Al-Jazeera and Qatar’s Soft Power
Chapter 2. Qatar’s Soft Power: A Macro Perspective
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QATAR’S SOFT POWER: A MACRO PERSPECTIVE
When Qatar gained independence from Britain in 1971, it was still just a small country in the Persian Gulf that most people had never heard of. In fact, this was true until the mid-1990s, when Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa El-Thani deposed his father in a bloodless coup, allegedly because his vision for Qatar was dramatically different. Indeed, in the next two decades Qatar has become a leading Arab power, placing itself at the center of international policy making, heading billion-dollar business deals, and sponsoring one of the world’s most successful multimedia corporations.
The country’s revenues from oil and gas discovered in the 1970s have transformed Qatar into one of the world’s richest countries, boasting the world’s highest GDP per capita and the lowest unemployment rate. Remaining oil reserves amounted to more than 25 billion barrels as of 2014, ensuring that the country’s output can continue at current levels for decades.1 However, Qatari leaders have strategically pursued interests that will ensure that even once their energy resources run out, Qatar will not regress to its former status. ← 21 | 22 →
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