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Understanding Qatar’s Foreign Policy Objectives 19, July 2012

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
Tags: , ,

I’ve written a piece for Mediterranean Journal on Qatar’s foreign policy. The opening couple of paragraphs are below and the rest can be found here.

Neither in the bowels of the Foreign Ministry nor in the Emir Diwan in Qatar is there a large-scale strategic plan underscoring and directing Qatar’s foreign policy before, during, or after the Arab Spring. There are no Machiavellian plans afoot to support the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region or to corral support against Saudi-led Salafi groups. Al Jazeera is not a tool of the Foreign Minister, Qatar’s desire to promote democracy does not make it any more hypocritical than any other state, the Qatari Emir is neither a lackey of America nor Tehran, and nor have there been several attempts on his life in recent years, as, for example, Syrian media outlets so adamantly claimed.

Wading through the reams of misinformation, clichés, propaganda, and vitriol masquerading as analysis and reportage of Qatar’s foreign policy and its objectives takes practice, perseverance, and a deep understanding of Qatar itself. Arriving at any firm conclusions is further complicated by the conservative and private nature of Qataris themselves and the lack of any kind of meaningful policy documents, whitepapers, official explanations, and overall transparency throughout Government.

The key to understanding Qatar’s foreign policies is to place them in the context of the State of Qatar itself. A clear and dispassionate grasp of the factors, be they social, economic, or political, that contributed to the milieu in which the policies were made is the first step towards a nuanced and transparent understanding of the emergent foreign policies.


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