What role does Qatar play in the Middle East and how is it different from other states in the Gulf? How has Qatar shaped from traditional tribal society and British protectorate to a modern state by the ruling Al-Thani family? How has Qatar grown into an economic superpower with one of the world’s highest per capita income? What are the social, political and economic implications of the extraordinarily rapid development of Qatar?
Allen J. Fromherz introduces a full picture in this groundbreaking history of modern Qatar, analyzing Qatar’s vital role in the Middle East and its rising regional influence within a broader historical context. Using original sources in Arabic, English, and French and even his own fieldwork in the Middle East, the author skillfully documents the effect of the Ottoman and British empires and neighbors of Qatar’s Gulf on the country before the meteoric rise of Qatar in the post-independence era.
From Herz gives particular weight to the economic and social history of the nation, from its humble roots in the pearling and fishing industries to the considerable economic influence it currently exerts, the clout that comes with having the region’s second-highest natural gas reserves. He is also looking at what the future holds for the economy of Qatar, as the country tries to diversify beyond oil and gas. In addition, the book looks at Qatar’s paradox where the monarchy, traditional tribal culture, and conservative Islamic values seem to coexist with ultra-modern development and a large population of foreign workers who outnumber Qatari citizens.
This book is as distinctive as the country it documents — a multifaceted picture of modern Qatar’s political, cultural, religious, social, and economic composition and meaning within the Gulf Cooperation Council and the wider region.