What's the Latest Development?
Qatar is no democracy: it is an absolute monarchy with no political institutions. It has a population of just 300,000 and over 1.3 million expatriates. Yet, it is making an impressive mark on the international scene. Back in March it was first, after France, to publicly recognise the Libyan Opposition group, then provided military support for NATO in Libya and also played a proactive mediation role with members of the Arab League in gathering support for it. And it also showed strong political leadership, willingness and influence in bilateral relations with its neighbors throughout the Arab Spring.
What's the Big Idea?
At a time when a large proportion of the world's wealth and power is held by BRIC countries, where the question of 'are you a democracy?' is no longer the price of entry for engagement in international relations, and where long-term economic and political stability and citizens' rights are vital, the world does need more players willing to mediate, challenge and support intervention when necessary. Qatar's ambitious and capable political trajectory should not go unnoticed.