How Qatar Quietly Became a Diplomatic Power

todaySeptember 21, 2022 1

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Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani just lately gave an interview to Le Level, noteworthy not solely as a result of it was the primary interview he has granted to a Western print outlet, but additionally as a result of he expounded on a variety of vital topics.

Al-Thani’s musings provide perception into one of many Center East’s most consequential leaders at a second of regional tumult, heightened international tensions, and nice energy competitors.

With simply 300,000 residents inhabiting a tiny nation squeezed between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Qatar is probably greatest recognized for boasting the world’s highest per capita earnings.

However it’s al-Thani’s deliberate development of a international coverage that eschews battle in favor of dialogue that makes Qatar stand out within the unstable area.

In remarks to his nation’s first democratically elected legislature in 2021, al-Thani declared that “we don’t search to compete with or emulate anybody, however quite to carve out our personal area of interest” by an “adherence to dialogue as a substitute for wars.” Pointing to Qatar’s seminal function in Afghanistan, the emir supplied Doha as “a hub for dialogue and peaceable decision of disputes.”

Increasing on these themes in Le Level, al-Thani noticed that his nation’s international coverage “goals to convey totally different factors of view collectively, to assist all events who want it, and to play a job of facilitator, within the area and past.” At a second when many are approaching worldwide affairs as a zero-sum recreation, Qatar is admirably articulating another paradigm.

“The world wants dialogue to unravel its issues. One of the best current instance is what we did in Afghanistan, when our U.S. pals requested us to assist them make connections with the Afghans to discover a peaceable resolution to the warfare. We did it,” al-Thani famous to his French viewers.

He’s proper. As Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.), a former Navy SEAL, noticed in 2021, Qatar “saved our butts” in Afghanistan by spearheading the evacuation of 124,000 People, Afghans, and different third-country nationals. Because the American embassy’s relocation from Kabul to Doha, U.S. authorities have performed “over the horizon” counterterrorism operations, successfully managing a frightening safety problem remotely.

There’s a lot to mirror on in al-Thani’s expansive interview. A number of highlights:

On current nice energy competitors, which has elevated international anxieties, al-Thani says, “We don’t wish to see the world polarized between two superpowers; that will be very harmful. … Our nation is a serious ally of the U.S. and the West basically, however our important importer of liquified pure fuel is China. We are able to solely notice that there are nice variations between them, however we hope that tensions could be resolved by diplomatic and peaceable means.”

Concerning the spike in international fuel costs ensuing from Putin’s warfare in Ukraine, al-Thani asserts that “we wish to assist Europe and we are going to provide fuel to Europe within the coming years. However it isn’t true that we are able to exchange Russian fuel. Russian fuel is important to the worldwide market. Crucial level is that we’re all affected by the state of affairs, whether or not it’s when it comes to power or meals. That’s the reason the warfare in Ukraine should finish.”

On Iran, al-Thani gives that “we’re speaking with our U.S. allies, and we’re speaking with the Iranians, as a result of Iran is our neighbor. It’s in our responsibility and curiosity to do all the things to convey the events collectively and to encourage them in negotiating a peaceable settlement.” Qatar’s detractors generally castigate the Gulf emirate for enjoying “all sides of the sphere”—sustaining ties with worldwide pariahs just like the Taliban, Hamas, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood. However the criticism ignores the truth that america encourages Qatar’s function as a trusted middleman as a result of it produces outcomes. The Qatari international minister has repeatedly sought to dispel considerations about his nation’s allegiances, together with when he mentioned on Fox Information that “this partnership between Qatar and america is … for us an important … strategic relationship that we’ve with every other nation on this planet.” That the nation hosts one of many largest American air bases outdoors america at al-Udeid is a transparent indication that it isn’t simply rhetoric.

When discussing the unresolved roots of the Arab Spring, al-Thani contends that there’s a lot work to do: “Poverty, unemployment, unemployed graduates… Have we solved these issues? No, quite the opposite, they’ve worsened! If we do not tackle them, the occasions that they induced could repeat themselves. For my part, one of the best ways to forestall turbulence … is to implement reforms, progressively … Qatar promised to coach ten million out of faculty youngsters and we’ve surpassed that promise. Quickly we are going to attain fifteen million major faculty youngsters. We additionally want to offer jobs, alternatives, but additionally allow them to categorical their opinions and variations. Qatar has established packages to assist prepare greater than two million younger individuals within the Arab world and supply them with job alternatives.”

Whereas acknowledging the persistent problem of peaceable relations between Israelis and Palestinians, al-Thani re-asserts his longstanding dedication to a two-state resolution. That Qatar has lengthy used its wealth and affect to help the individuals of Gaza and the West Financial institution and comprise hostilities in one of many area’s most explosive scorching spots is commendable.

Al-Thani’s reflections provide a well timed reminder of how a small however consequential nation on the Arabian Peninsula is balancing relations with international powers by rejecting binary approaches to supply favorable (or at the least much less dangerous) outcomes. The world may do worse than leverage Qatar’s willingness to play the function of world interlocutor as a substitute for the usage of power and coercive diplomacy.

Prof. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is the chief director of the College of Public and Worldwide Affairs on the College of Baltimore. Opinions expressed are his personal. Observe him on Twitter @ProfSheehan

Picture: Reuters.

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Written by: soft fm radio staff

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