25 May 2015
After four years of engagement with its critics in a so-far failed bid to turn its hosting of the World Cup into a successful soft power tool, Qatar appears to have decided that the region’s tendency to intimidate those who don’t fall into line may be a more effective strategy.
In doing so, Qatar appears to be backtracking on its record of being the one Gulf state that instead of barring critics entry or incarcerating them – standard practice in most countries in the region – worked with human rights and trade union activists to address concerns about the working and living conditions of migrant workers who constitute a majority of the population.
The cooperation resulted in key Qatari institutions adopting forward looking standards that would improve conditions and modernise but not abolish Qatar’s controversial kafala or sponsorship system that puts workers at the mercy of their employers.
… James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 26/05/2015