In the wake of the Arab uprisings, Qatar is using its vast wealth and media empire to become a regional superpower. Its historic ties with the Muslim Brotherhood will determine the success of Doha’s strategy.
It is not unusual for a country like Saudi Arabia to try to play a leading role in the region’s politics, but for a tiny nation like Qatar – with a native population of no more than 200,000 people – it is remarkable.
Due mainly to its vast oil and gas wealth, the small Gulf peninsula is able to stand among the region’s central powers. Qatar has been successful in leveraging its economic fortune and al-Jazeera media empire to bolster its reputation as a regional superpower. (...)
After its media support of the revolutionaries, Doha is getting cozy with Egypt and Tunisia’s new Islamist rulers. In Libya, Qatar was at the forefront of Arab military and financial support for the NATO and Libyan rebel forces that unseated Muammar Gaddafi. In Syria, the emir is risking everything to bring down the Bashar al-Assad regime.
At the center of Qatar’s strategy is its historic ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, who have become the main beneficiaries of the Arab uprisings. Betting on the Brotherhood, however, has its risks – particularly among the other Gulf states, who view them as a greater threat than Iran.
Layla al-Shoumari / Al-Akhbar