GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Qatar Foreign Policy during the Arab spring:
Paper Proposal Text :
Qatar Foreign Policy during the Arab spring:
From nuisance capacity to influence policy
Dr. Adil Moussaoui
Professor Researcher in International Relations
University Mohamed V- Souissi- Rabat- Morocco
The international system has undergone fundamental changes in the post-cold war, with strong implications for small states foreign policy. Small states today enjoy more international prestige and visibility than at any other time in history .In most cases, their physical security is ensured , while the rise of such transnational efforts as the EU, NATO put them on a legal and diplomatic footing with larger countries. Many poor small states, no longer able to play the superpowers off one another, have fewer policy options now than at the height of the cold war. They often find themselves caught between the demands of the international economic power brokers- including the United States, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank- which call for fiscal restraint, and those of their own citizens, who are eager to receive the benefits of government spending.
According to the small state theoretical literature, the concept of small state is based on the idea of perceptions that is, if a state’s people and institutions generally perceive themselves to be small, or if other states ‘people and institutions perceive that states as small, it shall be so considered (Jeane A.K.Hey 2003:3). Others scholars argued that “ a small power is a state which recognizes that it cannot obtain security primarily by use its own capabilities, and that it must rely fundamentally on the aid of the others” . In the other hand Laurent Goetschel (1998: 13) wrote that “ in traditional political thought… small in the context of foreign and security policy meant that such a state was perceived as no danger to neighboring states”.
In addition, the specialist studying small foreign policy identified a multitude of behaviors that small states either do, or are expected to, exhibit. To summarize the most commonly the most commonly cited behaviors, small states tend to
-limit their behavior to their
-employ diplomatic and economic foreign policy instruments, as opposed to military instruments
-spend disproportionate amount of foreign policy resources on ensuring physical and political security and survival
-rely on superpower for protection, partnerships, and resources.
Relating to this theoretical background above, we can consider the Gulf countries as a small states with the exception of Saudi Arabia. Qatar far example is the smallest one, with an area of under 12000 square kilometers and a native population of under a quarter of million, and yet the richest country in the world in term of GDP per capita and the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. Despite its small size, Qatar has risen in less than two decades to became one the leading regional actors in the international relations of the middle East. Qatar built an expansive foreign policy commented by the Economist as a -flying carpet diplomacy-, it has been involved in so many conflicts in the region-mainly as a mediator and provider of humanitarian aid- that has almost become expected that whatever the conflict facing the region. The emirate will find a role for itself within it.
Before the Arab spring, the Qatar’s foreign policy pursued to impose its perspective, by using its nuisance capacity inside the GCC, particularly vis -à-vis Saudi Arabia. Qatar also has developed good ties with Iran and even engaged in rapprochement in certain areas. Qatar’s foreign policy has been delicately poised between concerns for Iran nuclear activities and concerns for energy supply security. It argued that Doha- based Aljazeera, which has emerged as a global media network, has been giving Qatar foreign policy a positive push.
The small country in the gulf has taken various influence foreign policy moves particularly during the Arab spring process. Qatar has lent support to Muslim Brotherhood during the Arab uprisings and continued the third-way- policy. When the emirate openly gave support to military operation during the Libya crisis, it helped Arabs to overcome the strong psychological threshold.
In this paper we will attempt to examine the Qatar’s foreign policy behavior during the Arab spring, by anchoring it with the small states’ foreign policy theoretical framework, and we will apply them to Qatar as a case study. The paper also will try to response some questions like:
-How the Qatar’s foreign policy behavior can develop a new empirical case to explain more the small state’s foreign policy?
- How Qatar push its pivotal role as small state in the GCC, the Arab world through nuisance capacity and influence policy characterized its diplomacy?
- How Qatar shift its foreign policy by using the new environment emerged during the Arab spring?
- What’s the main drive behind the Qatar’s foreign policy?
- What the link between the Qatar’s foreign policy behavior during the Arab spring and its internal security issue?