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Qatar Crisis Exposes its Fragility | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London- The showdown with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has exposed the precarious position of Qatar. The soft power of the Qatar brand that was meant to protect it has never looked more fragile – Doha’s isolation is heading into a third week, said Bloomberg.

Samer Shehata, an associate professor at the politics and international relations program, said: “The Qatar brand was about producing security and legitimacy. It was about putting Qatar on the map so everybody knew what Qatar was.”

“But in the end what does soft power get you?” he asked. “Can it produce security? The current crisis exposes this question. I’m not sure soft power by itself is enough, especially if you live in a bad neighborhood.”

Ayham Kamel, director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Eurasia Group, said: “The policy mix that Qatar has adopted over the last decade was eventually going to be problematic. The combination of all the policies it has adopted was bound to become problematic at some point.”

Since the beginning, the fact that Qatar will be hosting World Cup 2022 triggered a debate. Also, Qatar’s high dependence on migrant labor to build the stadiums caused rage.

Furthermore, the latest diplomatic crisis threatens the infrastructure preparations to host the World Cup – Qatar spends USD500 million on completing these projects.

“It is highly likely that this crisis is going to drag on for some time and at some point the viability of the World Cup, a major anchor for projects in Qatar, will be called into question,” Farouk Soussa, a Middle East economist, said.

He added: “Any decision to remove the World Cup from Qatar would have extremely negative implications in Qatar’s construction sector and non-oil economy.”