Saturday, October 7, 2017

Qatar’s pragmatic Syria gamble

Andrew Bowen, Andreas Krieg,

Flag of Qatar image from

The 2017 Gulf Crisis between Qatar and its GCC neighbors has developed into a clash of narratives that concerns not only the various regional interests in the Middle East, but also vital U.S. national interests. The Quartet (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) has justified its embargo against Qatar due to its alleged political, ideological and financial support to non-state terror groups across the Middle East, especially during the Arab Spring.

The UAE in particular has invested in a public-diplomacy campaign in Washington to persuade key policy circles that the small gas-rich emirate of Qatar has been one of the main sponsors of terrorism in the region. The Trump administration’s response has been ambiguous. While the White House initially embraced the joint effort of the Quartet to “correct” Qatar’s alleged Islamist foreign policy, the State Department and the Department of Defense were more cautious.

A more nuanced understanding of Qatar’s foreign and security policy during the Arab Spring is needed in order to assess how Doha has advanced its interests and values since the late 1990s. ...

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