Qatar, is one of the most dynamic and growing nations in the world; a model of economic development determined by the interaction of two factors: the presence on its territory of huge natural resources, especially gas and oil, and forward-looking social and economic policies.
By exploiting its wealth, Qatar has in fact managed to establish itself as a relevant regional actor, despite the small territorial and demographic dimensions. The role that Qatar has assumed in the Middle East region presents numerous peculiarities, implementing a policy aimed at assuming, more and more, a central and intermediary role among countries. The guidelines for this policy are multi-directional: despite being an Arab country with a Sunni majority, Qatar has diplomatic relations with Iran, based above all on economic and financial interests. At the same time – and despite the freezing of relations following operation conducted in the Gaza Strip – Qatar is the only Gulf country to have granted some openings to the State of Israel, hosting a commercial delegation on its territory. In 2008, Doha also hosted the most important summit for the resolution of the internal political crisis in Lebanon and subsequently mediated in the internal confrontation in Yemen between the Shiite factions and the central government of Sana’a. On the other hand, Qatari diplomacy has also reached the African continent, where Doha has been the guarantor of the talks for the definition of the borders between Eritrea and Djibouti. Diplomatic dynamism has therefore brought Qatar to the center of what appears to be a new Middle Eastern political-diplomatic axis – together with Turkey and, in part, Syria – which has gradually acquired part of the influence traditionally exercised by regional actors such as the Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
In the face of regional activism, Qatar is internally structured as an absolute monarchy, in which power is essentially concentrated in the hands of the ruling family, the Al Thani. The current Emir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has been in power since 1995. The Emir performs the functions of head of state while the Prime Minister is another member of the ruling family, Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al Thani. Both were fundamental in the rise of Qatar on the international stage.
By. Domenico Greco