The Qatari conundrum: the changing face of West Asia's political landscape
Qatar is creating a large footprint for itself in the West Asian political landscape. The Gulf state was previously known primarily for its oil and gas reserves, and compliance with US interests in the region. However, Qatar has in the recent past made significant efforts to assert regional pre-eminence through an aggressive foreign policy. Emir Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who recently handed over the reins of power to his son, Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, demonstrated exceptional vision in developing Qatar as a progressive Arab nation that is now the academic and cultural hub of the region. In the new dispensation, expectations are high and speculation rife over whether Qatar will continue to exert a pro-active foreign policy.
Exploring how the Gulf state’s relations with its adversarial
neighbours - Saudi Arabia and Iran - have evolved, this paper contextualises Qatar's active participation in the Arab Spring events. It examines the viability of the emerging axis between Qatar, Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia. The alliance is examined through the twin lens of western interests and the changing security dynamics of the West Asian region.