Qatar’s global mediation and local legal quandaries: The impact of US lobbying

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Qatar's global mediation and local legal quandaries: The impact of US lobbying

Since the 1990s, Qatar’s foreign and domestic policies have followed three main paths: the emirate has increased its gas production and supplied liquefied gas to as many nations as possible; it has provided bases to guarantee US military protection; and it has engaged in a “soft power” campaign through media and sports-related investments. Qatar changed its regional policies and went on the offensive during the Arab Spring. Its goal at the time was to change the Arab world’s regional order, nothing less. Though Doha has lowered its expectations since Emir Tamim assumed office in 2013, it still desires to be acknowledged as a major regional force.

Mediating global conflicts amidst US lobbying

Qatar attempts to play the role of a mediator in order to defuse tensions in the area. It has cordial ties with terrorist organizations like the Taliban and Hamas as well as with Iran and its regional allies. Its backing for the Muslim Brotherhood and other factors like these frequently lead to disputes with Saudi Arabia and other neighbors. Consequently, Qatar has recognized Turkey as its new bulwark. With a long-standing interest in the European market, Qatar is a desirable partner for Germany and Europe. It has the potential to grow into a significant gas provider and offers greater delivery flexibility than many of its rivals. German policy made a grave error by ignoring Qatari gas for a long time. Increasing the number of long-term orders might correct this error.

Qatar’s mediation efforts versus US lobbying interests

Qatar was a tiny, little-known Persian Gulf state that hardly ever made an international presence until the mid-1990s. The nation was essentially a protectorate of Saudi Arabia, since it mostly adopted its large neighbor’s foreign policies. The oil reserves were gradually depleting, as the output reached its maximum in the late 1970s. Despite its tiny size, Qatar has emerged as a major player in the area just 25 years later. A blockade that was enforced by its neighbors, headed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), covered land, sea, and airspace and lasted for approximately three and a half years, from 2017 to 2021. Qatar’s independent and contentious foreign policy was the cause of this. Qatar’s increasingly solid position was reinforced by the fact that the embargo was lifted without requiring it to make any public concessions.

Qatar’s mediation efforts under scrutiny

Natural gas production enabled this swift development: Qatar possesses the world’s third-largest gas reserves, behind only Russia and Iran, and since the mid-1990s, it has significantly increased production and exports. The nation has amassed enormous riches and is even able to pay to host important international events, like the 2022 World Cup. In addition to increasing in prominence, visibility, and influence, the little gas powerhouse is becoming the focus of contentious discussions on its foreign policy. Opponents of Qatar both within and outside the region charge it with adopting a revisionist foreign policy. This involves developing strong ties with the Arab Gulf nations’ (state) adversaries, particularly Iran, in order to support the latter’s ambition to alter the Middle East’s regional structure. Furthermore, Qatar backs Islamists and Islamist terrorists, according to the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in particular. 

Qatar’s mediation successes and lobbying challenges

Conversely, Qatar and its allies contend that Doha seeks to mediate between itself and its adversaries in order to ease regional tensions and find diplomatic solutions. They cite Doha’s close ties to Iran, Syria (up until 2011), and extremist organizations like the Taliban, Hezbollah, and Hamas. This viewpoint maintains that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a terrorist group. On the other hand, Doha is said by Qatar and its supporters to be trying to arbitrate disputes between itself and its enemies in an effort to reduce regional tensions and find diplomatic solutions. They point to Doha’s tight links to extremist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Taliban as well as Iran and, until 2011, Syria. According to this argument, the Muslim Brotherhood is not a terrorist organization.

Qatar’s mediation vs. US lobbying

Between 2011 and 2013, Qatar’s foreign strategy underwent a dramatic shift as the emirate went on the attack during the Arab Spring, forming an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and striving for nothing less than an overhaul of the Arab world’s regional hierarchy. Although Doha has now lowered its aspirations, it still wants to be recognized as a regional force and have influence in the Middle East.

Research Staff

Research Staff

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