Sources

Qatar's Strongman Has A Problem, And It's Called Hamas

The emirate of Qatar is tiny, but it wields disproportionate power in the world, where it maintains complicated and often troubling relationships. Just ask Israel.

DOHA — Khaled Mashal, political leader of Palestine’s Islamist militia Hamas, can sleep well at night. Despite being a target of the world’s best intelligence services, the man lives in what is a virtual fortress that protects him from almost any attack — the emirate of Qatar.

While Israeli bombs fall on the Gaza Strip, and Hamas continues to fire rockets on Israeli cities, Mashal holds court in Qatar. The Islamist leader lives among crystal candelabra and comfortable divans covered in dark green silk brocade.

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Inside Qatargate, War Between Soccer's Top Two Suits

PARIS — There is no doubt among the people at the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Europe's soccer governing body, that allegations of corruption against UEFA President Michel Platini is a case of paranoia gone wrong.

Some there believe that the controversy suggesting Platini was bribed to support Qatar's 2022 bid may be the doing of FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, who they think is "afraid that Michel Platini will stand against him for the FIFA presidency." In 2010, the small emirate of Qatar was unexpectedly named host for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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Soccer's "Qatargate"? Accusations Of Payoffs To Secure World Cup 2022 Bid

FRANCE FOOTBALL, AFP (France) LE SOIR (Belgium)

Worldcrunch

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Roses In The Desert - How Qatar Hopes To End Its Dependence On Food Imports

DOHA – Jean-Pierre Moreau is growing flowers in the desert.

Just 30 kilometers west of the Qatari capital of Doha, roses, gladiolus, chrysanthemum are blooming. At the request of Hamid Khalifa al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, the Frenchman produces four million flowers a year, with the help of 60 employees mostly from Nepal and India.

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Geopolitics
Benjamin Barthe

Qatar: When The World's Richest Country Has An Identity Crisis

A mix of rapid reform, incalculable wealth and a pious Islamic tradition leaves the Gulf emirate sorting out an uncertain future.

DOHA - On either side of the wide bridge leading into The Pearl, there is a Rolls-Royce dealership on the right, and a Ferrari dealer on the left. The scene leaves little doubt about the level of economic prosperity in this corner of Doha. Built on an artificial island in the north of Qatar's capital, with its villas and private beaches, 50-story palaces and marinas for pashas, The Pearl - or the "Arabian Riviera," as its promoters call it - is the latest real-estate folly in the wealthy emirate.

But since the sale of alcohol was banned at the end of December 2011, a good number of The Pearl's residents have lost their enthusiasm. The managers of upscale restaurants adjacent to the world's best-known couture boutiques and Western jewelers are complaining of a 50% drop in turnover.

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Sources
Silke Mülherr

The Means And Meaning Of Al Jazeera, As Top Arab Broadcaster Turns 15

Marking its 15th anniversary, Al Jazeera is basking in recent praise for its pivotal coverage of the Arab Spring protests. But the still relatively young history of the Qatar-based satellite network is filled with contradiction, as well as innovation

The Egyptian revolution is the first ever to have been broadcast on live TV. For 18 days, the Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera reported non-stop from Cairo's Tahrir Square, letting the young demonstrators have their say and filming the violence of regime thugs that followed. It was compelling coverage that told viewers: History is being made, and we at Al Jazeera are right here in the thick of it.

Weeks earlier, the broadcaster had been using video taken by a female blogger to report on the revolts in Tunisia. Lina Mhenni had filmed produce seller Mohamed Bouazizi‘s self-immolation and posted it on Facebook. Al Jazeera picked up on this, and gave Bouazizi's act a prominence it is unlikely to have had otherwise.

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Geopolitics

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie

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Geopolitics
Kristen Gillespie

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا


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Sources
Mustapha Kessous

Sports As Diplomacy: Gulf Countries See Big Time Sports As Ticket To Global Influence

Offering instant citizenship and huge salaries to star athletes, maneuvering for major sporting events are a way for small Gulf nations to aim big on world stage.

QATAR - Pride is visible in the windows at the Souk Al Waqif. The shop fronts in this touristy area are covered with posters of the Emir of Qatar and his son raising the World Cup in triumph. Plaster replicas of the golden sculpture can be bought at the souvenir stand for a cool $27.

This desert kingdom will host the 2022 Soccer World Cup. The decision by the International Football Federation (FIFA) to grant Qatar the world's most watched sporting event came as the crowning of a policy of "sports diplomacy" initiated nearly two decades ago.

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