Zuhair al-Mokh's A Study on the Foreign Policy of Qatar (295 pp.) has recently been published by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. This book attempts to grasp the nature of Qatar's foreign policy, which for many years has been generally hard to define or explain. The book ventures into the many raised questions of how this geographically small and newly independent country managed to conduct an active foreign policy. How did it establish itself as a key regional and international player and a leading peacemaking mediator in regional conflicts? And why did its foreign policy become a hot topic for research?
Al-Mokh presents the historical and geographical settings of Qatar. While Britain has had a primary role in transforming Qatar's oil and gas industry, al-Mokh believes that the ruling family, Al Thani, has been the true molder and shaper of Qatar's contemporary independent and proactive identity. He discusses the importance of the military power as a defence of its statehood; and the challenges of developing Qatar's military strength due to its limited geographical size and population.
Additionally, al-Mokh argues that Qatar's global investment strategy is substantially to build and grow its political and diplomatic influence - i.e. Qatar's growing foreign investments through the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and its external funding programs reflect its search for an international recognition. The author then addresses the regional and neighboring realities threatening Qatar's sovereignty; repercussions of Saudi Arabia and Iran's prevailing ideological and political power in the region; and Qatar's delicate position with respect to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Finally, al-Mokh argues that Qatar has proven itself to be a competent mediator in reducing and resolving regional tensions; becoming "a crossroad that any Arab conflict must pass through".
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