Hannifah: Hello Titus, have you ever been to Qatar?
Titus: Yes I have been to that beautiful country twice although I did not get enough time to tour many places due to work commitments and the heat conditions of the place. Generally, I liked the beautiful scenery of the country and the vast culture of the people. The ladies are hard to get though.
Hannifah: Actually apart from the beautiful sceneries and the hard to get ladies, Qatar is the Headquarters of Aljazeera news network (Fromherz, 2012, p.15). Qatar is also known for the popular Qatar Airlines that flies to many destinations in the world (Willis, 2004, p.23).
Titus: In as much as it has those beautiful sceneries and a good airline, I hear that Qatar and other Gulf countries always strive for great political influence in the region.
Hannifah: That is very true and Qatar always uses the international relations it has with other developed countries in the world. The ties help grow the economy of the country and with a good economy it automatically translates to a greater influence politically in the Gulf region. Great influence makes the country to be taken serious in matters concerning countries of the Gulf region.
Titus: That is impressive although I feel it is like Qatar uses unfair methods to increase its political influence. If I may ask what sector grows the economy of Qatar that much?
Hannifah: Petroleum is the backbone of the economy of Qatar. It actually accounts for more than 70% of total revenue collected by the government (Fromherz, 2012, p.20). It is more than 60% of the GDP of Qatar (Fromherz, 2012, p.20). Petroleum has made Qatar to be declared the richest country due to its record-breaking GDP per capita (Fromherz, 2012, p.20). Tourism comes second after petroleum. There are major landmarks and other tourist destinations that draw tourists from all over the world. Have you ever been to Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art?
Titus: No, I have not been to that place although I have heard a lot about the place. I will visit the place one day. How is the relationship between Qatar and other countries like United States, China, France, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom?
Hannifah: Qatar actually enjoys good international relations with many countries in the world. For instance, Qatar has a bilateral trade relationship with United Kingdom even though it was colonized by them (Willis, 2004, p.27). Qatar exports its oil and gas to United Kingdom and on the other hand it imports some machinery and even man power in some fields (Willis, 2004, p.27). This is very vital for the economic growth and development of Qatar which will in turn increase its influence in the Gulf region. Actually the relationship Qatar has with United Kingdom is that of scratch my back I scratch yours.
Titus: How does the economic growth increase its influence in the Gulf region yet almost all countries have oil there. It is like a case where friends all have pizzas so it means that they are the same.
Hannifah: Qatar and other Gulf region countries that produce oil form the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Willis, 2004, p.43). Just like any other organization, OPEC leadership is highly politicized. The richest countries tend to have more power and say on the decisions of the organization. The economic growth of Qatar helps it to gain more influence on the decision-making of the organization.
Titus: How does the country relate to United States apart from the liking of iPhone 6 or the iPod by the Qatari people?
Hannifah: Bilateral relations between Qatar and United States started in 1973 after US opened an embassy in Doha (Fromherz, 2012, p.38). The partnership with United States has helped Qatar to play an influential role in the Gulf region. The United States gives Qatar development assistance which helps it in growing the economy to greater levels. The United States offers a platform for higher education of the people of Qatar. They go to prestigious universities in the US where they acquire vast knowledge in many sectors which they will use in growing Qatar when they return after education. Just like the relationship with UK, the relationship between Qatar and US is that of scratch my back I scratch yours.
Titus: Does Qatar have any military ties with US?
Hannifah: Qatar has built strong military ties with United States since 1992 (Willis, 2004, p.51). Currently Qatar is home to the U.S. Central Command’s Forward headquarters and the combined Air Operations center (Willis, 2004, p.51). These ties help Qatar to get some knowledge in guarding its borders against any attacks by enemy countries.Qatar buys arms from United States worth billions of dollars. These are arms that Qatar uses in cases of war and other eventualities.Possession of such sophisticated weapons increases the political influence of Qatar in the Gulf region.
Titus: Does Qatar and China have any economic or political ties considering they have the hardest languages. I suppose it is a technical relationship due to the complexity of the languages.
Hannifah: Qatar and China over the years have had various agreements on investment, trade, and political agreements signed by envoys of both countries (Willis, 2004, p.64). China has funded many developments in the city of Doha which has grown the economy of Qatar (Willis, 2004, p.64). China and Qatar have bilateral agreements where the countries engage in trade of various goods and services that help both countries. In Asia, Qatar also has some ties with Japan. Japan and Qatar engage in bilateral agreements like trade that helps in building the economy of the counties. Japan undertakes major infrastructural projects in japan and this greatly boosts both countries (Willis, 2004, p.64).
Titus: I can see Qatar really shares a cordial relationship with many countries. What about Germany?
Hannifah: Over the past years, the political and economic relationships between Germany and Qatar have been strengthened by diplomatic visits and rise in bilateral trade (Fromherz, 2012, p.71). There is increased number of German companies in the Qatari market (Fromherz, 2012, p.71). The companies lead to economic gains of both Germany and Qatar. This leads to many citizens of Germany to live and work in Qatar and on the other hand the Qatari people work and live in Germany(Fromherz, 2012, p.71). In Europe, France is also another country that has strong ties with Qatar. The two counties have bilateral relations and France occupies a privileged when it comes to trading with Qatar (Fromherz, 2012, p.72). They also have education ties with each other. Qatari people go to study in France and on the other hand the French people can come to work in Qatar (Fromherz, 2012, p.72). Qatari men also borrow some tips on romance from the French men that is why their ladies are hard to get.
Titus: Why is the leadership of the OPEC politicized yet all countries have oil and can sell on their own?
Hannifah: The leadership of OPEC is so much politicized because the organization is charged with coordinating oil production policies and stabilization of the market of oil (Willis, 2004, p.91). Qatar strives to attain much political influence so as to have great say in decisions of the organization that will greatly be beneficial to the country financially. Qatar cannot manage to go solo since its operations will collapse and even it can lose all the market it had.
Titus: Does Qatar have any other political desires in other countries that are close to it or even far?
Hannifah: Qatar has a very big interest in political issues of other countries like recently it wanted the removal of Bashar from Syria (Fromherz, 2012, p.99). It actually used the relationship it has with United States in pushing for its desires. Qatar knew with peace in Syria, and then its relations with the country would blossom enhancing it to reap an array of benefits. As you know no one can pop their nose in matters that they will not slightly benefit. I it was so then Qatar would be silly to meddle in the issues of Syria.
Titus: With the much you have enlightened me on today, I can now boast to know a bit about Qatar and its International Relations. Even though it has strict rules, it is a country one would wish to be going during holidays. The guys should check on the excessive heat on that side and see on ways to regulate it. Anyway, have a good day. Cheers!
Hannifah: Cheers!Next time you will buy me a drink since my throat ran dry from the conversation we had.
FROMHERZ, A. J. (2012). Qatar: a modern history. London, I.B. Tauris.
WILLIS, T. (2004). Qatar. New York, NY, Children’s Press.