Facts about Qatar

by on June 11, 2017 at 12:34 am in Books, Current Affairs, History | Permalink

1. Qatar is about the size of Yorkshire or Connecticut.

2. The United States and Qatar have been friendly only since the first Gulf War; before then, the relationship was somewhat hostile or at least problematic.  But Qatar was keen to invite in American troops, and the country took the lead in condemning Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait.

3. The British left only in 1971, so modern Qatar had a relatively short window of time with no foreign/Western troops in the country.

4. Qatar does not charge the U.S. for these bases, and “Qatar has never been able to guarantee its own security by itself.”

5. In the new century, Qatar turned itself into a major provider of hostage negotiator services.  That it is Sunni, yet has friendly relationships with Iran, Lebanon, and the United States has made it a useful go-between, and the Qatari leadership has used this as one of many ways to build up Qatari soft power.

6. “Qatar has no history of animosity towards the Shia movement…”

7. Qatar owns 20 percent of the London Stock Exchange and 20 percent of Heathrow airport.

8. The country’s main revenue is a natural gas field it shares with Iran.

9. “Al Jazeera can be seen as one of Qatar’s most significant means of antagonising Saudi Arabia…”  One can view the much-vaunted “press freedom” of the outlet as part of a more calculated balancing strategy.

10. The government of Qatar came out early for regime change in both Libya and Syria.

11. “Qatar’s history has long been punctuated by challenges emanating from modern-day Saudi Arabia.”

12. “…Qatar’s policy is worryingly dependent on two or three individuals, giving the state little strategic depth or institutional back-up capability.  The personalised nature of politics marginalises the structures in place to inform and support decision-making.  This cycle is exacerbated by Qatar’s youth as a country, which means it has only had a meaningful bureaucracy for a generation, while its educational system has been mediocre at best.”

Those are all from David B. Roberts, Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City-State, an excellent book, just out, recommended reading for you all.

1 Andre June 11, 2017 at 12:37 am

I think this whole conflict is about Al Jazeera, but don’t sleep on the horrible working conditions there as well.

A lot of dead bodies have gone into building those soccer stadiums and that skyline. Not that most in the West care of course.

2 Moo cow June 11, 2017 at 1:19 am

Dead bodoes – You can say that about Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Riyadh as well as about Doha.

3 Andre June 11, 2017 at 2:17 am

Oh for sure, but we’re on Facts about Qatar today, no?

4 Sae Vee June 11, 2017 at 9:06 am

“Not that most in the West care of course”

Nor do most in the East.

5 Viking1 June 11, 2017 at 12:53 am

I heard a claim that press freedom (in Lebanon in the 1970s) was a major contributor to make neighbors wish to support factions in Lebanon, and thus increase the probability of a civil war.

Regarding the dead bodies, Dutch disease does terrible things to ones ability to live a self sufficient life in the absence of free money.

6 prior_test2 June 11, 2017 at 1:16 am

‘One can view the much-vaunted “press freedom” of the outlet as part of a more calculated balancing strategy.’

Anything that undermines Saudi theocracy and opposes the well financed spread of Wahabi/Salafist ideology is part of an effective strategy that is well understood by both those concerned with freedom, and those opposed to it. The Reformation and Enlightenment being how the West threw off the dominating hand of a religious institution that claimed absolute primacy in all human affairs.

7 dan1111 June 11, 2017 at 7:31 am

The enemy of my enemy isn’t always my friend.

8 Razib Khan June 11, 2017 at 2:46 am

can people please mention that qatar is a salafist state?

9 prior_test2 June 11, 2017 at 3:34 am

As is Saudi Arabia, if one prefers not use the term Wahabist.

Not to mention Iran being an Islamic theocracy, though most definitely not Salafist.

10 Cptn Obvos June 11, 2017 at 5:58 am

Iran is not as bad as Saudi Arabia, we are comparing sophisticated western-like people against some tribes from the desert…. Women have more freedom in Iran than in Saudi Arabia.

11 Saint-Frusquin June 11, 2017 at 7:05 am

Isn’t Salafism a form of terrorist ideology ?

12 Borjigid June 11, 2017 at 9:44 am

Most Sunni Muslim terrorists are Salafists, but most Salafists are not terrorists. For instance, the Salafist al-Nour party won a quarter of the vote in Egypt’s election.

13 Cptn Obvos June 11, 2017 at 5:56 am

13. Qatar finances ISIS and other terrorists groups (just like Saudi Arabia), and since they are both our allies, that means that the West clearly approves of ISIS (my money tells me, they are trained by CIA or similar), which should not be a surprise to anyone who studied history of Afganistan in the 80’s….

14 Cptn Obvious June 11, 2017 at 5:58 am

Any hot girls in Altamira?

15 Thiago Ribeiro June 11, 2017 at 8:30 am

Lots of them.

16 dearieme June 11, 2017 at 8:59 am

Tall and tan and young and lovely?

17 Thiago Ribeiro June 11, 2017 at 9:14 am

Yes, and wise and austere and sharp.

18 The Other Jim June 11, 2017 at 9:33 am

Austere. Wow, that’s hot.

19 Thiago Ribeiro June 11, 2017 at 10:15 am

Indeed. As former Brazilian President onde said, “Austerity, austerity, austerity!”

20 Saint-Frusquin June 11, 2017 at 7:03 am

We europeans call this a dominion, when politicians create states unable to defend themselves

21 msgkings June 12, 2017 at 3:11 am

According to wikipedia Qatar’s population is 2.6 million, but only 313,000 of those are Qatari citizens. It’s like a nation the size of Iceland squeezed in there.

22 reads between the lines June 12, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Qatar, like all of the gulf states, is a slave society.

23 Artimus June 13, 2017 at 7:04 am

Out of curiosity have you ever been to the Gulf States?

24 Gary Leff June 11, 2017 at 7:17 am

“Qatar owns 20 percent of the London Stock Exchange and 20 percent of Heathrow airport.”

They also own, via state-owned Qatar Airways, a 20% stake in IAG — parent of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling.

25 Rich G June 11, 2017 at 7:33 am

Qatar’s London Stock Exchange Group ownership 10% since 2014 http://www.lseg.com/investor-relations/shareholder-services2/shareholders (20% holding reduced to 15% between 2007 and 2014). Heathrow Airport Holdings ownership still 20% http://www.heathrow.com/company/company-news-and-information/company-information

26 chuck martel June 11, 2017 at 7:37 am

“The personalised nature of politics marginalises the structures in place to inform and support decision-making.”

That’s a feature, not a bug. The “structures in place” are actually bureaucrats holding positions and protecting their turf. The acceptance as normal of bureaucratic stasis is a problem whose ramifications we’ve been hearing about continually.

27 David R. Henderson June 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

Thanks for that bullet-point information, Tyler. A lot of this is stuff I hadn’t known.

28 Cornflour June 11, 2017 at 11:27 am

Qatar has a very small native population that is severely inbred through cousin marriage. Consequently, a variety of genetic disorders are common, and political corruption is indistinguishable from political activity. Most adults are extraordinarily obese. General intelligence is low. Before the development of the natural gas fields, Qatar was notable only for pearl diving. Doha has more mosques per capita than any other city in the world. Al Jazeera is the Muslim Brotherhood’s propaganda arm. And so on.

29 Artimus June 11, 2017 at 2:42 pm

You could say the same about the local population of the UAE.

30 Chuck June 11, 2017 at 9:47 pm

I wonder if they have problems with Tay–Sachs?

31 Cornflour June 11, 2017 at 10:17 pm

A search of PubMed results in zero publications.
The search: “tay-sachs disease”[MeSH Terms] AND “qatar”[MeSH Terms]

Looks as if Qatar’s successfully exterminated that one. Or maybe its very existence was a myth. Or maybe both. According to rumor, there’s a pocket of cases among Cajun oil workers in Doha.

32 dearieme June 11, 2017 at 11:33 am

“… severely inbred through cousin marriage. Consequently, a variety of genetic disorders are common …” It’s hardly alone in that. Is it more of a problem there than elsewhere in the Middle East, or elsewhere in the Moslem world?

33 Cornflour June 11, 2017 at 11:46 am

dearieme:

Sorry, I don’t know whether Qatari cousin marriage and political corruption are greater than that of other countries in the Middle East. However, the small population size exaggerates the issues, and I think that genetic disorders are measurably greater. For these reasons, Cornell medical college has an extensive research program in Qatar. I’ve lived in Doha, but not elsewhere in the region.

34 dearieme June 11, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Thanks, C. An acquaintance of mine gave up teaching (mainly genetically) handicapped children in London because parents would never heed the advice to stop having more children.

35 Barkley Rosser June 11, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Sorry, Razib Khan and prior2t, but Qatar is not a Salafist state. It is a Wah’habitst one, and Wah’habism is not the same as Salafism despite some overlap between the two.

Wah’habism is the official ideology of Saudi Arabia, dating from 1744 when Muhammed bin Wah’hab converted Muhammed bin Sa’ud to adopting the strict Hanbali shari’a code and the idea that this code should be spread throughout the world. Qatar also has the Hanbali as does Saudi Arabia,which is why it is Wah’habist. When the Taliban took over Afghanistan they replaced the relatively liberal Hanafi code, which had been used by the Ottoman Empire, with the Hanbali, but the nation reverted back after the Taliban were overthrown. They adopted this in the Saudi-financed madrassas where they studied.

Salafism began in Egypt and eastern Libya in the late 19th century and was initially a modernizing ideology that sought to make Islam consistent with the Enlightenment. It gradually changed over time and became more fundamentalist, but unlike Wah’habism it has never advocated for the adoption of any particular one of the four Sunni shari’a law codes. When Nasser came to power he expelled a bunch of Egyptian Salafists who moved to Saudi Arabia where many of them became school teachers, especially high school teachers. This led to a period where Salafism and Wah’habism influenced each other, but they remain distinct, and it is Wah’habism, not Salafism, the Qatar follows.

36 Woah there buddy June 11, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Dr Rosser,

There’s a lot to unpack here. First of all we don’t call people Wahabbi. That’s extremely offensive, akin to calling Catholics Pope worshippers. So, yeah, let’s not.

They prefer the term salafi. Salafi of course refers to salaf, ancestors. I’m not sure which Islam for Dummies book you picked up but you’re all over the map with this post. There are some distinctions between the muwwahid movement and salafism in general, but yeah it’s more of a sect within a broad based movement. Broad based movement being Salafism. It is slightly outside of Orthodox due to legal issues, yes. There are only like 50 million odd salafists. They are the fastest growing religious sect of any religion in the world.

Islam in Afghanistan of course is predominantly Deobandi, or دیو بندی. Groups that are Deobandi would be the Taliban, including the Pakistani Taliban. You are confusing so many different types of Islam in this post it reads like a 12 year old on tumblr ranting about how Catholics are puritans.

There are millions of Deobandi Muslims all over Southern Asia. They are not “wahhabis” although their opponents may call them that as an insult. About 20% of India is Deobandi. Most of the mosques in Britain are Deobandi, as are the overwhelming majority of Imams in Britain. Unsurprisingly, that creates security problems.

Learn to read other languages or stop commenting about Islam.

Thanks

37 Barkley Rosser June 12, 2017 at 1:48 am

Whoah there buddy, I do not know who the fuck you are, but in fact I have spent serious time in KSA, know Arabic, have published on these matters in academic journals, and even know some of the members of the Saudi royal family. So, sorry, but you have just fallen on your stupid face making a fool of yourself.

The distinctions I make between Wahhabis and Salafis are accurate, and I have the history right. Do you dispute that? Do you actually know the history? It looks like you do not.

The Taliban’s move to follow the Wahhabi doctrine of imposing the Hanbali sharia code goes completely against long entrenched Afghan traditions, and most people there were very pleased to dump that extremist garbage when the Taliban were overthrown. That said, obviously the Taliban have managed to establish themselves in many places in Afghanistan and are not that easy to completely eradicate.

Offhand, traditionally the ethnic differences in Afghanistan have been the more serious ones than theological ones, aside from the Sunni-Shia split there.

BTW, who is the “we” who do not call Saudis “Wahhabi”? Yeah, I think that Saudis do not like the term, but it is used by pretty much everybody else, and the Wahhabis are NOT identical to the Salafis, although in KSA itself that may have come to be forgotten by various ignorant fools and half-baked propagandists.

38 Barkley Rosser June 12, 2017 at 1:52 am

If in fact, wtb, you are a Saudi, which it looks like you might be, sorry, but your government is handing out lies upon lies and also definitely filling its own population with garbage propaganda that makes what Putin does in Russia look like kid’s play. I have no respect for this scum, Emir Mohammed bin Salman, who is the main guy behind all this anti-Qatar foofaraw, and who has through Jared Kushner pulled the stupid fool Trump into this nonsense. You need to get real and find out what is really going on in the world outside the fantasy land of al-Mamlaka as-Sa’udiya al-‘Arabiya.

39 Barkley Rosser June 12, 2017 at 2:02 am

Oh, and on your claim that the Taliban are Deobandi, sorry, but they are not. They are Wahhabi, insisting on imposing the Hanbali sharia code, whereas the Deobandi support the Hanafi code, long the established sharia in Afghanistan, and what they returned to after the Taliban were overthrown. You really do not know what you are talking about at all here, WtB. Wow, astounding pomposity compounded by astounding ignorance.

40 Woah there whitesplainer June 12, 2017 at 11:58 pm

Dr Rosser,

Thanks for hilariously white atheist splaining Islam to me. We’ve all had a good laugh at your ignorance and grossly wrong interpretations of Islamic law. You’re white and atheist, when Muslims have discussions about our religion, shut up.

I’m a Pashtun and your absurdly retarded explanations of why the Taliban are not “real” Deobandi is great. You’re either deliberately moronic or more likely you can’t read Pashtu or Urdu. Thanks for white atheist-splaining Deobandi Islam to a Pashtun. You’re not just wrong, you’re an illiterate retard. Winston Churchill is rolling over in his grave about Deobandi Islam valiantly defending their territory. Malakand?

Taliban religious proclamations have been completely affirmed by the Deobandi Islamic organizations. They are Deobandi. You moronic white fat western idiots are splitting hairs and trying to defame Pashtuns with slander. The Taliban is Deobandi and always have been. Stick to your white American nonsense and don’t pretend to understand Islam. White-splaining Islam, that’s a new low for you idiots. We don’t tell you which McDonald’s menu item is the best.

A modern Deobandi Islamic movement can borrow from different Islamic law schools. You don’t get to define us, you fat white idiots.

41 ThoreausVillager June 13, 2017 at 9:16 pm

Way to play to stereotype there hero.

42 Barkley Rosser June 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Oh, one more important fact about Qatar that did not make it to the bullet point list is that the nation has the world’s highest real per capita income. Part of what is going on with this current diplomatic foofaraw is just plain simple jealousy.

43 Woah there buddy June 11, 2017 at 11:50 pm

No, this…what? Have you lived in the Middle East? Do you speak Arabic?

Dr Rosser,

This is a diplomatic… what was your word…ah yes “foofaraw…” because of Qatar’s support and bankrolling of the Muslim Brotherhood. Including its offshoots (Hamas, Mb movements in Egypt (Morsi anyone?), Turkey…). They also own a news service that western white liberals love for some reason, which is called Al-Jazeera. This is the propoganda arm of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood. Yes, the democrat party loves al-jazeera, the same channel defending Hamas in Arabic for throwing gays off buildings.

All you have to do is have different press releases/channels for Arabic and English. Target white rich liberals with the English channel. Have totally different message in Arabic. 🙄

I’m not going to delve into the history of the Muslim Brotherhood movement but suffice to say Qatar has tried to play the MB angle in Egypt, Libya, Israel with Hamas, Syria, etc.

44 Barkley Rosser June 12, 2017 at 1:39 am

I agree that Qatar’s support for the Ikhwan (MB) is a very sore point, especially with Egypt, where they were democratically elected to rule the nation coming out of the Arab Spring before they were overthrown by the current dictatorship. There is a very complicated relationship between them and certain opposition groups in KSA, although they are not the same as the old Ikwhan of KSA that rose up in revolt against the Saudi family in 1929 and again 50 years later. Hamas is an Ikhwan offshoot. As it is, the US government and the Saudis and the Egyptians are lying about the Ikhwan being a terrorist group, alhough bungled running Egypt when they had the chance.

Al Jazeera has a problem of reflecting too strongly positions of the Qatar government, which have indeed ticked off the Saudis and the some others. They have backed competing radical Islamist groups battliing against the Assad government in Syria as well as in Libya. Offhand it is not obvious that those the Saudis are backing are all that superior on any grounds than the ones the Qataris are backing. Trump has made a complete fool of himself falling for the Saudi line that the Qataris are these big backers of Sunni terrorism in contrast with the bloody Saudis themselves. What a joke.

45 reads between the lines June 12, 2017 at 4:16 pm

what’s the per capita income if you factor in the “guest workers”? how does that compare to the ante-Bellum south in America?

46 Barkley Rosser June 12, 2017 at 8:01 pm

rbtl,
The $129,000 to $140,000 PPP per capita income number includes the guest workers.
BTW,it is true that Saudis do not like to be called “Wahhabis,” but they are not all that keen on being called “Salafis” either. Their preferred term for their doctrine is “Muwahuddinism,” with them being thus “Muwahudin.” The usual English translation of that term is “Unitarian.”
Also, Qatar is officially Wahhabist, adopting the Hanbali code, although a more liberal interpretation of it than one finds in Saudi Arabia. It is currently the only nation that is Wahhabist besides KSA that is so, which is obviously pretty ironic given the current developments.

47 AlanG June 11, 2017 at 4:20 pm

One more thing that didn’t make it onto the list is Qatar’s bribing of FIFA to get the 2022 world cup which is crazy for a country of this size. They are building a lot of stadiums that will likely never be used after the world cup and the linkage of indentured labor for the construction of these facilities is well known (google: “qatar fifa slavery” and you will have lots of reading)

48 Chuck June 11, 2017 at 9:50 pm

The South Asians are there of their own accord.

49 carlospln June 12, 2017 at 1:12 am

So, fuck ’em, right Chuck?

50 Artimus June 12, 2017 at 9:39 am

@carlospin southasians are there of there own accord. Yes the Qatari powers due take advantage of them and their are serious issues that need to be addressed but there is no shortage of labour willing to work and remit money home. Similar to the U.S. during its developing period with the Irish, Italians and Chinese. I am not defending the Qataris I am simply saying that its not a clear cut issue.

51 lbc June 12, 2017 at 5:19 am

Qatar does not charge the U.S. for army bases, and Trump insults Qatar.
What part of “the art of the deal” is that !?

52 Borjigid June 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Trump is astonishingly bad at making deals, especially with the ghostwriters for “his” books.

53 The Anti-Gnostic June 13, 2017 at 10:38 am

The part where they have to pay us to be there.

54 Ricky Tylor June 13, 2017 at 1:09 pm

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