Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Qatar Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East Essay
Qatar is located in Arabian Peninsula in boarders with Saudi Arabia, with only 225,000 citizens in a population of 1. 7 million. Qatar follows a conservative religious ideology, Wahhabism. While some refer to Qatar as the Second Wahhabi amirate, it is traditionally cognise as the more or less boring determine in the gulf or the countrified kn take in for being unvalued (Roberts, 2012). However, Qatar emerged as a unvoiced disk operating system actor with ext oddityed networks of alliances in the world. The mediator role that Doha plays today is crucial in the region, peculiarly after the Arab quail (HRW, 2013).Indeed, Qatar support the Arab Uprisings across the region in 2011. In addition, Qatar invested amid $65 jillion and $100 billion to the FIFA world instill that it will be hosting in 2022. The Emir founded a come of human-centered projects in Sudan, S bulge outh of Lebanon, Gaza and Asia. In this paper, I attempt to answer the interrogation of what be the driv ing motives of Qatars overseas policy in the centre of attention east? And why, un deal its neighboring countries, Qatars lead back up the Arab appraisals of 2011?Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, stated, we support those who demanded justice and dignity, when asked about his countrys role in the Arab revolutions in an interview in 60 proceeding . In response, President Barak Obama thanked the Emir for promoting republic in the Middle East (Al Thani, 2012). Ironically, Qatar is an absolute monarchy described as an authoritarian regime that is ranked 138th out of the 167 countries by Democracy Index 2011. In addition, the submitdom House lists Qatar as not free ( independence house), (Democracy Index, 2011).Therefore, Qatars need of rule of law, freedom of spoken language and governmental right(a)s contradict the Emirs efforts to stir democracy and delegitimizes his governmental statements. In relevance to this hypocrisy, Qatars foreign policy in oecumenic and its support of democratic transitions in the Arab region in specific dish outs its ambitions to secure itself from threats, maintain its status quo of an independent state and take a leadhip role in the region. Political Emancipation and the Saudi Threat Al Thani family ruled Qatar for more than 150 years.Qatar attained its independence in 1971, when the British-mandate came to an end and after its refusal to join the unite Arab Emirates federation. Since that date until the 1990s, Saudi Arabia acted as the de facto withstander of Qatar. Consequently, the Emir took policy directions from Al Saud. However, this transactionhip witnessed a change in the early 1990s as tensions in bilateral relations between the two countries began to arise. After the invasion of Kuwait and Sadams threat to storm the Suadi kingdom, Saudi quickly reached out to western coalitions in aim of protection.As Suadi presented itself as weak and unable to defend itself, the Qataris began to doubt Saudis abi lity to protect the Qatari entity and decided to pursue a strong alliance with the US. Therefore, between 1990-1992, Qatar signed a military agreement with the United States to host its military base in Al-Odead. In response, Saudi worked to frustrate Qatars pipeline exports of gas to United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman. As a result, tensions between the two countries intensified. Later, in 30 September 1992, Saudi attacked the Qatari boarders leaving three soldiers dead (2012).However, the clashes did not stop there. In1995, Shiekh Hamad Al Thani, the pennon Prince back then, seized condition after a bloodless coup detat against his father. Of course, Saudi Arabia did not welcome the coup detat because of Hamads known strong motives to maintain his countrys autonomy. Instead, Saudi financially supported an other(a) coup against the current Emir. Then, Qatar detained a number of Saudi and Qatari citizens who cooperated with the Saudi government to bring the ousted prince back into power.These tensions led the Saudi-Qatar relations into a deep freeze until rapprochement happened in 2008 (2012). Since then, Shiekh Hamad Al Thani led the modernization process to create a brand name of Qatar. In its foreign policy, Qatar adopted diplomacy as a foreign policy fauna that allows it to take on the mediator role in a number of regional disputes. In addition to its diplomatic activism and small size, the Qatari wealth that is invested in mediation efforts paves the way for Qatar to be a head in the political game today. A Theoretical approach on Qatars MediationThe tribal nature of the Qatari society and the hierarchal organisation of the government lends the leadership absolute power to form the countrys economic-political agenda and foreign policy. The major two agents that determine the political strategies of Qatars foreign policy are its national security and its desire to get to a brand name for itself. Hence, the main key element of Qatars foreign polic y is mediation, which is apparently is not a new political tool as the early Al-Thanis were forced to become experts negotiators quickly in anarchic corner of the Middle East (Roberts).According to Jacob Bercovitch in his book, Studies in International Mediation, countries engage in mediation for various reasons that include (a) a genuine desire to change the course of a long-standing conflict to promote peace, (b) a desire to gain access to major political leaders and open channels of communication, (c), a desire to public exposure ones ideas and enhance standing and professional status, (d) the wish to preserve intact building of which they are part, (e) viewing mediation as a way of extending and enhancing their own influence and gaining some value from the conflict (Roberts). Therefore, from this perspective, Qatars employs mediation for the sweetener of its professional status and the acquirement of power.From here, Qatar mediated a number of disputes in the region including the Hezbollah dispute with the Lebanese government, the rebellion disputes with the Northern Sudanese government and the Huothis dispute with the Yemeni government. Moreover, crackicipation in mediations between states is of gravid advantage to Qatar. Internationally, it promotes a peaceful stunt man as a peacekeeping operation state in an attempt to gain worldwide respect (Roberts).Peterson argues in his work, Qatar and the World, The fundamental advantage, however, is that it assures the legitimacy of the micro state. This in turn leads to the single most important factor increased awareness of and legitimacy accruing to Qatar- in domestic help and external terms- enhances the prospects of the states survival(Roberts). Qatar neutral position and its small size makes non-threatening to other state to except negotiation with compare to Saudi which has interests in regional conflict, which leads political parties to refuse its negotiation, e. . Saudi support of the government in Yemen and ambition with Hezbollah. On the other hand, Qatar established diplomatic relations with almost everyone.Qatars Foreign affairs minister, Shiekh Hamad bin Jasem Al Thani, in an interview on Al Jazeera, was asked by Ahmed Manosur, Al Jazeera presenter, I just want to substantiate one thing In Qatar you have relations with the devils and the angels, with the Iranians and the Ameri tolerates, with the Israelis and Hamas, he continued, how can we understand this policy? (Mansour, 2012). Today, Qatar unlike other state in the region, calls capital of Iran in the morning and Tel Aviv in the afternoon (Roberts). It was the starting state in the gulf to host trade office of Israel, established good relations with Hamas, opened communications with Hezbollah, the Emir of Qatar was the first to invite Ahmadinejad to attend the twenty-eighth Gulf Cooperation council summit in 2007. While other Arab states alienated Islamists, Qatar was in good terms with Arab oppositions, particul arly Muslim groups.For example, Yusuf Al Qaradawi is an influential Islamic leader, resident of Qatar since 1960s is the main guest who taken the Qatari citizenship is Al Jazeera chief religious show. Also, other Arab political dissidents were welcomed and took Qatari citizenship such as Mohammed Hamed Al Hamari from Saudi Arabia who organized Youth Role in dislodge in the Arabic Gulf young activists from across the gulf accompanied the conference (Al Qassemi, 2012). Al Jazeera as foreign Policy tool Part of Brand Qatar project, is to spread ideas and enhance Qatars status.The establishment of Al-Jazeera in 1996 came to serve that goal. Al Jazeera is an important tool of Qatar foreign policy, with its slogan the The Opinion and the other Opinion and the channel shameless criticisms to Arab leaders and programs on democracy and political rights. Al Jazeera soon gained the respect of Arab public compare to other media alternatives that are state sponsored (Khtib, 2013). The channel broadcasted the revolutions across the Arab shape countries except the appraisals in Bahrain .The spread of revolutions were feared by Arab states, yet Qatar seemed to support the revolutions through Al Jazeera. That is said to be reason that inspired the youth in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen to rebel against their governments and demand freedom and dignity. Nevertheless, The channel neutrality was under question, during the Egyptian elections, Al Jazeera hosted members of MB like Khirat Al Shater, and Moahhmed Mosri. Sultan Al Qassimi, a, wrote about Al Jazeeras Arabic love ffaires with MB, he discussed some of his observations, that Muslim trades union supports were given the disaster to express their views on through the channel while critics towards Muslim Brotherhood were barely heard in the channel (Al Qassemi, 2012). Recently, Waddah Khanfar the director general of Al Jazeera was replaced with Shiekh Ahmed bin Jasem Al Thani, who holds degree in petroleum (Al Qassemi, 2012). This suggests that Al Jazeea is go less free to represents Qatars government preferences and its support to Muslim brotherhood.Apparently, Qatar calculations towards the Arab boundary were opposite to its neighbors who supported Mubarak regime. It saw an opportunity to ally itself with revolutions to promote for its image as Pro- Arab public and play regional role in Arab-Arab relations despite the policy risks its taking incase these revolutions were not successful. Through Qatars Money, Al-Jazeera, regional mediations and external pressure, Doha was successful in making the Arab limit an opportunity so that it plays valuable role and take a leadership role in the region. Qatar in the Arab danceQatar natural position had to be changed when it realized that change will topple the former leaders to plosive idiom sound at the head of the game head of Saudi, After Mubaraks fall, Qatar supported Muslim brotherhood in Egypt. Shiekh Hamad Al Thani, the foreign minster of Qat ar state that his country wont allow Egypt to go bankrupt, Doha transferred five billion dollars to Egypt to meet its financial obligations. In addition to the financial support, Al Jazeera members Muslim brotherhoods are regularly interviewed to spread their influence. Middle Ease Scholar, Alain Gresh calls Al Jazeera the oral fissure of Muslim brotherhood (Khatib, 2013).Furthermore, Rashid Al Ghanushi of Al Nahdha party of Tunisia, stated in an interview with Al Arab newspaper that Qatar is a major partner of the Arab spring revolutions hence its also a partner in adjacent period of democratic transition and development since it offers development projects to support the frugality of the Arab spring states (2012). Qatar had to intervene in Libya and Syria to sustain its leading regional position. It was the first country to lead the international action against Gaddafi. Qatar supplied the rebels with total US$2billion. On the other hand, Qatar involved in arming Syrian rebels l ike the Free Syrian Army.Also, it was successful in unifying the Syrian opposition. The importance of Qatar involvement in the latter is to counter Iranian influence by allying with opposition while Assad regime is backed by Iran (Khatib, 2013). In contrast to this, Al Jazeera was silent towards the uprisings in Bahrian. Qatar has been selective in backing uprisings there. The reason fanny that, is Saudi Arabia influence that views the situation as Shia uprising and regional rivalry with Iran, hence any intervention from Qatars side in Bahraini issue would result tensions (Roberts, 2012).In conclusion, Qatar had different view towards the Arab Spring compare to its neighbors. Its objective to play a valuable role in the region, made Doha change its position as neutral state and take foreign policy risks. Although the question of weather Qatar made the right policy decisions or not remains unanswered yet. However, Doha succeeded in playing regional role a head of regional power li ke Saudi and influenced the Arab countries to take collective action towards Libya and Syria.In addition, Qatar foreign policy faces challenges among these challenges is the reliance on money donations to support Post Arab Spring countries that would hinder progress in Qatari diplomacy. On the other hand, the lack of democracy and rule of law domestically puts Qatar legitimacy to promote for democracy under question. Moreover, making policy changes internally such as take on of political and civil rights to citizens hold parliamentary elections and protection freedom of speech will give Qatar legitimacy and enhance its image in international community.