Unlike other Arab monarchies, Qatar has embraced a supportive position toward the Arab revolutions since the moment they broke out in late 2010. In fact, Qatar’s Al Jazeera network was an essential media mobilizer for the Arab masses and a major promoter of the revolutionary change process in the region, hosting pro-revolution Arab intellectuals, and broadcasting pro-reform messages. Qatar welcomed the Tunisian Revolution, financially backed the country in its transitional stage, and behaved the same with the subsequent Egyptian and Yemeni cases. What’s more, Qatar made efforts to encourage both Arab and international support for humanitarian interventions in Libya and Syria, and generously backed the revolutionary forces there both financially and militarily. Given the fact that Qatar’s political system is of the conservative-monarchic type, this paper aims to review the dynamics and geopolitical interests that drove Doha to embrace a pro-change policy in the region during the Arab Spring, with a view to better understanding what has become known as the ‘Qatari Oxymoron’ or ‘Qatari Exceptionalism,’ and the ensuing dynamics that led to the Gulf crisis of 2017 –the most difficult crisis among the GCC states since the organization’s establishment in 1981.
The book under review is a work by American-Lebanese scholar Walid Phares, who specializes in Middle East politics. He has worked in different advisory positions in the U.S., most notably, within the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Congress.