Qatar: With soft power comes hard choices

Qatar's soft power has been a double-edged sword, leading to tensions with regional states including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. Doha's relations with these countries are gradually improving after their 2017-21 boycott, but some tensions remain.

Doha has also been reviving its reputation as a diplomatic mediator, providing a link for the US with Iran and Afghanistan's Taliban. Hosting the 2022 football World Cup put Qatar on the global stage, but also led to criticism over its human rights record. Allegations that it has paid bribes to members of the European Parliament have not helped Doha's image either.

Qatar cityscape

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