(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula
Doha: Qatar and the United States have developed solid regional and international political relations marking a journey of nearly five decades since the beginning of their growing diplomatic ties.
The two countries are enjoying deep understandings and partnerships in economic, investment, security and social sectors.
The strong ties have been highlighted in a book 'Qatar-USA: A Half-Century Journey' co-authored by prominent Qatari academic, researcher and media personality, Dr. Khaled Al Jaber, who is also former Editor-in-Chief of The Peninsula newspaper; and former US Ambassador to Qatar, and former President of the Qatar-US Business Council, H E Patrick Nicholas Theros.
Former US ambassador and former President of the Qatar-US Business Council, Patrick Nicholas Theros.
The book, published in Washington DC, contains 10 chapters and about 232 pages and tells about a systematic historical growth and development of relations between Qatar and the United States during the past decades.
It refers to a comprehensive review of the various fields of cooperation and partnership in the political, defence, economic, educational, cultural and humanitarian aspects between the two friendly countries.
The book narrates, in the beginning chapters, the early relations between Qatar and the United States, from the beginning of their formation during the period from 1934 to the launch of the diplomatic mission in Doha in 1972.
It refers information, figures, and historical documents taken from the archives of British documents and the archives of the Library of Congress, the developments that occurred in Qatar since the end of the First World War era to entering the era of oil exploration, its benefits and the widespread exportation post Second World War.
The book also sheds light on establishment of State institutions and the subsequent radical transformation in the form of traditional government agencies into a productive and effective economic system that relies on modern state institutions, adopts a modern and advanced education system, and follows the approach of activating soft power by focusing on media, culture, art, museums, and sports until Qatar becomes one of the most prominent players in the Middle East.
However, it said, even during a period of international isolation in American foreign policy, Washington sought to build ties with Qatar, challenging the influence of the United Kingdom, the dominant power in the Gulf, which signed protection pacts with the smaller Gulf States during that time.
The book said that this was the time when American relations to Qatar expanded in other ways, especially with the establishment of a modern hospital, which was the first-of-its-kind in Doha, in cooperation with the American mission based in Bahrain, Kuwait and some Gulf countries in the forties of the last century.
The book notes that after 1971, with the withdrawal of the British from the region, Qatar declared its independence, and although the following decade was one of the great turmoil in the region, it was also a time of great prosperity.
With the pearl-diving economy incomes collapsing inside Qatar earlier in the century due to competition from Asia, the nation soon discovered a new source of wealth —oil— and after oil prices increased during the 1970s, the Gulf region gained immense wealth and high incomes.
Prominent Qatari academic, researcher and media personality Dr. Khaled Al Jaber.
Qatar witnessed a second windfall in the 1990s, when the development of its natural gas reserves made it the world's richest country per capita. Qatar soon began to make qualitative leaps in its development as a modern country, benefiting from the employment of its enormous wealth in development in its various fields.
The book mentioned that relations between Qatar and the United States continued to expand during the seventies and eighties. There were occasional obstacles, such as when Qatar acquired Stinger missiles that the United States provided to the Afghan Mujahideen (fighters), the opponents of Soviet Union.
But despite this diplomatic issue, Qatar-US relations improved remarkably again in 1991, when Qatar played an important role in liberating Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's army which led to the signing of a defence cooperation agreement in 1992 between the two countries.
A few years later, the book notes, the relationship became even more important when Al Udeid Air Base was established in Qatar, where more than 10,000 American soldiers are currently stationed. Al Udeid later played a crucial role in the war against terrorism and is today the center of US operations in the Middle East.
Now, nearly fifty years after the beginning of diplomatic relations, the United States and Qatar are closer than ever; billions of dollars are mutually invested between the two countries each year, and an estimated 40,000 American nationals live and work in Qatar.
The book also explains that Qatar, from the beginning of the millennium, has quickly sought to raise its position on the international forum and develop its reputation as a modern country.
To achieve its development goals, Qatar immediately embarked on ambitious development programmes and in many cases used the experience of the United States as a role model as it did in developing its educational system. Today, it is home to branches of a number of the most important American universities, including Weill Cornell University, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern and others. Although hydrocarbon wealth helped sustain economic development, Qatar's leaders recognised that it was a small country in a turbulent region, and that the country's continued stability and well-being depended on good relations with super powers.
The book stresses that the United States and Qatar have developed distinguished and solid regional and international political relations, in addition to understandings, agreements, and a deep economic, investment, security and societal partnership. Doha has become an indispensable center in the American strategy in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Ocean.
This region is still home to two-thirds of the world's proven oil reserves and half of the world's natural gas reserves, and by protecting the flow of energy through the Gulf, the United States helps maintain a critical pillar of the international economy.
In the final chapter, the book mentions that Qatar, due to its friendship with the United States and its distinguished relations with brotherly and friendly countries and active political and religious groups, has played the role of mediator in many regional conflicts. Its position as a conservative Islamic state allowed it to become a pioneering station for bringing the points of view among the conflicting parties closer, which the United States could not do.
Qatar has played the role of mediator in many major conflicts, including Lebanon, Sudan, Palestine and other countries. More importantly, Qatar was the main mediator between the United States and the Taliban until they reached an agreement in 2020, and eventually helped the United States withdraw from Afghanistan in 2021 to end the longest war in US history.