World Cup: Qatar, so small, so powerful?

Briefly about Qatar

Favored by the presence of hydrocarbons, the development of Qatar took place extremely quickly. Thus, the desert turned into a zone of very rich activity. Located in the center of the Arabian Peninsula and surrounded by powerful neighbors, the country has about 3 million inhabitants. Among them, 85% are foreigners from 63 different countries. The gender ratio is very unbalanced: there are three men for every woman. Christian Chenaud is a senior reporter in the international newsroom of Radio France. A specialist in the Middle East, he is the author of Qatar, Secrets of Planetary Influence in 100 Questions, published by Tallandier. He says that Qataris are characterized and recognized by their clothes: men wear big white dresses made of a scarf, women wear black veils.If Qataris disrobe, they disappear from the public landscape. It is a matter of survival and the existence of their identity.” explains the journalist.

Over 10 years, the country has attracted 10 million foreign workers to work in emergency situations. Added to this is a woman from the Philippines or the Indian subcontinent. They work as servants in wealthy families. The capital, Doha (“bay”), built in an arc, without “gigantism of buildings”, emphasizes Brigitte Dumortier, a geographer and lecturer in human geography at Paris-Sorbonne University. She is the author of “Atlas des pays du Golfe”, published by Paris Sorbonne University Press.

Rapid growth between tradition and modernity

Pearl fishermen and Bedouin traditions of hospitality lie at the origins of this city., camel racing and falconry. Christian Chesnot witnessed the devastating social changes that have been taking place for 20 years. Long time “sleeping” and “in the shadow of Saudi Arabia”, the accelerated modernization revolution pushed the country to the forefront of the world arena. Faced with such modernization, a malaise arises because of the sense of loss of tradition. Raised babysitter In the Philippines, young people speak more English and go to study at prestigious universities abroad. The diet is changing, diabetes is gaining more and more importance.

And all this is accompanied by many paradoxes. The country is open to the international community, but remains traditional for its own society. “This is a village, a micro-state in which everyone knows each other”, explains Christian Chesnot. What has an advantage is the blood connection, the continuity of tribal traditions and the weight of genealogy. Polygamy is preserved: the emir has two wives. Despite Qatar’s economic wealth, there are weaknesses, particularly in terms of water, agriculture and food independence. This is indicated by Brigitte Dumortier “very strong dependence on seawater desalination” and neighboring countries covered during the blockade from 2017 to 2021.

money is in power

The country is marked before and after. Qatar has the third largest gas reserves in the world. In this way, it accumulates money that makes independence from neighboring countries possible. The idea is to diversify financial investments: taking over PSG, investing in Germany or London City. Soft power also comes from the influence of Qatar Airways. The monarchy is based on tribal legitimacy. It is easy for the Qataris to gain access to their ruler.

Qatar backs Muslim Brotherhood to promote alternative Islam to Saudi Salafism, and try to supplant Saudi Arabia in its role as guardian of Islam. The country has also joined the international coalition led by Washington, which is waging war against the Islamic State jihadists.

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