Qatar has gained increasing attention lately due to its heightened foreign policy profile in the Middle East, particularly its prominent role in responding to the Arab Spring uprisings across the region. Over the past year, Qatar has inserted itself as a mediator in Yemen’s political impasse, supported the NATO intervention on behalf of Libya’s rebels and led the Arab League in imposing tough sanctions against Syria.
The high-profile activism has established Qatar as a regional “player,” but Gregory Gause, a Middle East expert and professor of political science at the University of Vermont, said he does not see any real national agenda behind the efforts.
"It's a desire by the two leaders, the emir and the prime minister, to have an influence in the broader world,” he said. “They have all this money. They govern a very small country that's not all that hard to govern. And I think they're just looking to play a bigger role because of personal desire or ambition.”