Qatar and the Arab Uprising
The Arab uprising affected many Arabian countries. There was clamor for democracy because dictators ruled most of these countries (Lynch, 2013). People had grown tired of this even though most of these countries have better living conditions than most African countries. Qatar is one of these countries with vast resources but under a tyranny. Qatar took a leading role in aiding countries that were experiencing uprisings. In Libya, it took sides with the opposition and condemned the way the government tried to quell the uprising. It also sent its war jets and proposed the creation of a no flying zone in Libya. This was seen as a positive step towards providing support for establishment of democracy (Lynch, 2013). This raised the ratings of the country as one fighting for human rights and establishment of democracy in Arab countries. The country also promised to help the opposition establish a government and also market its oil in foreign markets. This is part of the country’s growing foreign policy that has steadily gained prominence in the region over the past decade.
Qatar was also involved in Bahrain. Unlike in Libya the country offered protection to the ruling family. This was the stance taken by the Arab block. This seemed to support the acts of the tyrannical family that rules Bahrain. This was done because they felt it was one of restoring peace in the country. The country has been vocal in addressing human right issues in other Arab countries. This has coincided with the country winning the bid to host the world cup in year 2022 (Lynch, 2013). Prior to the bidding, the country had done a lot to improve its international image because it is a requisite requirement for any country to host an international sporting event. This was done through mediating in a number of conflicts facing different countries in the region. This implies that prior to the Arab uprising the country had mediated in a number of conflicts and had in the process gained respect in the region. The country was also aware of the need to solve conflicts amicably to avoid creating enemies. This was to come in handy because if it took sides and then lost this could have jeopardized its relationship with its neighbors. It also learnt how to marshal its neighbors to pool their resources together and help out its neighbors. These are skills that it used during the uprising to help out countries that went through the crisis. This way, its response to the Arab uprising was to be at the forefront offering peace.
Qatar was able to navigate the uprising unscathed because its citizens never rose against the government. This is because the country has immense wealth and a very small population of less than two million people. It has managed to share its resources with its people alleviating poverty and raising their living conditions. A couple of years ago, people were craving for democracy but that has changed as their living conditions improve. They now prioritize security and good living conditions with few people still calling for democracy (Ghannam, 2011). This stable state was crucial to Qatar as it acted as the peacekeeper during the uprising. People have also acted in a peaceful way because they feel proud to have won the rights to host the world cup. They are not willing to engage in riots that will tarnish their reputation, which may cause withdrawal of the world cup. Qatar was able to intervene during the uprising because it had managed to maintain peace in its own country.
Ghannam, J. (2011). Social Media in the Arab World: Leading up to the Uprisings of 2011. Center for International Media Assistance, 3.
Lynch, M. (2013). The Arab uprising: The unfinished revolutions of the new Middle East. Public Affairs.