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Qatar: Conflict Mediation and Regional Objectives

  • Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies


Qatar has, over the past several decades, been transformed from a little-known oil producer in the Gulf to become a major power in the Arab region, with a global role far exceeding expectations for a state of its size. This move from the periphery to the center of global affairs has been spurred by Qatar’s vast wealth derived from gas exports and its staunchly independent foreign policy. Qatar’s role in conflict mediation – which it has pursued since the late 1990s – is one of the most high profile manifestations of this independent stance. Qatar has also emerged as a significant actor in post-conflict reconstruction assistance, in particular in the Middle East. This chapter explores the changing relationship between Qatari mediation and reconstruction efforts in order to contribute towards a better understanding of Qatar as an ‘emerging power’ in conflict response.
... In the latter, it funneled $3 billion between 2011 and 2014 to opposition forces. It also provided financial support to Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi during his tenure in office (Barakat and Milton, 2019). ...
Over the past couple of decades, “new” state actors, such as Brazil, China, Russia, India, Turkey, and countries of the Arab Gulf, have been playing an increasingly prominent role in assistance provision to conflict-affected states. Skeptical of the liberal peace-building model, they have emphasized supporting economic development and avoided promoting political reforms, viewing them as too interventionist in domestic affairs of conflict-affected states. Rather, they have emphasized solidarity, cooperation, mutual support, and respect for state sovereignty; and they are committed to non-intervention norms. However, the foreign policies of “new” state actors have been far from static. This article argues that these norms mask more complex relationships between “new” state actors and conflict-affected states. Historically, the “new” actors have tended to adhere less to non-intervention norms in their immediate neighborhood. Now, as they become more deeply engaged with countries emerging out of violent conflict, have come to aspire playing more prominent global roles, and the competition among them has risen, their adherence to principles of non-interference is under strain and policies regarding issues of peace and security are shifting.
Mediation from soft diplomacy to foreign policy In this chapter we will explore how Qatar gained its current title as a “trusted partner” through mediation. Running in the 2nd decade of its enriched journey, where it was started from north of Yemen mountains passing by Lebanon, Sudan, Djibouti, Palestine until the most recent mediation between Taliban and Afghani government. There are many examples for Qatar mediation roles, it happened where Qatar mediated between countries and other actors, in partnership with other allies and global, continental, regional, and sub regional organizations. As it’s a principle in Qatar foreign policy to comply diplomatic efforts with UN principles and international law. On the other hand, tools and potentials that made Qatar recognition as a successful mediator are a complexity of various things such, widely strong political connections, huge financial resources, reliability and impartiality. Involving in mediation for Qatar wasn’t easy task, as its always stuffed with unpredicted challenges coming from several geopolitical factors along with other variations. We will demonstrate some of these challenges and how it affects the whole processes and initiatives. Also, Impartiality principle sometimes leads to dilemmas where it requires tremendous efforts and resources to solve issues and bring parties back to negotiations, this includes but not limited to, shuttling diplomacy, huge financial resources, multilateral diplomacy and sometimes coaching and trainings for some parties to narrow the differences and pave the way for middle ground. Mediation in Qatar case made fruit of soft diplomacy and created a high profile for the small gulf country, however this has created some negative competition from some neighbors who is ready to destroy any achievement no matter what is the lost just to undermine the efforts been made. And this been the case; honesty, transparency and dignity always played a key role to contain tensions. Spoilers repeatedly showing up regardless their goals, mostly its conflict of interests is the driver behind those, but sometimes it’s just change resistance and fear of future specially with elites lived long time in conflict. The theoretical model of Qatar mediation strategy, is yet to be identified by scholars and all what has been written “personally” is descriptive reports with some analysis built on relative articles and publications. n conclusion although that many has described Qatar mediation as branding the name of the country to be present on the intl. system map and others said the cause is being granted this role by super powers to implement policies in the region, there are deeper facts than what been stated. The strategic depth of Qatar is quite limited toward gulf both edges which has KSA on one side and Iran on the other. This critical geopolitical position dictates a special foreign policy which secure the tiny state from two big neighbors and other possible threats. Which make mediation part of protective measures that strengthen Qatar international ties and likely help preventing any possible threat like what happened 5th of June (A report appeared in the Foreign Policy Magazine has again exposed designs of Saudi Arabia to invade Qatar one day after imposition of June 5, 2017 blockade against Qatar by the quartet).
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