NEW GEOPOLITICS PUBLICATION
Published on 12/7/2015
Lotfi HAMZI, professor at NEOMA BS, has just released “QATAR, la puissance contrariée” published by Studyrama in October 2015, co-written with Gérard MARIE HENRY.
The Al-Thani “dynasty” was “created” by the British in 1868. It is still in power in 2015, despite repeated family conflicts. British military “protection” ended in 1971. The Americans were ready to take over, and they are still stationed there, in the gigantic al-Udeid airbase! The oil began to flow in 1939, but the huge family oil firm was not really in place before 1971.
Nonetheless, profits from oil and gas remain large enough (Qatar is the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas – LNG) for a great deal of money to be invested in other activities, from which the authorities expect dual profits: firstly commercial, but also diplomatic.
Because it has limited demographic and military capacity, Qatar wants to make its wealth a means of obtaining power, even if this sometimes means investing in somewhat disreputable activities.
The gigantic Qatar gas field adjoins the equally gigantic Iranian gas field. This geographical and geological imbrication makes it slightly easier to understand the solo balancing act that this member of the Gulf Cooperation Council is attempting.
The country also suffers from a poor image for human rights and democracy. It eulogises about freedom of expression and political rights, particularly in other Arab countries, but appears incapable of transforming its own political system into a genuine democracy, and its legislation concerning foreign workers (kafala) is one of the most criticised in the world.
Lotfi HAMZI, PhD, is Head of the Economics, Cultures and International Affairs department of NEOMA Business School. [+]