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Qatar: Middle power and mediator 

October 18, 20216:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe's Youtube channel. 6:00 p.m.
In English with simulatenous interpretation.

Casa Árabe has invited Neil Quilliam (Chatham House), Andreas Krieg (King's College London), and Emma Soubrier (George Washington University), to analyze the emirate’s current role, at a conference to be held on October 18. You will be able to watch the conference live on YouTube

Despite Qatar’s small size, covering less than 12,000 square kilometers, its geostrategic position has made it a key role-player in the Gulf. Economically powerful, Qatar is also vulnerable, though, as one of the least populated countries in the region. 

After the Arab Spring, all of the Gulf monarchies were forced to rethink their foreign policies, choosing to protect themselves from the winds of change blowing through the Middle East and North Africa. Doha took advantage of this situation to increase its presence and influence in the Arab regional arena by taking on a more active and independent role. This shift from its role as a mediator to an active role also meant expanding the soft power tools that had characterized its action abroad, including mediation in conflicts and the international outreach of the Al Jazeera channel, factors which have contributed to strengthening its international image while raising its prestige. 

Consequently, “the modern state of Qatar” conceived by Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in 1995 has led the small emirate to become a state with a global reputation, a wide range of interests and investments, and powerful global allies. It is now able to exercise significant regional influence and mediate in complex conflicts, as it recently did between the Taliban in Afghanistan and the United States.

The talk between the experts will be moderated by Karim Hauser, Casa Árabe's International Relations Coordinator, and will be conducted in English with simultaneous interpretation.  

Neil Quilliam is an associate fellow of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House. At the same institution, he has worked as a senior research fellow on the project "Future Dynamics in the Gulf" (2016-2019), and he directed the project "Syria and Its Neighbours" (2014-2017). He has been a MENA region energy advisor at the UK Foreign Office, an analyst at Control Risks in London and a program officer at the United Nations University in Amman. Neil has lived in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, and he has travelled extensively throughout the MENA region, working on a variety of projects in development, education and research. He has published several books and articles on international relations and the political economics of Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

Andreas Krieg is a senior lecturer at the School of Security Studies at King’s College London, Royal College of Defence Studies and fellow at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies. He has spent more than ten years living, studying and working across the MENA region. Andreas was able to complement his years in the Levant, i.e. Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Palestine, with four years in Qatar where he was involved in delivering a strategic contract between the State of Qatar, the UK Ministry of Defence and King’s College London. In his research Andreas looks at violent non-state actors in the MENA region and their competition with state authority to provide communal resilience. From his research on the Gulf Divide, sprung the idea of his current project looking at the internal and external weaponization of narratives in the Middle East, which has not only distorted civil-societal discourse in the region but also the academic debate on where the region is going. He edited the book "Divided Gulf. The Anatomy of a Crisis" (2019).

Emma Soubrier is a professorial lecturer and a visiting scholar at the Institute for Middle East Studies at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, where her class focuses on U.S. policy in the Gulf. She is also a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Her research focuses on the security strategies and foreign policies of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, particularly the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and the political economy of arms trade in the Gulf. Her work looks to promote a renewed approach to security that includes human dimensions, particularly societal security and environmental security. Her forthcoming book, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates: Diverging Paths to Regional and Global Power (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2022), is based on her PhD thesis, which received a Dissertation Award from the Institute for Higher National Defense Studies (France) in 2018.
Qatar: Middle power and mediator