by Sultan Barakat
Qatar’s recent emergence in the international arena means that its peacemaking efforts remain relatively under-analysed in comparison to other leading players. This paper aims to address this gap by firstly offering an overview of Qatar’s recent rise to global prominence, charting its progress from a small conservative British protectorate with a pearl-based economy to a progressive Arab leader powered by immense wealth in liquid natural gas.
Over recent years, the tiny Gulf state of Qatar has undergone a significant transformation in terms of its domestic and foreign policy. Once a low-profile, conservative emirate with little impact on the global arena, the past two decades have seen the country skyrocket to become a progressive key player in the Arab world, and in the wider international community. Qatar’s rise has been propelled by a winning combination of its policy makers’ wealth, will and vision, and is underpinned by three key strategies: economic and political liberalization, the pursuit of an independent foreign policy, and a ‘state branding’ project. These strategies have seen the state attempt to redesign itself as a wealthy, neutral and forward-looking actor committed to educating the Arab world, attracting foreign investment and tourism, bridging the gap between the Middle East and the West, and peacemaking.