The new Shura Council is neither a democratic wand changing Qatar’s political culture nor a pointless exercise. Instead, it is a small evolutionary step in the state’s governance in a more democratic direction.
David B. Roberts
Non-Resident Fellow, AGSIW; Associate Professor, King’s College London
David B. Roberts is a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and an associate professor in the School of Security Studies at King’s College London. Previously, he was the director of the Qatar office of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI Qatar). His primary research interest focuses on the security and international relations of the Gulf Arab monarchies. Roberts is the author of Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City-State. He obtained his PhD from Durham University.
Why has Qatar so doggedly pursued policies that so often have such adverse repercussions on its relations with its closest neighbors?
Qatar’s mediation efforts and activist foreign policy set up a Manichean split between opposing world views.
Qatar’s recent Cabinet reshuffle and announcement it will withdraw from OPEC are decisions that are not likely to herald a strategic shift in the country’s direction, but they do demonstrate that Doha is, once again, pursuing its own regional interests.
With Turkey’s economic woes, Qatar has leapt to its aid, but sitting uncomfortably between two critical allies, Ankara and Washington, Doha must tread carefully.
Once upon a time, Qatar was the small Gulf monarchy exerting influence around the Middle East and North Africa.
Challenges have now emerged from Qatar’s three closest neighbors that are testing its two-pronged security modus operandi.
In recent decades, surging demand and relatively limited supply has created a climate for Qatar to exploit its huge gas resources and consequent economies of scale to bestride the market.