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  • Author: Bessma Momani, Andrew F. Cooper
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: It is increasingly obvious that Qatar is playing above its weight in the international role. There is no one script that defines Qatar's diplomatic role. It is best seen as a maverick, willing to work with the US as well as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. It operates a complex form of public diplomacy via Al-Jazeera and other high profile initiatives at the same time as it mediates behind the scenes with Israel and Lebanon. Qatar's role as a unique hybrid diplomatic actor is reinforced by the enthusiastic support it displayed towards the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, including operational support for the UN Security Resolution to place a no-fly zone with respect to the Qaddafi's regime, while being more circumspect on the uprising in Bahrain. Such an extensive, unconventional and differentiated approach creates risks as well as opportunities. Yet, through a combination of resources and vision, it is skilled resilience not vulnerability that defines Qatar.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, Dublin
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The standoff over Iran's nuclear programme, suspected of harbouring secret military ends, is widely considered a major flashpoint. A nuclear Iran – as the argument goes – would dramatically alter the regional balance in the Gulf, providing the Islamic Republic with a formidable deterrent against external aggression, while augmenting its ability to exert influence on its neighbours and eliminating the strategic advantage of its rival Israel, the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. An Iranian bomb could also trigger a regional nuclear arms race since such countries as Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, might feel compelled to emulate Iran. This would in turn result in the eventual collapse of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime based on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Given the stakes, it comes as no surprise that curbing Iran's nuclear programme has rapidly become a foreign policy priority for western powers, Israel, and the majority of Arab states, which have a history of rivalry with and mistrust of Persian and Shia-dominated Iran.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Iran, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt