Qatar. The first church in Qatar opened on March 14.
Countryaah reports, the
Roman Catholic St. Mary's Church in the capital Doha is
primarily aimed at the country's guest workers from the
Philippines and other southern Asian countries. A new law
was voted on in June to protect guest working maids. Under
the new law, guest workers are entitled to one paid day off
per week and three weeks' holiday per year. The new law also
stipulated that employers must pay wages as agreed.
In November, the Museum of Islamic Art opened in Doha.
The museum, designed by veteran architect IM Pei, holds 800
works of art - ceramics, jewelry, manuscripts, textiles,
metal and glass. The collections and the museum building had
been financed by the royal family.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia agreed in December on how to draw
the border between the countries, an agreement that was
expected to set the point for a multi-year schism.
In 2014, several called their ambassadors from Doha. In
2017, several countries broke diplomatic relations, while
Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia also
sought to isolate Qatar by closing the borders. Neighboring
countries, as well as Egypt, accused Qatar of representing a
security risk because the country is alleged to support
groups that are considered a threat to national security in
those countries. In particular, Qatar is accused of
supporting Islamist groups, especially various parts of the
Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar also supports Hamas and has
relations with Hezbollah. Both have close relations with
Iran, which Qatar also has direct contact with.
Qatar's connection with Iran is one of the main reasons
why other countries in the region, led by Saudi Arabia,
broke ties in 2017: Iran is the regional superpower rival to
Saudi Arabia, and especially in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia,
fears of increased religious and political influence of
Iran, and that it may undermine the authority and power of
the respective regimes. Qatar's relations with Iran are
substantially economic. The two countries share the world's
largest field of natural gas (South Pars), with shared
extraction rights. In the fall of 2017, Qatar again sent an
ambassador to Iran to strengthen bilateral relations.
Like other Gulf countries, Qatar has supported Islamist
groups in Libya and Syria, among others. Qatar is also
accused of supporting rebel groups in Saudi Arabia and
Bahrain, which according to these countries should also be
supported by Iran. Kuwait assumed a mediator role in the
conflict in 2017, handing over a list of demands from
countries that severed relations with Qatar. Among the
demands was that Qatar shut down the state-sponsored
television station Al Jazeera.
The 2017 diplomatic crisis has also been attributed to
allegations of hacking by, among other things, the Qatari
News Agency, and the posting of fake news that compromised
the country's authorities.
Following the diplomatic breach and the closure of the
borders in June 2017, Qatar declined to pose any security
risk to other countries. Political action against Qatar came
shortly after US President Donald Trump visited the region
and consolidated close relations with Saudi Arabia.
As a result of the war in Syria, Qatar has strengthened
its relations with Turkey. This connection is further
strengthened as a result of the Saudi-led GCC action against
Qatar in 2017. In April 2016, Qatar signed an agreement with
Turkey, which was given the opportunity to establish a
military base in the country; Turkey's first in the region.
The base can accommodate 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers, and about
200 were deployed. Following the crisis in 2017, Turkey
opened up its presence, thereby strengthening its position
in the region, in line with its ambition to assume a
leadership role in the Middle East. Military cooperation is
an extension of economic relations. Qatar has invested
heavily in Turkey, including in the financial and arms
industries. Turkey buys a lot of natural gas from Qatar. The
two countries have, to some extent, pursued a concurrent
policy in the region, including support for the Muslim
Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar is the United States largest
in the region, with around 10,000 personnel deployed. The
base is also used as an advanced command center for US
Central Command and US Air Forces Central Command. In
addition, the United States has established a base for
pre-warehousing army supplies; As-Sayliyah. In 2017, Qatar
entered into agreements with the US arms industry, with
approval from the US authorities, on the purchase of F-15
fighter aircraft. This happened at the same time as
President Donald Trump accused Qatar of financing terrorism.
The US uses the Al-Udeid base, among other things, in the
military campaign against the Islamic State (IS).