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Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations

Al-Jazeera and Qatar’s Soft Power


Tal Samuel-Azran

Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations argues that Al-Jazeera is not an agent of globalization, as is widely argued, but a tool used by the Qatari government to advance its political as well as Islamist goals. This book also maps the Western tendency to reject the network outright despite Al-Jazeera’s billion-dollar investments designed to gain entrance into Western markets; it shows empirically that this rejection is similarly rooted in religious, cultural and national motives. This book asserts that the main outcome of Al-Jazeera’s activities is the promotion of religious and cultural conflicts. The network persistently portrays global events through the prism of conflicting religious and cultural values – propelling a clash of civilizations as per Samuel P. Huntington’s well-known thesis.
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Chapter 2. Qatar’s Soft Power: A Macro Perspective


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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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