Qatar and Its Emir

2445 Words Jun 29th, 2010 10 Pages
Qatar and its emir
He 'll do it his way
With much of the Arab world rattled by the global economic turmoil and stuck in moribund politics, tiny Qatar and its punchy emir are bucking the trend
May 27th 2010 | DOHA
THE economy of the Gulf emirate of Qatar is making even China’s look sluggish. This year it is set, by one estimate, to swell by more than 23%. Last year it grew by 10%, the year before by 13%. The IMF reckons the country’s GDP per head rose last year to nearly $84,000 at purchasing-power parity, the world’s highest figure, far above the United States’ $46,000 and Britain’s $35,000 and easily topping the rich-list of the 22-country Arab League, with Kuwait trailing on $38,000 and Saudi Arabia well behind on $23,000. Congo and
…show more content…
His biggest recent success was in persuading—some say paying—Lebanon’s rival parties to come together in November to form a unity government after months of deadlock: the emir is said to have virtually locked the Lebanese leaders in a room and told them to come out only after they had done a deal. Sudan’s government and rebels have made headway towards peace under the emir’s aegis, with President Omar al-Bashir several times visiting Qatar, despite requests by the International Criminal Court that he be arrested and sent to The Hague to face war-crimes charges. No way, said the ever-emollient emir.
Most controversially, and sometimes to the irritation of fellow Arab leaders of beefier places such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the emir has sought to make peace between the Palestinians and Israel, which, along with Hong Kong and Singapore, he is said to admire as the perkiest of mini-states. Israel enjoyed the rare Gulf privilege of having a permanent trade mission in Qatar until its closure during the Gaza war a year-and-a-half ago. The emir has offered to reopen it, provided that Israel lets building materials back into Gaza but the Jewish state’s prime minister has so far rejected the idea. At the same time, the emir has made a point of hosting the leaders of Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza and whose senior figures are often in Qatar.

Down the golden street
Still, discomfiting spectres lurk. One is

More about Qatar and Its Emir