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.