposite, most of that are politically, economically and socially unstable. The one exception to this overarching rule is the peninsular nation of Qatar. 

Strategically jutting out into the Persian Gulf, the nation has, during the last a number of many years, emerged as one of many few Middle East’s uncommon success tales. Gas riches and a ‘go-its-own-way’ mindset inside Qatari society and its authorities, together with the nation’s royal household, has completely remodeled the nation for the reason that early 1970s.

Regarded by the skin world for a lot of the 20th-century as an underdeveloped backwater whose livelihood revolved round pearl diving and camel herding, the Qataris lagged far behind their oil-rich Saudi neighbors for many years. 

The discovery of the world’s largest fuel area in 1971 has led Qatar to account for 30 % of the worldwide market. Its residents, right this moment numbering an estimated 2.9 million, have benefitted tremendously. The per capita GDP of the nation is without doubt one of the highest on the earth, over twice that of Saudi Arabia.

Having largely averted the chaotic turmoil that resulted from the Arab Spring, and in contrast to Syria, Egypt and Libya, Qatar has not confronted any of the fast threats to its nationwide safety or its political stability, circumstances that turned commonplace for nearly each different Arab nation after the uprsings first started in 2011.

Instead, Qatar has emerged from that turmoil as a regional peacemaker. This has turned the capital, Doha, right into a ‘Switzerland-on-the-Gulf’; a locale the place rival factions from Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and Lebanon, amongst others, have come to hash out peace offers and ceasefires that ended many years of conflicts of their respective nations.

Since 2003, the yr the Americans’ invasion of Iraq first started, Qatar has hosted an enormous US airbase. Though that move irked some governments within the area, the connection between Washinton and Doha has solely additional deepened. 

Following the American withdrawal from Afghanistan this previous August. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduced earlier in November that Qatar will set up an American curiosity part inside its embassy in Afghanistan to offer sure consular companies and monitor the situation and safety of American diplomatic services in Afghanistan.

Over the previous 20 years, the Pentagon has come to see the nation as one among Washington’s most dependable companions within the Middle East. The Al Udeid Air Base, south of Doha, is home to US Central Command’s ahead headquarters and the American army’s air operations heart for the complete area. 

Since the institution of joint operations on the base, Doha has contributed an estimated $eight billion since 2003 towards growing the bottom and has hosted hundreds of Afghan refugees for the reason that August withdrawal.

The nation’s unbiased approach to international coverage has even spilt over into the difficult concern of relations with Israel. Though Doha isn’t part of the Abraham Accords, which was signed by Israel and a number of other different Arab nations to be able to set up formal diplomatic ties, Qatar’s personal dialogue with their Israeli counterparts dates again to 1996, when the 2 nations established essential commerce relations.

On the home social stage, in contrast to the austere practices of Saudi Arabia, Qatari girls have been capable of drive and publicly socialize for many years and non secular minorities, together with Christians, are legally allowed to brazenly apply their religion.  

These societal constructing blocks have helped to form Qatar’s branded picture, one which highlights the nation’s objective of being an indispensable promoter of peace within the area and a greater than able to internet hosting main worldwide occasions that vary from vogue weeks, cybersecurity conferences, an annual Formula 1 Grand Prix and the 2006 Asian Games, which laid the groundwork and offered a lot of the preliminary infrastructure for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Qatari residents personal among the West’s most iconic model names, together with Harrods division retailer, a share in London’s Heathrow Airport, the Paris Saint-Germain soccer membership and the Shard, western Europe’s tallest constructing, to call just a few. American universities Georgetown, Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon and Texas A&M, all of which have branches in Qatar. 

The nation’s nationwide flag provider, Qatar Airways, flies to over 150 worldwide locations all over the world. The firm employs greater than 43,000 individuals and is frequently lauded as among the best air carriers on the earth. Only not too long ago, each the airline and its hub – Hamad International Airport – got a five-star score by the worldwide air transport score group Skytrax for COVID security.  

The nation’s best international reach, to this point, has been by means of the extremely influential Al Jazeera tv community. Since its launch in 1996, Al Jazeera has completely remodeled the idea of free speech in a area the place unbiased or essential reviews, exterior of state-censored media shops, is the norm, Al Jazeera’s willingness to broadcast unfiltered views and interviews with a wide selection of each company and commentators have despatched shockwaves throughout the Arab States of Persian Gulf. 

None of those might have been doable, nonetheless, with out Qatar having been daring sufficient to take the time and to make use of its personal sources to determine and domesticate its personal worldwide footprint. The key to that has been the unbiased and ‘doing it its own way’ spirit that’s deeply inculcated into Qatar’s DNA.

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