Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2014

Qatar and the Arab Spring: Policy Drivers and Regional Implications

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

September 2014

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


During the Arab Spring, Qatar moved away from its traditional foreign policy role as diplomatic mediator to embrace change in the Middle East and North Africa and support transitioning states. Regional actors viewed Qatar’s approach as overreaching, and skepticism of Doha’s policy motivations increased. Qatar’s new leadership, which came to power in June 2013, is adapting by reverting to a more pragmatic foreign policy and addressing the fallout from its support for Islamist movements in the region.