How Asian and European countries helped Qatar maintain sovereignty
By Kristian Coates Ulrichsen and Theodore Karasik
When the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ)—Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—severed official diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, the blockading countries sought to pressure Qatar into capitulating to the ATQ’s demands. From the Saudi/UAE-led bloc’s vantage point, various dimensions of Doha’s foreign policy had undermined regional stability since the mid-1990s, when Emir Hamad had consolidated power following a bloodless palace coup.
Several of Qatar’s fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, plus Egypt, opposed the coup and unsuccessfully sought to reverse it via a counter-coup the following year. Thus, the purpose of the blockade was to achieve what three of the four ATQ members had sought from the 2014 GCC spat to bring Doha into the Arabian fold as a more ‘traditional GCC state’ within Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s spheres of geopolitical influence.
Nonetheless, ten months into the GCC crisis, efforts to change Qatari foreign policy have proven futile. Qatar’s relations with an array of countries in the Middle East and beyond have evidently enabled the Arabian Gulf emirate to weather the blockade without making concessions to the ATQ.
Unquestionably, Qatar’s relationship with a host of actors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—chiefly Iran and Turkey, but also Algeria, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Sudan, and Tunisia—have enabled Doha to circumvent the negative impact of the blockade and emerge resilient.
Yet Qatar’s allies, partners, and friends beyond the MENA region have also played pivotal roles in the story of how Doha has managed to adapt to new realities in the Arabian Gulf without making humiliating concessions to its larger neighbors in the ATQ. This article will examine how Qatar’s deep ties with European and Asian countries have shaped the GCC crisis by undermining the Saudi/UAE-led bloc’s efforts to isolate Doha both regionally and globally.
Diversification of economic and security relations
Before becoming a wealthy petro-state during the mid-1990s, Qatar, like the other smaller GCC states, had conducted a foreign policy under Saudi Arabia’s thumb. Beginning with the formation of the GCC in 1981 to the replacement of Emir Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani in 1995, Doha aligned with Riyadh on virtually all major regional issues.
As conservative Wahhabi countries, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were united in opposition to the expansion of Communism, Marxism, and Soviet influence in the Middle East. Both Doha and Riyadh backed Baghdad in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) and both GCC states deployed forces to fight within the US-led military campaign to eject Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait during the first Gulf War in 1991.
Yet, like the UAE, Qatar’s economic ascendancy in the 1990s enabled Doha to seek greater geopolitical autonomy from Riyadh and to assert a more independent foreign policy in the Arab world. At this juncture, the tensions between Qatar and some of its fellow Arabian monarchies began to take form, ultimately shaping Doha’s relationship with other GCC capitals in ways that would later lead to the ongoing Gulf dispute.
Put simply, Qatar’s prosperity and its small geography and population, coupled with Doha’s partnership with the world’s sole hegemon of the immediate post-Cold War era—the United States—empowered the Arabian Gulf emirate to foster ties with anti-status quo forces in the region without fears of internal blowback.
Such regional actors included a host of Islamists—chiefly Muslim Brotherhood figures including Yusuf bin al-Qaradawi—who made Doha their new home after fleeing anti-Islamist crackdowns in other Arab states such as Egypt, Libya, and Mauritania.
The ATQ countries saw Qatar’s support for various Islamist factions in the MENA region as a grave threat to their interests, especially in the GCC, where monarchs perceived the Muslim Brotherhood as a major challenge to their legitimacy.
As early as the late 1990s, Qatar’s friendly relationship with Sudan, governed by a pro-Muslim Brotherhood regime, created substantial friction in Cairo-Doha relations, particularly given that Egyptian officials accused Khartoum of plotting the assassination of Hosni Mubarak in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in 1995 and sponsoring Islamist groups in Egypt.
Yet such tensions between the ATQ countries on one side, and Qatar on the other, mostly stayed below the surface until the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. Qatar angered most of its Arabian neighbors to a significant degree by siding with revolutionary actors seeking to topple GCC-backed regimes in the MENA region. The Bahraini, Emirati, and Saudi leadership understood the real potential for Arab Spring activism to inspire revolts in the Gulf which did occur in Bahrain and, to lesser extents, in all other GCC states (save Qatar and the UAE).
Growing concerns about the ‘Qatari threat’ manifested in the GCC row of 2014, during which the ATQ’s Arabian Gulf members withdrew their ambassadors to Doha from March to November of that year. The diplomatic spat was aimed at pressuring Qatar into changing its foreign policy to comply with the 13 demands later issued by the Saudi/UAE-led bloc in 2017.
Although Saudi Arabia did not close its border with Qatar in 2014, officials in Riyadh threatened to do so, prompting Doha to plan for a scenario whereby the ATQ countries would punish Qatar for its independent foreign policy.
Fears of future Saudi/Emirati encroachment on Qatar’s sovereignty were unsettling, given the extent to which Doha relied on the Qatari-Saudi border for trade, chiefly of food imports, as Qatar produces nearly none of its own food.
Suspicions of Qatar’s larger GCC neighbors acting against Doha, as did occur in 2017, led the Qatari leadership to make greater investments in the diversification of its economic and security relations between November 2014 and June 2017. During this period Qatar established a joint Turkish-Qatari military base in the emirate.
The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) sovereign wealth fund made major investments around the world, from North America and Europe to Russia and East Asia all within the context of Doha’s efforts to provide more internationally influential states with higher stakes in Qatar remaining an independent and sovereign country. In mid-2016, one of the authors of this article spoke to a renowned journalist in Doha, who explained that this diversification of alliances was intended to prevent Qatar from being ‘another Crimea’.
In other words, Qatar wanted to avoid a scenario whereby the Saudis would forcefully annex the emirate and the world would react by tacitly accepting Riyadh’s claims to the right to govern Qatari territory based on historical, linguistic, ethnic, or security factors. The aim was to ensure that under such circumstances the main members of the international community would come to Doha’s defense based on their interests in maintaining relations with an independent Qatar.
Oil- and gas-thirsty countries in Asia with vibrant, fast-growing, and dynamic economies place much value on their relations with Qatar, the world’s top producer and exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In addition to the economic importance that major Asian countries have placed on Qatar, governments in China, Japan, South Korea, and elsewhere in Asia have never perceived the threat that Doha allegedly poses.
Within this context, the ATQ countries found no sympathy for their anti-Qatar campaign in Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, and virtually all other Asian capitals. On the contrary, these Asian actors see the GCC crisis as a threat to their own interests, for numerous reasons, and have joined the international community in backing the Kuwaiti emir’s efforts to mediate a settlement to the Gulf dispute.
Sino-Qatari relations have significantly factored into Doha’s ability to maintain a strong posture vis-à-vis the ATQ. On Qatar National Day, the Qatari military paraded a newly-obtained Chinese SY-400 short-range ballistic missile system with a range of approximately 250 miles.
Beijing’s sale of this missile system to Doha underscored the extent to which Qatar successfully gave the Chinese leadership a stake in remaining neutral during the GCC crisis, as opposed to siding with the ATQ. Consequently, possession of this offensive and defensive system has afforded Qatar the possibility to deter its larger neighbors from considering any military action against the blockaded emirate.
Qatar’s turning to China for this ballistic missile system began in 2014, when the ATQ’s Arabian Gulf members withdrew their ambassadors to Doha and when Beijing took part in the 2014 Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition. The Chinese leadership was especially incentivized to make this sale because Qatar is the Communist giant’s second top provider of LNG.
As such, China sought to balance Sino-Qatari trade by taking advantage of Doha’s interest in diversifying its arms sources. By looking to players in the East, Qatar could avoid relying on the Arabian Gulf states’ traditional Western allies which have historically dominated the GCC members’ weapons trade.
Moreover, Beijing and Doha’s budding defense relationship has unfolded within the context of major investments that China has made in Sino-Qatari relations over recent years. Since 2013, the two governments have signed numerous agreements in various domains, including aviation, trade, infrastructure, investment, telecommunications, and currency.
By selling missiles to Doha amid the GCC crisis, Beijing has further consolidated a close relationship between resource-thirsty China and the world’s top producer and exporter of LNG.
Qatar’s role in China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which seeks to establish China as the center of global trade in the 21st century, helps explain the strong support that Beijing, despite its overall neutral position, has provided Qatar during the GCC’s diplomatic row. As a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Doha was an early backer of OBOR.
Although Qatar is not directly on either the “Belt” or the “Road”, Doha has played a valued diplomatic role over the years in various Middle East and African disputes. Given that geopolitical instability in any part of OBOR’s corridor threatens the success of the initiative, Beijing has much incentive to help Qatar promote mediated settlements and regional stability in general.
Japan has been an important Asian country in terms of Qatar’s post-blockade foreign policy. Deep Japanese-Qatari relations, officially established in 1972 and nurtured during the 1990s when Japan was a pivotal player in the development of Qatar’s burgeoning LNG sector have been key in terms of Doha remaining solvent during the blockade.
Lacking indigenous hydrocarbon resources, Japan has been highly dependent on the oil- and gas-rich GCC states, which account for 15 percent of Japan’s LNG trade (second only to Australia), and eight percent of the Asian country’s oil imports. The future of Tokyo-Doha relations will be important to Japan’s economic health, even as the Japanese seek to diversify their sources of hydrocarbon imports beyond the Middle East.
Beyond the energy trade, Qatar has made itself valuable to Japan in other ways. For example, following the 2010 Fukushima disaster, the Qataris formed the Qatar Friendship Fund, which contributed $100 million to projects that helped Japan deal with the aftermath of the tragedy.
At the same time, officials in Doha opened the Qatar Science Campus in Sendai City and Qatar Sports Park in Shirakawa. Both ventures underscored Doha’s ability to leverage financial resources to gain importance within countries worldwide, including those with the largest and most important economies.
Qatar has remained solvent during the blockade by continuing to export LNG to Japan, South Korea, and other Asian markets, foiling an obvious objective on the part of the Saudi/UAE-led bloc. Although Japan is often overlooked in analyses of Qatari foreign policy, the deep relationship between Doha and Tokyo has been an extremely important factor in Qatar’s strategy to remain resilient throughout the crisis.
Qatar’s ability to remain a food-secure nation is in no small part attributable to Doha’s partnership with India, a country set to play a pivotal role in Qatar’s post-blockade foreign policy. As Qatar’s desert climate and lack of fresh water have challenged (but not prevented) the expansion of local agricultural production, Doha has remained dependent on imports to remain food secure.
Prior to the Gulf dispute, Qatar relied on the Abu Samra crossing at the Qatari-Saudi border for approximately 90 percent of its food imports. The ATQ anticipated that the closure of this crossing would result in a food security crisis in Qatar that would prompt officials in Doha to capitulate to the bloc’s demands.
Yet by turning to India, in addition to Middle East countries closer to home (chiefly Turkey, Iran, and Oman), Qatar successfully restructured food import lines quickly enough to avert any such crisis.
Even prior to the Qatar crisis, India assisted the Qataris with efforts to grow their indigenous agricultural production via joint business and investment ventures. Five years ago, Qatar made a USD 500 million investment in Bush Foods Overseas, a New Delhi-based basmati rice producer, and the emirate has turned to India for assistance with increasing the growth of livestock and crops in Qatar.
Throughout the blockade, such investments have paid dividends for Qatar, which has also benefited from India sending food to the emirate via Mundra and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port.
India’s decision to help Doha circumvent the blockade’s negative impact on Qatari food imports fits into the context of Indian-Qatari relations which have been important for both counties. Qatar’s largest expatriate community is Indian, with roughly 700,000 Indian nationals working in the emirate.
The remittances which these mainly low-skilled workers send home is worth roughly USD 3 billion each year. These workers are set to continue playing an important role in Doha’s preparation for the 2022 World Cup, which will mark a watershed moment in Qatar’s ascendancy and prestige on a global level.
Just as Qatar has made itself extremely important to China and Japan from an energy standpoint, this is also the case regarding India, which is the third top destination for Qatar’s exports. As the Indian economy grows, officials in New Delhi understand that joining the ATQ in severing ties with Doha would severely undermine its fundamental interests.
The ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been important to Qatar’s foreign policy, both before and after the GCC’s diplomatic row broke out. In October 2017, the Emir of Qatar visited three ASEAN countries, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, on a trip planned prior to the eruption of the Gulf dispute.
By paying official visits to these three dynamic Southeast Asian countries, Emir Tamim signaled Doha’s growing interest in cementing Qatar’s ties with the ASEAN bloc. Ultimately, this strategy has served to undermine the ATQ’s potential to isolate Doha globally. Despite the fact that the majority of Qatar-Asian trade is between Doha and Japan, China, India, and South Korea, Qatar’s economic relations with Southeast Asia have contributed to Doha’s ability to weather the storm these past ten months.
Singapore, the ASEAN member which trades most with Doha, received 5.3 percent of Qatari exports in 2016. During Emir Tamim’s three-country ASEAN tour last year, his first stop in Singapore built on the visits that his father had paid to the island nation in 2005 and 2009.
The Qatari emir’s visits resulted in Doha and Singapore signing seven bilateral agreements in a host of domains from investment to business and training. By stopping in Singapore, Emir Tamim solidified relations with Singapore’s president, Halimah Yacob. She outlined her vision for growing Singapore’s ties with Doha, emphasizing that bilateral ties have potential to achieve the “next level” of cooperation.
When the Qatari emir visited Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, he and Prime Minister Najib Razak signed four bilateral memoranda of understanding in sectors that ranged from judicial cooperation to diplomacy and education. The Malaysian prime minister hailed Doha’s commitment to countering violent extremism in the Islamic world, underscoring the extent to which the ATQ had failed to convince Kuala Lumpur to view the alleged Qatari threat through a Saudi/Emirati lens.
In fact, after Emir Tamim left Kuala Lumpur, Qatar’s state-owned airline—Qatar Airways—announced that it would begin direct flights in 2018 between Doha and Penang, the airline’s second destination in Malaysia.
The Qatari emir also visited Indonesia, an important country in terms of Doha’s quest to further diversify its relations with large economic players in Asia and ones that play an important role in the grander Sunni Muslim world. While in the most populated Muslim country, Emir Tamim met with President Joko Widodo and the two leaders discussed ways to grow bilateral ties across various domains, including energy, tourism, infrastructure, and investment.
One day after the GCC crisis erupted, US President Donald Trump sent out tweets that seemed to suggest his White House would support the ATQ’s blockade of Qatar. The Pentagon and the State Department had fundamentally different reactions, highlighting how different branches of the US government were not at all on the same page, at least during the crisis’ earliest stage. Consequently, Doha saw a need to further diversify its deep relations with Western powers beyond the US by investing in closer ties with influential European states.
The significant roles that European countries have played in the Qatar crisis, which they did not play in the GCC spat of 2014, underscores both the extent to which American influence in the Middle East has continued to wane, and also how actors such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have sought to fill this void.
In contrast to the American president’s confusing and contradictory tweets about the ATQ’s blockade of Qatar, leaders on the European continent have been clear in their opposition to the Saudi/UAE-led bloc’s actions against Doha. European opposition to the blockade has helped Doha avoid international isolation.
Germany is a case in point. From Berlin’s perspective, the Qatar crisis constitutes a major threat to German interests. Berlin’s stake in international and regional efforts to defeat the forces of violent extremism in the Middle East will be undermined by continued division within the GCC; thus, helping Qatar and the ATQ overcome this crisis is a high-ranking priority for German foreign policy decision makers.
Nearly one month after the GCC’s diplomatic row broke out, Berlin’s chief diplomat, Sigmar Gabriel, visited Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, to help the parties move toward a settlement. In a joint press conference in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Gabriel stated that the sovereignty of Qatar must be respected, and he hailed Doha for showing “restraint” in its response to the ATQ’s blockade.
By endorsing Qatar’s narrative that the blockade constituted a violation of a UN member’s sovereign rights, Gabriel’s words were a sign that Germany would not accept the ATQ’s anti-Qatar agenda.
Beyond Berlin’s interests in the GCC remaining a cohesive and functional sub-regional institution for security purposes, Germany’s sympathy for Qatar also stems from economic variables. QIA has been a major investor in the German economy. Since 1999, when Emir Tamim’s father and predecessor visited Germany, Berlin-Doha economic relations have grown significantly.
In 1999, the two countries enacted a bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, as well as an Air Transport Agreement. In 2002, the Germans established a business council in the emirate five years before the formation of a German-Qatari joint economic commission, which met five times between 2007 and 2016.
QIA has been an active SWF in Germany for years, investing in major German entities such as Volkswagen, Hochtief, Siemens, and Deutsche Bank. In much the same way that QIA helped the American economy recover from the 2008/2009 economic crash, the Qatari SWF did so in Germany, thereby improving Doha’s reputation in mainland Europe’s economic heavyweight.
When Qatar’s then-Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, attended the 2013 Business and Investment in Qatar Forum in the German capital, which Chancellor Merkel also attended, QIA announced plans to step up investments in the country. With 64 German firms active in Qatar, and with bilateral trade having reached $2.87 billion in 2015, Doha has made itself an important business and investment partner of Germany, a factor which has largely explained Berlin’s decision to support Qatar amid the blockade.
Not lost in the equation is Germany’s interest in decreasing its dependence on Russian gas, which offers Qatar an opportunity to play a more prominent role in Germany’s energy landscape. The same is true for Poland, whose state-owned oil and gas company PGNiG signed an initial long-term contract with Qatargas in 2009 for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
In March 2017, three months before the start of the Qatar crisis in the GCC but with European leaders already seeking to reduce their reliance on Russia as a gas supplier, Qatargas and PGNiG agreed to double the volume of LNG provided by Qatar to Poland. Qatar currently exports about one-third of its LNG to Europe, with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, and France also receiving significant volumes.
LNG forms one of numerous pillars of Qatar’s long and historically-rooted relationship with the United Kingdom. In 2012, Lord Howell, a former Secretary of State for Energy in Margaret Thatcher’s government during the 1980s and an advisor on energy policy to then-Foreign Secretary William Hague, alluded to the importance of Qatari gas supplies to UK energy security.
He was recorded as candidly remarking that if Qatar “was to go into chaos we would be up shit creek, we really would.” Howell’s somewhat undiplomatic comments reflect the fact that Qatar not only provides Britain with almost all its LNG cargoes, but also that Qatar Petroleum is the majority shareholder (67.5 percent) in the South Hook Gas Company.
South Hook operates the LNG terminal at Milford Haven in Wales that receives the shipments. His remarks illustrate also the reality that the UK – along with numerous other countries in Europe and Asia – has become an energy security stakeholder in Qatar’s continuing stability, resultant from its strategic buildup of global natural gas partnerships.
The utility of making Qatar vital to a multitude of international partners was in part a lesson learned from the multinational coalition that mobilized so rapidly in 1990 to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.
The relationship between Qatar and the UK is rooted in history. In 1916 the two countries signed an agreement that saw Qatar become a British-protected state until 1971. Generations of Qataris have studied at public schools and universities in the UK and successive emirs of Qatar have been graduates of Britain’s prestigious Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
The UK is the largest destination for Qatari capital. More than £35 billion has been invested in sectors from infrastructure and real estate to IT and energy ventures. An investment vehicle (Canary Wharf Group Investment Holdings) co-owned by Qatar Holding (a subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority) and Brookfield Property Partners, a North American investment group, is the largest single property-holder in London, with iconic buildings and brands under full or partial Qatari ownership.
These include the London Olympic Village, The Shard, Chelsea Barracks, large parts of the Canary Wharf financial district, and Harrods department store in Knightsbridge.
In 2014, Qatar’s seal of approval from the British establishment came when the Qatar Investments & Projects Development Holding Company – an investment vehicle set up by former Prime Minister Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani and his sons – became Royal Ascot’s first corporate sponsor in its 300-year history. Elsewhere in Britain, Qatar Airways is the biggest stakeholder in the International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways.
The close links between the two carriers were manifested in July 2017, just weeks into the diplomatic crisis, when Qatar Airways made eight A320 aircraft available on wet lease to British Airways to enable the UK carrier to offset a strike by cabin crew. Qatar’s importance to aviation in Britain was underlined in 2012 when Qatar Holding acquired a 20 percent stake in BAA, the operator of Heathrow Airport in London (now rebranded as Heathrow Airport Holdings).
At least one major Qatari investment in Britain, however, has gone sour. The Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Fraud Office have spent years investigating the circumstances of Qatari (and Emirati) participation in an emergency fundraising scheme launched by Barclays Bank during the global financial crisis in 2008.
Bilateral ties between Qatar and France blossomed during the presidency of Nicholas Sarkozy but waned somewhat under his successor, François Hollande, who tilted French policy in the Gulf closer toward Saudi Arabia (although Emir Tamim did make France his first visit to an EU state after taking power).
Qatar’s most visible stake in France by far is Qatar Sports Investments’s ownership of the Paris Saint-Germain football club and the acquisition in 2010 by the beIN Media Group (a spinoff of Al Jazeera Sports) of the rights to broadcast French football; beIN was founded by Nasser Al Khelaifi, the chairman of Qatar Sports Investments who serves also as the president of Paris Saint-Germain.
Qatar has invested more than €25 billion in France and, with an estimated 200,000 French speakers in the country, was even admitted to the International Organization of La Francophonie in 2012.
Furthermore, the Qatar Investment Authority partnered with the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations to launch a €300 million ‘Future French Champions’ fund to support small- and medium-enterprises in France. France’s Total has additionally served as a lynchpin of Qatar’s energy industry since 1936 (initially as the Compagnie française des pétroles) and in 2016 Total secured a 30 percent stake in a 25-year concession to operate Qatar’s largest offshore oilfield at Al Shaheen in partnership with Qatar Petroleum.
In both the French and British cases, a striking feature of Qatar’s post-diplomatic crisis outreach was the decision to purchase additional fighter jets from Dassault in France (producers of the Rafale jet) and BAE Systems in the UK (for Typhoons). Announced within a week of each other in December 2017, the Rafale deal was worth €1.1 billion and was made while France’s new president Emmanuel Macron was visiting Doha, while the Typhoon agreement was valued at £5 billion.
In the British case, the Qatari investment secured the future of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and saw the creation of a new joint squadron between the RAF and the Qatar Air Force. The British and French deals reaffirmed both countries’ willingness to continue to engage with Doha despite the attempt by the ATQ to isolate Qatar diplomatically.
From the Qatari perspective, the agreements reinforced Qatar’s connectedness with key international partners, just as a slate of new routes launched by Qatar Airways did, and as Qatar Petroleum’s planned 30 percent increase in LNG production by the mid-2020s promises to do.
With Britain mired in the throes of geopolitical uncertainty, and France and Germany set to lead the EU into a post-Brexit future, the ‘big three’ of European politics have not slammed the gate shut in Qatar’s face. By signaling their readiness to further expand their trade and investment links with Doha, Britain, France, and Germany have sent a clear message both to Qatar and to its detractors that they would not be swayed by the diplomatic standoff to pick sides either way.
Britain’s inward-turn just as the US also shifted its own gaze to domestic issues means that the two most credible candidates for external mediation in the crisis – the US and the UK – are distracted and unable to leverage their deep partnerships with all parties to the dispute in support of a resolution to the standoff.
The fact that European and Asian states have not shown any willingness to reassess or reduce their ties with Doha clearly illustrates a problem for the ATQ to sell their move against Qatar to a worldwide audience. Particularly in the opening phase of the crisis, when it appeared for a time that US support for Qatar was in question and the ATQ was attempting to mobilize Arab and Islamic support, the Qatari leadership is able to draw upon these international partnerships to offset and preserve Doha’s fierce desire to survive the regional turmoil in its immediate neighborhood.