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Qatar at World Cup pinnacle following years of Mideast turmoil

Qatar at World Cup pinnacle following years of Mideast turmoil

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) ” Hosting the World Cup marks a pinnacle inside Qatar™s efforts to rise not here of the shadow of its larger neighbors inside the wider Middle East, where its management accompanied by every one one other accompanied by its upstart ambitions have brought both international watching accompanied by every one one other accompanied by geographical ire.

The main highway to the competition ” accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Qatar™s increased prominence on the worldwide phase ” has been fueled by the country becoming one of the top exporters of natural gas. That newfound affluence built the stadiums that fans will become filled for the tournament, created the Arab world™s most recognized report network, Al Jazeera, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by enabled Doha™s diplomatic outreach to the wider world.

But that rise has not been lacking intrigue. A palace coup inside 1995 installed a additional assertive ruler inside the country, who used Qatar™s affluence to spine the Islamists who emerged stronger amid the 2011 Arab Spring protests ” the same figures his fellow Gulf Arab leaders viewed while threats to their rule. A yearslong boycott of Qatar by quartet Arab nations that began inside 2017 almost sparked a war.

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And while the overt tensions have eased inside the region, Qatar probable hopes the World Cup will labour for to boost its standing while it balances its relations overseas to hedge opposed to some danger to the country inside the future.

They know there are these potential threats; they know they are extremely vulnerable, said Gerd Nonneman, a professor of international relations accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Gulf Arab studies at Georgetown University inside Qatar. Anything they tin do to have an international web of if not allies, at least a sympathetic element, they will.

Qatar, a little larger than Jamaica or fair smaller than the U.S. condition of Connecticut, is a peninsular nation that sticks not here into the Persian Gulf exist fond of a thumb. It shares fair a 60-kilometers (37-mile) border accompanied by Saudi Arabia, a nation 185 times larger, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by sits fair across the Gulf from Iran.

Through its sovereign affluence fund, Qatar owns London™s famed Harrods dividing store, Paris Saint-Germain soccer club accompanied by every one one other accompanied by billions of dollars inside real possessions inside New York City. That affluence comes from its sales of liquified natural gasoline into with every one other accompanied by not here of an offshore meadow it shares accompanied by Iran, most of it going to Asian nations such while China, India, Japan accompanied by every one one other accompanied by South Korea.

That spigot of affluence began flowing inside 1997, fair following place of set of two greatest events that shook Qatar. The first, Iraq™s invasion of Kuwait inside 1990 accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the subsequent 1991 Gulf War, saw Doha accompanied by every one one other accompanied by other Gulf Arab nations register the need for long-term American military presence while a hedge, said Kristian Ulrichsen, a research fellow at Rice University™s Baker Institute.

Qatar built its massive Al-Udeid Air Base, which is place of residence to some 8,000 American troops accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the forward headquarters of the U.S. military™s Central Command today.

The following event that shook Qatar took place inside 1995, when Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani seized ability inside a bloodless coup from his father who was inside Switzerland. Sheikh Hamad subsequent place down a 1996 coup try by his cousin.

Under Sheikh Hamad accompanied by every one one other accompanied by flush accompanied by cash, Qatar created Al Jazeera, the satellite report strait that became known worldwide for airing statements from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The U.S. railed opposed to the strait following the American-led invasion of Iraq inside 2003, though it provided the Arab world something on the a lengthy way side of tepid state-controlled television for the earliest time.

In December 2010, Qatar won its provide to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Just place of set of two weeks later, a Tunisian fruit seller place himself on blaze inside objection accompanied by every one one other accompanied by ultimately died of his burns ” lighting the fuse for what became the 2011 Arab Spring.

For Qatar, it marked a crucial moment. The country double-downed on its support of Islamists across the region, including Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood who would exist elected president inside Egypt following the permit let fall of the longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Doha poured money into Syrian groups opposing the regulation of Bashar Assad ” accompanied by some funding going to those that America subsequent described while extremists, exist fond of the Islamic State group.

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  • Qatar lengthy has denied funding extremists, though it does convey on accompanied by relations accompanied by the Palestinian militant category Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip, employed while an interlocutor accompanied by Israel. But analysts speak there was a recognition that things may have moved excessively fast.

    They register they stuck not here their necks excessively a lengthy way excessively inside a short hour dated ¦ accompanied by every one one other accompanied by they began to re-calibrate that, Nonneman said.

    The Arab Spring inside a short hour dated chilled into a winter. A counterrevolution inside Egypt supported by other Gulf Arab states saw the installation of military general turned President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi inside July 2013.

    A little over a week earlier, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Sheikh Hamad™s son, took over while ruler inside Qatar inside the ruling family™s own acknowledgment that a generational alter was needed.

    Gulf Arab countries, however, remained angry. A 2014 debate over Qatar™s support of Islamists saw Bahrain, Saudi Arabia accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the United Arab Emirates withdraw their ambassadors ” only to convey them spine eight months later.

    But inside 2017 following then-President Donald Trump™s pay someone a call to Saudi Arabia, those trio nations accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Egypt began a yearslong boycott of Qatar, closing off air vehicles accompanied by every one one other accompanied by severing monetary ties flat while building on the stadiums continued.

    Things grew so tense that Kuwait™s late ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who at the hour dated mediated the dispute, suggested that military deed at one point was a possibility, lacking elaborating.

    The debate ended while President Joe Biden stood poised to lay clasp of office, though geographical tensions remain. Still, Qatar has found itself hosting negotiations inside the centre of American officials accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the Taliban, while well while assisting the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Russia™s war on Ukraine has seen European leaders go nearer to Doha, hopeful for additional natural gas.

    They are at the center of watching again, Ulrichsen said. It gives them a seat at the bench when there™s decisions actuality taken.

    ___

    Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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