Two Years and Counting: The Qatari Gulf Crisis
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State interference in other states’ affairs is not uncommon. Even before the start of the Westphalian system of international relations and what we consider a state to be, the act of one state attempting and often succeeding to interfere in other states’ actions has occurred. Since June 2017, the State of Qatar has experienced direct and indirect interference attempts by multiple other states in the Persian Gulf and greater Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region.
Interference in another party’s affairs is a relatively simple matter. There is an attempt to affect change by one party onto another and there is a result– positive, negative or otherwise depending on the intentions. Those results, or byproducts, are where the simple matter of interference becomes muddied. This definition is vital to understanding the intentions and subsequent rate of success with the Gulf Crisis, beginning in 2017 and still unfolding today. Using a multi-disciplinary approach between international relations and media studies is an essential part of this work as Al Jazeera (AJ) is a key bargaining piece in the Gulf Crisis.
Through a methodology with many aspects borrowed from the MERIP studies, we will define the actors, demanders and recipients, who are involved in this crisis for Qatar. Through this new method, parties are clearly defined and an applicable approach to other situations of attempted state interference is made available.
In regard to the criteria and this work’s goal of assessing the crisis and its success or failure, it is also very important to be clear with this work’s aims. To be more succinct, was the attempted media suppression of AJ a success or failure? Were the geopolitical means and goals of states other than Qatar effective in (1) silencing media freedoms, (2) effective as of this work’s publishing in the spring of 2019 to enact their initial of even adjusted goals, and (3) bringing about political changes to Qatar’s policy making? The interference taken by these actors has no doubt affected Qatar but how has it done so and has that been to the pleasure of those states? The facts of this case and how we define those facts is essential.
The methodology approaches utilized focus mainly on MERIP studies and are coupled with international relations theorizing by Dr. Haaland Matlary and media analysis from Tine Figenschou’s 2014 “Al Jazeera and the Global Media Landscape”. This work is particularly exciting because it is on the forefront of an emerging crisis, as the two year anniversary comes close to the time of this work’s publishing, and little has been published in academia on the crisis, relative to other case studies.