From 2006 to 2011, Qatar was highly active as a conflict mediator within the greater Middle East, seeking political consensus in Lebanon as well as securing a key peace agreement regarding the Darfur conflict.
What were the drivers of Qatari mediation during this time, and how successful were Qatari negotiators in their efforts? How has Qatar’s foreign policy during the Arab Spring affected its ability to act as a mediator? How might Qatar expand its mediation capacity in the future?
In an Analysis Paper, Qatari Mediation: Between Ambition and Achievement, Sultan Barakat weighs the prospects for renewed Qatari mediation efforts in a changing regional landscape. He holds that Qatar’s turn towards a more interventionist foreign policy during the Arab Spring shifted the country’s focus away from mediation, while backlash against the country’s positions has limited its ability to engage with the region’s conflicts.
Drawing on interviews with government officials, Barakat concludes that Qatar’s efforts were much aided by financial resources and wide-ranging political ties which helped drive initial mediation efforts, yet were hampered by a lack of institutional capacity to support and monitor such mediation.
About Sultan Barakat
Barakat is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution and Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Centre. He is a Professor and Chairman of the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit, University of York. He has written extensively on the issue of conflict management, state fragility and post-war reconstruction. Barakat’s most recent book is entitled Understanding Influence: The Use of Statebuilding Research in British Policy, published by Ashgate in 2014.