Shifting Sands In The Arabian Peninsula: Qatar


>>Mission of the
World Affairs Council is to empower the people
and organizations of West Michigan to engage
thoughtfully with the world. We do that with the help
of 50 local businesses like SoundOff Signal, and all of our colleges
and universities. And we’re very grateful to
Grand Valley State University for being a
part of it, and the Seidman School
providing this wonderful space for us to have
this event. Now, let me briefly introduce
the Ambassador to you, and then have him
come up and lead us. Chase Untermeyer is Chairman
of the Qatar-America Institute, which aims to
increase understanding of the important
Qatari-American relationship in security,
education, and energy. From 2004 to 2007, he served
as the US ambassador to Qatar on appointment of the
President George W. Bush. He has held positions at all
four levels of government– local, state, national,
and international– over a period of
more than 30 years, with work in journalism,
academia, and business as well. He was born in
Long Branch, New Jersey, which I was happy to talk with
him about– uh, Jersey Shore– and he came to Houston
at the age of two. He is a 1968 graduate of Harvard
with honors in Government and while in college, he
helped George H.W. Bush in his 1966 race for a seat
in Congress from Houston and spent two summers as an
intern on the Washington staff for a freshman
Congressman Bush. He’s commissioned under
the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, and he served in
the Navy during the Vietnam War as an officer aboard the
Pacific Fleet Destroyer, the USS Benner. After two terms as a
Texas state representative, his good friend
George H.W. Bush asked him to come to
Washington when Mr. Bush became
vice president. He has many, many additional
adventures in government and public service, and
including executive positions in the Navy and of
Voice of America, and as assistant
to the president, and, of course, as
US ambassador to Qatar. Please join me in
welcoming Chase Untermeyer. (applause)>>Well, thank you,
Mike and Erica and all, for the chance
to be here particularly on a
beautiful autumn day. Coming from the tropics
down there in Houston to see trees that are
naturally colored as opposed to
artificially colored is a great,
great thrill. Also had the pleasure
with Mike of going back to the Ford Presidential
Museum today. And I was reminded that my
very last trip to Grand Rapids was September 18, 1981, which
was when the museum opened. I was then working for
then Vice President Bush. He was there, along with
President Mrs. Reagan and Pierre Trudeau and
various other luminaries. So that was a highly
memorable time. I’m sorry, it’s been 37 years
since that visit, but thanks to Erica and company,
I’m here and so grateful. I also realized that I am
a second choice Untermeyer to come here because my wife,
Diana, who wrote a book about Qatar, called
“Qatar: Sand, Sea and Sky,” spoke before the World Affairs
Council of Western Michigan about five or
six years ago. Some of you may have
been here for that. You got a much
better talk from her than you will get from me,
and so I can only try. But she’s safely a
thousand miles away and I have the
floor to myself. (audience laughing) But to begin, my tenure in
Qatar was for three years during a very
dynamic time. And it was a totally
new experience for me and for our entire
little family. That’s because I was what
is known as a “non-career” or “political-appointed
ambassador.” In any given administration
of either party, two-thirds of
all ambassadors are career Foreign
Service officers, people who are very bright
graduates who take an exam, sometimes they have to
take it more than once, and through a very
stringent interview process are selected to enter
the Foreign Service, at which point they rise in
ranks just like in the military to the point when,
after 20, 25 years, the State Department identifies
them as a good candidate to recommend to
the White House for posting as
an ambassador, and then, in two-thirds
of the cases, they are posted by
appointment of the president. The other one-third are the
so-called “political appointees” and these, typically,
and most famously, serve in London,
Paris, Rome. Like Peter Secchia of the
first Bush administration who was ambassador
to Italy. And these are people who
either have particular political merit,
such as Mr. Secchia helping George Bush elder
win the Michigan primary and then carry Michigan
in his race for president, or they may be fundraisers
or major donors. I suppose I
qualified under the “old friend of
the president” category, because I certainly
didn’t qualify because of my intense
knowledge of the Middle East. You know, Mark Twain said,
“Confession may be good “for the soul but it’s
bad for my reputation.” And I do not come before you
as someone who has spent an entire career
as an Arabist, as somebody who studied
the Arabic language and had many assignments
and postings. I came into the job of
being a US ambassador in a Middle-Eastern
country, which is very rare for
a non-career person, through the vagaries
of politics. Now, in addressing
how that works, I really have to reach to a
totally different sphere, namely that of
the musical stage because there is a
famous songwriter named Sammy Cahn, and Sammy Cahn used to
address the question that every songwriter
is always asked, which is, “What comes first–
the music or the words?” And Sammy Cahn used to
say, “What comes first? “It’s the telephone call.”
(audience chuckling) And that means that he would
be somewhere in Hollywood. The phone would ring,
it would be a producer who would ask a question
like, “Can you write a song “called ‘Three Coins in a
Fountain’ or some such thing?” And he, of course,
said “yes” and he would proceed
to write the song. So, how did I get
to be an ambassador? I got a telephone
call one day. It was from the director
of Presidential Personnel, a job that I myself held for
the first President Bush. And when the personnel
director came on the line, I realized immediately
two things. One is that it
was about a job because the director of
Presidential Personnel does not idly call people
around the country to find out how
things are going. And I knew it had to
be an important job because she herself
made the call, not a member
of the staff. And it’s true– it was about
becoming an ambassador. And through the process,
it was identified that I would be nominated,
if I so chose, to go to Qatar. Now, I had never
been to Qatar. I knew about it because as a earnest
World Affairs Council member in Houston, and reader of
newspapers and magazines and the rest, I had an
acquaintance with the country in general terms, but
because I’d never been there, I’d never been
posted in the region, it did raise the question
of why this happened. And maybe it’s because
of some of the things that Mike mentioned
in the introduction. It was never said to
me in so many words but there was
a kind of logic. One is I’d been the director
of the Voice of America, too briefly I’m sorry to
say– only about 17 months– at the end of the first
Bush Administration. But because the
all-encompassing major issue and source of aggravation
for my administration when I was selected
was “Al Jazeera.” “Al Jazeera” is
wholly owned by Qatar. It operates out of Qatar
and broadcasts in, now, a number of languages but the
primary language is Arabic. And the voice of
“Al Jazeera” in Arabic, reporting on the war
in Iraq in particular, was considered by
my administration to be a
hostile voice. And therefore, I was
told that that would be one of my prime
assignments was to “do something”
about “Al Jazeera.” And I took on
that assignment and I told them that once
I had “done something” about “Al Jazeera,” that I would offer to do the
same for the “New York Times,” for the “Washington Post”…
(audience laughing) for CBS and all the other
sources of irritation that afflict many a president,
not just that time. So, that was one of the,
perhaps, contributing reasons. The other is that education,
particularly higher education, is very important
in Qatar. It was the original design
of the then-wife of the emir, the mother of
the current emir, to bring the University
of Virginia to Qatar, a entire complete campus and all
of its different disciplines… a very dramatic proposal
that underscored the fact that this very dynamic,
remarkable, and resourceful lady Sheikha Moza
bint Nasser believed very much in
Western education. She herself had not been
to a Western university but she recognized that in
the Western education canon, critical thinking is most
prized and most encouraged. She wanted that in lieu
of the more traditional Eastern hemisphere way
of dealing with education by mere rote
learning. Unfortunately, the University
of Virginia, in the end, turned down her
invitation. This was a stinging
blow at the time but she then hit
upon a better idea. In many ways, it was fortunate
that her original idea did not come to blossom
because what she did was to go to a number of
US universities and select them on the basis
of their particular strengths. And that is why
in Qatar today, there are six
American universities, full four-year institutions
that give the identical diploma in Doha that they give
in their home campus. That was part of the deal,
that it not be considered an adjunct, secondary
level of education but the complete
education. So, as a result,
we have Texas A&M, which is the School
of Engineering, particularly
petroleum engineering. There is Virginia
Commonwealth University, which is the school of
design, interior, fashion, and graphic design. There’s Carnegie Mellon,
which is the School of Information Technology
and Business. There is Weill Cornell, which
is the School of Medicine. There is Georgetown,
which is the School of International Relations
and Larger Liberal Arts. And then, there is
Northwestern University, which has the School
of Communications. This assemblage of universities
is called “Education City.” The Qatar Foundation,
headed by Sheikha Moza, provided the cost of hiring
world-class architects and building
magnificent buildings for each of these
universities to operate in a
campus of campus just outside
of Doha. And there are other
ancillary activities such as Convention
Center, Research and
Development Center and even, if you will,
a university for horses. a world-class stables
called “Shaqab.” In any event, I’d been working
at the University of Texas Health Science Center
as of the time that I got the phone call
from the White House. I had also been the chairman
of the State Board of Education in Texas on appointment of
then governor George W. Bush. The State Board of
Education in Texas, and probably every state,
is a controversial body, and in my office at
the Embassy in Doha, I often pointed to the
certificate of appointment by Governor Bush to the
State Board of Education and saying, “This is why I am
serving in the Middle East.” Is that it was deemed
that, having gone through that particular bit
of controversy, that even the Middle East
should be no problem. So, maybe it was
higher education and I had been involved in
government and politics, having been elected to public
office as a state legislator and to the State Board
of Education. The state of Qatar
is not a democracy but it is a
proto-democracy in that they do elect what’s
called a “municipal council.” Municipal council
is responsible for all the ordinary street
and road and sewer, and other regulatory
requirements of a municipality, but because it is
such a small country, about the size
of Connecticut, the scope of this municipal
council is nationwide rather than just
for one city. So, having been a office-seeker,
an office holder, it was useful, I think,
to be in a place that was just taking early
steps toward democracy. Whatever the reason was,
I was duly nominated and went before
the US Senate. When the hearing happened–
and I should say that 99% of all nominations are very
routine and uncontested, that only the occasional
Kavanaugh or Bork or Gorsuch-style
nominations get the kind of national
attention and controversy that you’ve seen
on television. But when that particular
hearing took place, I had more senators on
my side of the room than on the
other side. That is, the two senators
from Texas were kind enough to introduce me, and be one senator
who was the chair of the Middle East
Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee sat there, asked a
few soft questions, and, in time,
I was confirmed. And when that happened,
we had to go do the job. We arrived in Doha in August,
the middle of August. And if you’ve been in
that part of the world, it is even hotter than
my part of the world. And people said, “How is
it that you came to us “at the worst time,
in middle of August?” And I said, “Well, there
were three reasons. “One is the president
gave me this job, “so I figured I should
start doing it. “The second is that our
daughter is going to go “to the American
School of Doha “and they’re starting
classes next week. “But the third was
the Texas wisdom “that you should eat a bullfrog
for breakfast every morning “because nothing you do the rest
of the day could be as bad.” (audience chuckling)
And that’s how it was, the weather got better
and better and better, and in fact, for about
six months of the year, the Persian Gulf
area is delightful, it’s like Southern
California. The other part, we
won’t talk about but it is, let us say,
endurable especially in a very
wealthy country that has the
finest facilities and definitely doesn’t
have to worry about paying the energy bills to
air-condition it all. In fact, I should say a
little bit about the history of Qatar and its economic
history, in particular. The entire
Persian Gulf area– and I include places
like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha– were, to be very charitable,
backwater villages, fishing villages on the shore
of the Arabian Peninsula. They were not of any great
consequence and for much of the history, the
importance was not the land, but the water, the body of
water that is generally known as the Persian Gulf, but what
is known in the Arab world as the
Arabian Gulf. And the wealth of the
Arabian Gulf was pearling. That was the great
source of income. In fact the only real
source of capital for these little villages
that clung to the shore of the Arabian Peninsula
for centuries. During the hottest
months of the year, which is to say, when the
water was at its warmest, people would go out
in pearl boats. From sunup to sundown,
they would constantly jump into the water,
holding on to a large rock to speed their descent, about
50 feet or so to the seabed. And then, opening their eyes
in that very salty water, without goggles, they would
throw oysters into a crude bag of some sort made out of
rope and yank on the rope for a buddy on the
deck to pull them up. They could hold their
breath underwater for about two minutes, but
that was enough time to gather a bag full of oysters that were
then thrown onto the deck, where nothing was done to
them except the hot sun beating down upon them
that caused the oysters to gasp for breath
and to open up such that, at the
end of the day– that is, when
the sun was down and the evening meal and the
evening prayer was held, then everybody would
gather on the deck and they would
open the oysters, and out of hundreds
or thousands, you might get one or
two or three pearls. These were the common
property of the boat. The captain, of course,
had the largest share but everybody gained
from the income from the sale of the pearls
to merchants from India. And eventually, these
pearls would get to Europe and the
wider world. The great portraits
of Queen Elizabeth I, where she is hung with
strands of pearls, undoubtedly, those pearls
came from the Persian Gulf. And that was the source of
wealth for those centuries until roughly the 1920s, when
a gentleman named Mr. Mikimoto in Japan came up with
the cultured pearl. And when that
happened, the business for
so-called “sea pearls” or “natural pearls”
completely died away. And therefore, the
countries that today are some of the very richest
countries in the world were essentially destitute for a
period of about 20 years or so. That 20-year period included
the discovery of oil in the Persian Gulf
area in the 1930s, and the coming of
the Second World War. And when the Second
World War came, the Persian Gulf was
definitely a backwater to the activities
of the Allies and to the entire
rest of the world. That was the period of
time when the people of that part of the world
were so desperately poor that they depended upon
whatever they could get from the sea or take
from date-palms in order
to survive. When the war ended, roughly
about the year 1950, the oil resources
began to be developed, jobs were created very
slowly as a result of the need for drivers
and laborers, and then came the secondary
benefits of merchants who were able
to sell things and who could become the
distributor for foodstuffs, or Coca-Cola,
or automobiles. And then, things began
rising to the level that we’re more
familiar with, except that in the
case of Qatar, the key time was
the late 1990s, when the new Emir,
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, the husband of Sheikha Moza
who created Education City, decided to go into debt to
develop the gas reserves, which are in immense
quantity under the seabed. A bit of irony that the
wealth of that place such as it was for centuries
was just on the seabed, and the future wealth,
the great wealth of Qatar, is under the seabed,
in a gas field that is shared
with Iran. The international border
down the middle of the Gulf divides the gas
field with Qatar having about
two-thirds of it, Iran having
the remainder. Qatar being the only country
that truly has developed the gas
resources. And by developing, that
means pumping the gas ashore to immense long factories
that are called “trains.” Has nothing to do with
railroads, but a train takes the methane
from the seabed and chills it to
-261 degrees centigrade, at which point it
becomes dense, a liquid. It can be then pumped onto some
of the world’s biggest tankers, and billions of BTUs
can be transported to Europe
or East Asia. -261 degrees
is so cold that when I went to watch
this loading process in the middle of
the summer once, there was thick frost on
the outside of the tankers from that
degree of cold. The nature of the LNG
business was so successful and continues to
be so successful, that the debt that was
incurred by Qatar to develop those gas resources
was more than repaid, and today, Qatar is
the wealthiest country per capita
in the world. And it takes a
little footnote to say a little bit more
about that statistic. You get the per capita wealth,
according to the World Bank, by taking your population and
dividing it into the wealth. Well, the population of Qatar
is about 2.5 million, but the real number is the
number of Qatari citizens. There are only about
300,000 of them, and that’s men, women,
children of all ages. They are the ones who
actually own the wealth. The other 2 million or so
people are expatriate workers, ranging from geophysicists
hired by ExxonMobil or Shell, all the way down to
laborers from Sri Lanka or Nepal or Bangladesh, who
are just barely scraping by, although what they get
is a whole lot more than they would
have back home. So, if you took the 300,000
who really owned the wealth and divided into
the income of Qatar, you get a number so
astronomically high that it is literally
off the chart. What does Qatar do
with this wealth? Well, happily, the
wealth came to Qatar long enough after what hit Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain, other oil-producing
countries in earlier decades, and the Qataris decided
that they did not want to go in for, if
you will, excess. Now, you will see on
the skyline of Doha some amazing
buildings and they have
used their wealth to develop an amazing
airport and seaport, and they have
successfully bid to host the World Cup
in soccer in 2022, all leading to the
construction of something like seven
new stadiums. And all the facilities
required to host a World Cup in the way of freeway access
and Metro, hotels, et cetera. So, that is where
the money is gone but it is also gone into
such things as education, creating education
(mic cuts out). That is because the wealth
is there, undeniable, and it’s certainly wonderful
to have as your regular source of income. But the visionaries of Qatar,
such as Sheikha Moza, wanted to create a society that
depends upon human capital, brainpower, rather like countries like
Singapore or Korea or Taiwan that don’t have very
much, if anything, in the way of
natural resources, but to rely upon the
energy and inventiveness of their
own people. That is what the
Education City and other facilities that have
been developed aim to do, is to create that kind
of a society over time. Once again, it’s wonderful to
have the wealth of the seabed to fall back upon, but
too many other countries that have been
blessed by resources have tended to let that,
if you will, distract them from trying to develop
the larger society. And that’s why– I’ve always
said that if you go to Doha, you will certainly
be impressed by the magnificent
office buildings, the great museums designed
by world-class architects and by the buildings
at Education City, but it’s what you don’t see that
is really the most impressive and that is this approach toward
developing human capital, particularly
that of women. 70% of the
student body in these various six
universities I mentioned are women. And that’s also
because the young men, for a couple
of generations, have been able to go
abroad much more easily than their sisters
and female cousins, and they did not need to have
the Western universities there quite as much as
the young women, whose families were open enough,
if you will, liberal enough for them to have a
Western-style education, but not quite so much as
to send them overseas, certainly not to send
them overseas alone, the way the young men
have done for so long. Well, that’s the most impressive
part of what’s going on. There’s also the
foreign policy angle and that is that
Qatar has exercised, since about
the mid-1990s, an independence
of foreign policy and an aggressiveness
in foreign policy that far outstrips the
size of the country that is very
physically small and has such a tiny
citizen population. It has played a role in almost
every Middle-Eastern conflict, from the situation in
Gaza and the West Bank, to Lebanon,
to Syria, to Yemen, particularly in its own
immediate neighborhood. Plus the fact that Qatar
sought and was elected to a seat on the
UN Security Council, where it then had to take on
not just regional problems but global
problems. This ambition to play
a role is reflection of the particular leader,
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa, the father of
the current emir, and his Foreign Minister
Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim. Together, they were the
ones who pushed Qatar into having this very
forward-leaning foreign policy. One of the other initiatives
done by Sheikh Hamad was to build a
10,000-foot runway in the middle of the desert
on the correct presumption, “Build it and
they will come.” And the “they” that he had in
mind was the United States. For in that year, 1996,
the Saudis invited the United States
to leave. They had had elements
in Saudi Arabia roughly since the time of the
invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, and those elements–
primarily air force elements– remained in Saudi Arabia
until 1996. And we know that, part
of the– well, in fact, the strongest part of the
argument used by Osama bin Laden and others was that the
infidels, the Crusaders, were occupying the
sacred soil of Islam on the Arabian
Peninsula, and that this
was offensive to those of the jihadist
mindset such as Osama bin Laden. And therefore, the kingdom
responded by asking the United States
to depart. Well, it proved to be
very fortuitous for Qatar because it was not very
far to go from those bases in Saudi Arabia to a
prospective new base in Qatar. And the Al Udeid Base,
which is a Qatari base, nevertheless has hosted
American Air Force and other coalition elements
roughly since 1996. Today, it is a fully
developed complex with air operations
around the clock. It also has the
forward headquarters of the US
Central Command. CENTCOM’s actual headquarters
are in Tampa, Florida, at MacDill Air Force Base,
but the forward headquarters is in Doha. And that is a
major asset. It’s one of the reasons why
Qatar was not, in any way, threatened by the imposition of
the blockade by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,
Egypt, and Bahrain when that was imposed
in June of last year. It was a very tense time
because Qatar got about 90% of its food, including meat
and milk, from Saudi Arabia. We don’t usually
think of Saudi Arabia as an agricultural country
but it is a producer. In fact, I found some of the
best fruits and vegetables I’d ever eaten were
those that we got, that came from
Saudi Arabia. That was closed off
in the blockade. There was a crisis
atmosphere for a few days as groceries disappeared
from the shelves, but the Qataris
responded as they could because of their
financial ability to import food from
outside using their fleet of very modern
aircraft. They also had just opened a
very major cold storage plant on the grounds of their
brand-new airport. They also had opened
their brand-new seaport and could import things
by sea directly, without it having to be
transshipped at Jebel Ali, the port
of Dubai. They also worked up a
land bridge arrangement whereby food comes from Turkey,
by truck, through Iran. It’s then boxed in RORO–
“roll-on/roll-off”– vessels that cross the Gulf, unload
the trucks onto Qatar, the trucks go to the
market, unload the gear of whatever they’re
carrying, and then repeat. This is a very fortunate
example of how Turkey has been a good friend of Qatar
in this particular time. And given that connection, you
can see it’s rather natural that Turkey has been as,
shall we say, critical or even hostile
to Saudi Arabia in the most
recent episode, which I imagine we’ll talk
about during question time. (coughing)
I mention all of this because the blockade has
not, at all, succeeded in doing anything to change
Qatar foreign policy. And the number one issue
on the list of demands by the blockading countries
was to unplug “Al Jazeera.” Well, that will
never happen. Other things on the list,
which are equally impossible, such as, in effect,
Qatar withdrawing as a forward-leaning
foreign policy or would likelier happen before
“Al Jazeera” is unplugged because “Al Jazeera”
is such an asset and such a famous
voice of Qatar to the larger part
of the world. There have been dislocations
from the blockade. You cannot– no one can fly
directly between Doha and Dubai, or Doha and Riyadh. You have to go through a third
country such as Kuwait or Oman. There have been some
serious family issues because many Qataris
are married to people of other nationalities
in the Gulf and some of those people were
caught in another country at the time of
the blockade, which meant that they
could not return to Qatar. That, in fact, has become
a human rights question that the United Nations has
been asked to adjudicate. But from an economic
point of view and certainly from a security
point of view, the blockade has not
affected Qatar. In fact, in many ways
it has strengthened it because they’ve become
more efficient, they have examined
how they do things like how
they get food, and that has helped
in the long term. And it has also
strengthened the ruler Sheikh Tamim bin
Hamad al-Thani, the son of Sheikha Moza
and Sheikh Hamad. He has become
almost a celebrity in a way that the modest Qatari
ruler or emirate has never been. You go to many
third-world countries and you see the maximum leader’s
photograph everywhere. That was not the
case in Qatar except photographs that you’d
see in the usual places like a hotel lobby
or a bank. But in Qatar, now, you see
a classic iconic image of the ruler
Sheikh Tamim everywhere– in stickers, on windshields,
on people’s lawns, and on the sides
of buildings. So that has been, if you will,
a unintended consequence of the blockade which instead
of undermining the ruler, has strengthened him. So in conclusion, let me say
that the luck of receiving that phone call and
being posted to Qatar was to introduce my
wife, daughter, and me to a fascinating and
very vital country that, despite its tiny size,
has managed to be the center of so much of what’s going
on in the entire region. And to be a center
of American interest in a succession
of administrations. Well, there are many topics
I have not covered and what I’m going to do
now is to fall silent and take your
questions. And feel free to
ask any other thing that might come
to your mind.>>Yeah, I’ve got
the microphone here. Let’s thank
Ambassador Untermeyer for getting us started…
a marvelous talk. (applause) And I’ve got the
microphone here, so I’ll pass it around and so
everybody can hear the question.>>Yeah, what– could you give us
a little background in the ethnic
structure at Qatar? Were they just
another Arab tribe? Was this sealed off by some
prince that gathered some power, and therefore– is there
essentially no difference between they and on those
Omanis or Saudis or others? Or what is the background
and difference between the different
peoples there in that area?>>Yes, this definitely would
be the question for my wife but, having read her book,
I can answer it. (audience laughing) And that is that, there
is a great deal of kinship in that general area such
that many of the tribes, many of the families have
been in that general area which, of course, for a
long time was un-demarcated. It was just
open desert. And therefore, the nomadic
or Bedouin people would roam wherever
their particular herds or flocks
needed to graze, or where they themselves could
be able to find sustenance. That is one of the reasons– I
believe a very subtle reason– which lies behind the
irritation of Saudi Arabia towards Qatar because, at any
given time in the 20th century, Saudi Arabia could
have occupied Qatar as easily as it occupied other
parts of the Arabian Peninsula, but it didn’t,
and therefore, a place that they
considered insignificant in an earlier time is
now a great challenge because of its wealth and
its independent attitude. So, there are two, if you will,
activity groups. There were the Bedouin, the
nomadic people of the land. And then, there were the
Hadar, which we could say were the seafaring people and
the merchants on the coast who dealt with all
commerce of some sort. Qatar is about
90% Sunni. The 10% who are Shia
are not like the Shia in many other countries
like next door in Bahrain, which tends to be the
lower socioeconomic group. Some of the richest people
in Qatar are Shia. That’s because they
are the descendants of original Persian
merchants originally, who settled in Bahrain,
eventually got to Qatar, and they were the business–
they had the business acumen to take advantage of that
first wealth that came in with the development
of oil resources. And as I mentioned, the
bulk of the population are people who are
from other countries, primarily low-wage
workers. They work on
contract. They will leave after a
certain period of time and likely be replaced by other
people from those countries.>>And Ambassador, you
mentioned that those workers are from many different
religious groups and they’re allowed to
worship as they wish to?>>Yes, the bulk– particularly
from countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan–
are Muslim, but there are other ethnic
groups who have other religions. There are a large number
of Indians in Qatar. In fact, there are far more
people of from South Asia than there
are Qataris. I always said that I had a
very easy job as US ambassador. I, of course, had to deal
with strategic, international, economic issues but
the Indian ambassador was like the mayor of the
biggest city in Qatar. That is, the hundreds
of thousands of Indians looked to the embassy to
try to be of assistance whenever they had
any kind of problems, such as labor
disputes. And that was a job that
I did not have to have. The American population
in Doha was quite happy as long as the American school
of Doha was running well, it– they were happy, and
I didn’t have to worry about my constituency
that way, the way the Indian
ambassador did. And the Indians who
are working in Qatar tend to come from the
southwest coast of India which is the Christian
part of India. So for the most part, the
Indians who are in Qatar are Catholics, and the Filipinos are,
of course, Catholics. They’re there largely
because they have English language
skills. So Filipinos tend to have
next higher level of job where you need English
skills such as working in a hotel or restaurant
or some other place with contact to the larger
international community. And I should say, finally, that
the former Emir Sheikh Hamad designated a very
large tract of land outside of Doha for
the construction of Christian
churches. And that started with
the Catholic Church because Catholics
were, and remain, the largest Christian
element in Qatar. But there are also churches
for Anglican/Protestants, the Coptic
religions of Egypt, and the Orthodox religions of
Greek and Eastern Orthodox. So that is a very
radical thing in as much as next
door in Saudi Arabia, no one can practice any
religion except Islam, unless they are
clandestine.>>I wonder, do many of the
citizens work full-time jobs or do they primarily
live off stipends from the
government? And secondly, what percentage
of the population that are still citizens
are still Bedouin?>>Hmm, you know, I wish
I could answer the question. The Bedouin stock is by far
the largest stock of Qataris but there are essentially
no Bedouins left– people who wander
through the desert. Their descendants are now
working in the kinds of jobs that the bulk of this
citizen population have, such as government
positions. That is true incidentally
of the other parts of the Arabian Peninsula
where government employment is a very, very high,
in many ways, excessively high
economic engagement, versus the
private sector. Now, I would estimate maybe
70% of the actual jobs held are in some way
government jobs. The 30% are purely
private sector. But a large number of the people
who have government jobs, shall we say, do not
work full-time. They, in fact, will leave
early in the afternoon to go tend to
their business. So many of the people
who are in government also are in
business. These are family
businesses. There is entrepreneurial
activity to be sure. But for the most part,
it is the government that tends to
hire people. Now, the National Petroleum
Company– is that government? Is it a private? They operate as if they
are a private company and independent oil
producer, but, of course, it’s owned
by the state. When I say “government,”
I’m thinking people who work in ministries
of some sort or another. And that is a kind
of subsidized living. There are other kinds of
subsidies that people who are citizens receive,
such as free healthcare, including being treated
for any disease anywhere in
the world. And when that happens, you can
take family members with you at government cost. Their education
is to the ultimate– you want to pursue education
also anywhere in the world. With regard to the medical
care, when I’ve come back from flights
to Doha– I’m leaving in 48 hours
to go there, and a week from Friday
when I come back. When I step off the
Qatar Airways plane into the jetway, there will be
a line of 20 to 25 wheelchairs ready to take patients
from off the flight to go to the institutions of
the Texas Medical Center, primarily the MD Anderson
Cancer Center and the Texas
Heart Institute. So that’s just an example of
how healthcare is subsidized. And it’s one of those many
benefits of being a citizen.>>You mentioned that Qatar is
going to host the World Cup in 2022 during the
summer, and, uh…>>Actually it’s going
to be in the fall. Normally, it’s in the summer
but they’re moving it– FIFA is moving it
to the fall.>>Ah, okay– can you–
do you have any thoughts about how that’s
going to go, how they’re going
to manage the heat and all the tourism
and attention?>>Yes, I’ve always
said about Qatar that if it’s a problem that can
be solved by writing a check, then it is a problem
that can be solved. And this is a problem being
solved by the construction of stadiums– I’ll get
back to those in a moment– hotels, and all other
kinds of facilities to take care
of people. In fact, the infrastructure is
definitely going to be in place and for soccer fans who
might like to go watch the World Cup
in 2022, this will be the
easiest of all because it is such
a small country. People will be able to
see three games in a day just by jumping
on the metro and going to a different
neighborhood in Doha where there’s a new
world-class stadium available
for them. As opposed to the way it
is when World Cups are held in large countries
like Brazil or Russia, where people have
to get on airplanes and maybe would be lucky
to see one game a day, and probably less
likely than that. The stadiums are built
according to FIFA standards. FIFA requires
stadiums to be open. And that is defined in
some way that the models that I’ve seen of all
the stadiums are enclosed except to that point that
is considered the minimum amount of
openness. Air-conditioning is
going to be pumped in through the
stadium. The FIFA concern is
not about the audience but about the players
on the field, so the field has to be at
a particular temperature. And that’s what these great
gusts of air conditioners are going to do. I’ve said that I
would like to have the “parka concession”
during the World Cup…
(audience laughing) because it’s going to be very
cold sitting in those stadiums. Some of the stadiums,
incidentally, were designed to be deconstructed, and they will be given to
countries in the Third World to become
their stadiums. So, there will be a secondary
life for the stadiums in the future because after
the World Cup is over, you don’t really
need nine stadiums, and they can get by
with three or four.>>Over here.
>>Yes?>>How do you become a citizen?
(audience laughing) (audience laughing)>>It is possible to
become a Qatari citizen but it is like becoming
a British Lord. That is, it doesn’t
happen to everybody. You have to have
special merit. Also, it helps
to be Muslim, although there is a gentleman
with a wonderful name of Dr. Ibrahim Ibrahim who
was an American citizen but he was the energy adviser
to the former emir. And he was granted
citizenship. And he proudly called himself
the “only Christian Qatari.” But everybody else–
it is just a rare thing that anybody can
become a citizen. There certainly is
no naturalization or other process by
which people go through. It’s granted from the top
by grace of the emir.>>(with accent) Excuse me.
>>Yes.>>How about those athletes,
especially football– I hate the
word “soccer” ’cause you American
called something “football”– it’s not a ball, and you
don’t play with foot. So again, my question
is about the athletes who’ve been granted
citizenship. A lot of them come from
South America or Africa. Most of them come from
non-Muslim background. So are they real citizens
or just citizen for purpose? And when they’re done, they have
to get back their citizenship. I’m just interested to
know about that, if you–>>Yes, I haven’t examined their
contracts to know about that. It is clear that there’s an
advantage to being an athlete in order to get citizenship,
but even that is rather rare. And it depends on what
the FIFA rules are with regard to competition
and I, frankly, don’t know what
those are. But you are describing
that the bulk of people who are made citizens
are usually athletes or others who have a
particular valuable skill. I mentioned Dr. Ibrahim–
his valuable skill was knowledge of
the energy industry.>>You mentioned that the
boycott by Saudi Arabia and UAE and others
is not effective. How do you see
that playing out? What other types of pressure
do you expect these nations to impose upon
this country?>>The blockade has not
succeeded in the strategic sense that the planners
wanted. It does have these
inconveniences to family issues
that I mentioned, but nothing that’s going
to destabilize the state, cause a change of regime,
or any financial difficulty. There has been a cost,
there’s no doubt, that it is
not helpful but Qatar can survive because
it’s got a small population and great wealth. I tend to think the
answer to your question as to how it’s going to end
is it will end quietly. It will just
sort of go away, largely because it is
such an embarrassment, particularly to Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, and especially
Mohammed bin Zayed of the United
Arab Emirates, who many people feel was the
real mastermind of the blockade. It’s such an
embarrassment to them that they embarked on this
and it hasn’t succeeded that it’s not going
to lead, I think, to a peace conference
of some sort where a document will be signed
and fraternal embraces engaged. It will just
kind of go away. And if it really
lasts a while, I would suspect that the onset
of the World Cup in 2022 will make a difference because
I would imagine many Saudis and Emiratis of high-level would
like to go to the World Cup, and they’re gonna have
to end their blockade in order to get there…
(audience chuckling) and, I suspect,
to get tickets.>>Thank you. You mentioned some
70% of the students at the universities
were female. What percentage of the workforce
or of the government positions are held
by females?>>I would estimate
something like 25% to 30%. But that is a sharply
rising number because the young
women recognize that they have
every opportunity. They have certainly
every opportunity from an educational point
of view to pursue degrees. They are, as a result,
very energetic, ambitious, and
very capable. Meanwhile, their brothers and
male cousins are, right now, in Starbucks and they’re
looking at their phones or they’re going out and racing
their cars in the desert. I don’t want to condemn
them as a group because there are
many young men who are also very energetic,
ambitious, and able. But, at the end
of the day, they know that their families
will certainly sustain them in some form
or fashion. And the young women are
the ones who recognize they have these
opportunities in government, or the National Petroleum
Company, or working abroad. That is very exciting and
that’s why I’m convinced that they are the
truly dynamic force. This was recognized
by Sheikha Moza and by her
husband. And it’s the proof of
why the Arab world and other countries,
by keeping women down, are denying themselves
huge human energy resources to develop
their countries. And it’s very
impressive as a result. It also, I might add,
has a sociological angle and that is that many
young women do want to marry and have families, but marriages are still
arranged between families in that part
of the world. It usually happens in that a
mother or grandmother or aunt will basically
inform a young woman whom the family has decided
that she will marry. And for eons, that
was always accepted. Now, imagine a young woman
who graduated from Texas A&M and is working
as an engineer in the National
Petroleum Company is told that she is– or
her family has decided that she is to marry
her cousin Achmed. And she might
say, “Achmed? “I mean, he barely
finished high school, “and he’s, right now, racing
his car in the desert.” And that’s true. That is– you
can see already that even though men still
have a commanding position and wealth in
that society, they are not necessarily
at the same level, from an educational or
professional point of view, as their
prospective brides. And this– well,
I can’t tell you how the story is
going to end. That is a drama that’s probably
being played out every day now in modern Qatar.>>In your role
as ambassador, how do you work with the
career Foreign Service officers that we’re also
at the Embassy?>>Yes, that’s
a very good question because there is
no necessary tension between career Foreign Service
and non-career officers. I’m sure it has
happened in the past and probably has happened
with those so-called “political appointees”
who, for reasons of their own mistaken analysis
or what somebody told them, has been told, “You can’t
trust those people. “You have to
watch them. “You have to be
on your guard.” That, to me, is the wrong way
for any political appointee in any department
of the government to deal with
career people. And I’m talking about the
Department of Commerce and the Department of Energy,
and the Department of Defense. Those are places where
political appointees can arrive, and
it’s their choice. If they want to believe that
the people they’re working with are sneaky and untrustworthy
and out to get them, then they’ll probably
find that to be true. That is, it will be a
self-fulfilling prophecy. But those who feel like
they can they can benefit from the expertise and
experience of those people, and who have the people
skills to bring them into line with
administration policies, can usually find
cooperation. And yes, in a federal government
that has millions of civilian and military
personnel, there are bound to
be some who are what we’re now popularly told
is called “the deep state,” people who want to sabotage
the policies of the president. There’s bound to be
people like that, but, for the most part,
the Career Service, be it the Foreign Service,
the civil service, or the military service,
wait for leadership. And that was
my attitude, that I would provide
that leadership and I would trust people
until they disappointed me… but I, with few exceptions,
didn’t find that to be the case. I found Foreign Service
officers and other professionals
with whom I dealt to be there waiting for guidance
and, if they needed motivation, then I was there to
provide that motivation. It’s an ancient battle that
will never be finished and never adjudicated as
to what kind of person makes a good
ambassador. Is that the career
Foreign Service officer who has had many
years of experience and may have language skills
and cultural knowledge that the political
appointee lacks? Or is it the
political appointee who might have the
people skills, particularly the skills
of a business executive who has many product lines
and many branch offices and many, many
employees, who has to be able to get
everybody to work together for the common good– that is,
the good of the company. And there are arguments
to be made on both sides, and, as I say, it
will never be ended. Also, there’ll be people
who fervently believe that it’s only one
side or the other. But as always, it depends
upon the individuals and how they decide
to interact. Let’s see, this side of
the room, for some reason, is not as curious as
this side of the room. (audience laughing)
>>Much to the delight of the Iranians, the murder
of Khashoggi in Istanbul has dominated the news in
the last couple of weeks. How has the
emir reacted? And is there any
relevance of Qatar to Saudi Arabia
in that respect? And how did “Al Jazeera”
cover the news?>>Yes, I wish I could answer
the “Al Jazeera” question, from certain knowledge, but
I think it would be said that all they have to do
is just report the facts… the facts that are known,
or at least to interview the people who are
giving their views. There is nothing to be
gained by the state of Qatar, or, for that matter,
“Al Jazeera” by trying to propagandize
this episode. After all, the Qataris,
the Qatari government, doesn’t have to do a thing
with regard– or say anything with regard to what’s going
on because their blockader, the Saudi government, is making
a general mess of matters, and therefore, it can only
redound to the benefit by comparison
for Qatar. I don’t believe
that any statement has been made
officially other than what other countries,
including the United States, have said that there should
be a complete investigation, that the facts
should come out, that we should withhold
judgment until those facts are revealed
and weighed. And that’s the
proper response for any particular country,
including our own. But to say again, the way
that it has been mishandled by the Saudi government
does redound by inference or by, let’s say,
counter-positioned to Qatar’s benefit, just because these are the
people who have blockaded Qatar, and it doesn’t make them
look any more attractive or impressive.>>I’ve talked to a
few Qatari young men who describe having
studied abroad, live the frat life,
then come back to Doha and cloak their
wild ways, but, behind the scenes, they’re
still very much experiencing a broader view of the
world, religion, and that. Any sense of how you see the
future of Islam in Qatar as the younger generation
gets more and more exposed to Western education
and pluralism and some of
those ideas?>>Yes, it should be noted that
Qatar is of the Wahhab strain of Islam, the same
as Saudi Arabia. And people say, “Well, it
means public executions, “or women forced to be
veiled,” et cetera. And the answer
is “no.” It points out how
cultural differences are much more
determinative and there can be such
cultural differences amongst very
similar people, essentially, identically
the same across a border. In Saudi Arabia, because of
the 250-year-old agreement between the al-Saud
and the al-Wahhab, whereby the Saudis were
came the temporal rulers and the Wahhabi became the
spiritual leaders or guides, that has created a
different society, a different culture
in Saudi Arabia then you see next
door in Qatar. So you can say that Wahhabi
Islam is very conservative, but it isn’t necessarily
therefore jihadist or Salafist in any way that
would cause the society to act a
particular way. But I do emphasize
the fact that it is a
conservative society. That men and women
both dress modestly– that’s an important
point to make that often people think
that if women wear veils or if they choose
to hide their face, that this is
imposed on them. It is not imposed
on them in Qatar, but women choose to
dress like that because they are,
by nature, conservative, at least in amongst
themselves in Qatar. If they travel abroad or within
the confines of the home, they will dress, I’m reliably
informed by my wife, either in very elegant
couture from Europe or in jeans and
sweatshirts. But outside on the street
or in formal gatherings, they will be dressed
in a traditional way. So that kind of attitude
is much more likely to be untroubled
or unaffected by such things as foreign
travel, foreign study, exposure to Western
notions of doing things because that kind of
benefit, if you will, of different forms of expression
or different forms of opinion is being encouraged
in Qatar, especially through
these universities. It might be less so across
the border in Saudi Arabia, but in Qatar, it
is encouraged. And yet, to look at the
people and to quiz them on their faith, you will get
pretty much the same answer.>>(indistinct).>>And then, we’ll go
back to the left.>>I was just wondering
if you could tell us about any of the
personalities that you interacted in
a official capacity in the Qatari’s
government, people in the country’s
foreign ministry, for example, people in high
society in Qatar. Didn’t know if
you had any.>>Yes, well, once again,
a very small country with a very, very small
leadership group. A very talented
leadership group. And the principal
personalities I dealt with, who now seem almost like
the founding fathers of a modern state, began with the Emir
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, who took over from his
father in a palace coup. To call it a “coup” suggests
tanks and weapons and troops. This was more a matter
of calling his father, who was vacationing in
the South of France, and telling him not to
show up at the office the next week…
(audience laughing) that he was now in charge
and he had the support of the other members
of the family. And that was because it
was felt that his father, Sheikh Khalifa, had
been, essentially, hoarding
the money, which at that time
came entirely from oil as opposed to gas, rather than to spread it and
develop the rest of the economy. So it was
Sheikh Hamad, with his amazing, remarkable
partner Sheikha Moza, who began, once they
attained power, to develop the
gas resources, to have a outward-leaning
foreign policy, to acquire “Al Jazeera,”
to build an Education City, to construct a
10,000-foot runway and get the United States to
have a strategic relationship. All that began in a very
short period of time. Just two
decades ago. Another key player was
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, who was the foreign
minister and prime minister, and– on his own,
his private business– an exceedingly
wealthy man who has many, many
business interests globally. And he, together
with the emir, were very much the
intellectual force and the personal force that
brought about the modern state. And then, there was a marvelous
man, Abdullah Al Attiyah who was the
Energy Minister. And it was he who
provided the leadership and the knowledge to
develop the gas resource and to
market it. He became president of
OPEC about six times because of the respect his
fellow energy ministers had. So those three, in particular–
and there were many other important leaders
of the state, but in my dealings, frankly,
just those three people were pretty
much the core. I left out a finance
minister named Yusuf Kemal, who’s very, very
sophisticated and was able to hold his own
with other finance ministers from the
Western world. So, that group, and
they’re retired now, is less– were very much
the founding fathers. I should say that
Sheikh Hamad, the emir who did
all these things, voluntarily transferred
power to his son, Sheikh Tamim,
in 2013. He had served 18 years as emir,
he didn’t have to step down. There was not any
political problem. He was not gonna get a
phone call from his son, telling him not to
show up at the office. But he voluntarily
did it… and that is rare, very rare
in the Middle East. In fact, you remember
Hosni Mubarak was the president
of Egypt. He was a president of Egypt
roughly for 30, 35 years. A scholar told me that that
meant that Hosni Mubarak, in the 5,000 years
of Egyptian history, was the third
longest-ruling individual. And the story was told how
one night, the spirit of Allah appeared in the study
of Hosni Mubarak. And Allah said, “Hosni, it’s
time for you to say goodbye “to your people.” And Mubarak looked up
and said, “Really? “Where are they going?”
(audience laughing) So that was the attitude
that Sheikh Hamad decided to challenge by
voluntarily stepping down and passing
on power. But his son had
been raised to rule and was ready to rule
when the time came.>>You mentioned that
Saudi Arabia and Qatar have bad relations. And Turkey has become
an ally of Qatar. Do you think there’s any
influence with Turkey’s behavior or attitude with
the assassination, trying to help Qatar maybe
get the blockade ended?>>Well, the answer
your question says more about
modern Turkey than even
Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And that is a rather
remarkable development. We all know that
the Ottoman Empire went out of business
roughly in 1918 and, as such,
Turkey, in effect, became a unitary state on
the Anatolian Peninsula, a little bit of Europe on the
other side of the Bosphorus. In modern times, Turkey
has become a much more outward-looking place to realize that it can
have great influence in its former Empire
and in associated areas like Central Asia that
have Turkic influence over the
centuries. So, much better than
being a sultan of old, where you had to govern hostile
peoples in the territory, Recep Tayyip Erdogan realizes
that he can exercise a great deal of influence
through economics. And as a result there,
for many years, been great investments
by Turkey in Qatar and Qatar
in Turkey. There have been
prime contracts given to Turkish construction
companies to build museums and hospitals
and hotels and other major
landmarks in Qatar. So, if you will, the
current attitude that Erdogan is
demonstrating in this speaks more to his leadership
in the Muslim world than it does necessarily to
his being allied with Qatar and Qatar having problems across
the border with Saudi Arabia. Now there, needless to say,
is a lot of overlap and I wouldn’t say they
are totally disconnected, but I do believe that the
position Erdogan has taken is his larger view of
the role of Turkey in that part
of the world. Yes?>>(with accent)
I have two question. The first question
is, as you know, Qatar has a good relationship
with Taliban. At the same time, we are in
Afghanistan fighting Taliban. How would you
see that? Is that politically? The second question I have–
Qatar such a small country. Why they have to
buy F-15, F-16? What’s the reason
for that? Are they go to war
with anybody?>>Talking about the
relationship with Taliban, this is very important because
in the list of arguments that the blockading countries
listed against Qatar, Qatar’s having relations
with Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah,
Muslim Brotherhood, were very much I would say
right under the broadcasts of “Al Jazeera” as
an aggravation. But the
answer is… the old word
“realpolitik,” that World Affairs Councils
get thrown at them from time to time,
and that is, these entities–
Taliban in Afghanistan, Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah
in Southern Lebanon, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt–
are facts on the ground. They exist. They are powers in
those countries. And it’s been the
view of Qatar– and this is one of those bits
of independent attitude and foreign affairs that
has gotten it cross-ways from time to time with
even allied nations like the
United States. It believes that it needs to
have ties with these entities because they
are facts. This is particularly true with
the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Now, the fact that Qatar has
ties to the Muslim Brotherhood has been a major source of
aggravation, of course, by Egypt but also by Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates. And yet, in 2011, when
the Egyptians were allowed to have a free election,
the Muslim Brotherhood won. And I predict that if ever
Egypt has a free election again, the Muslim Brotherhood will
probably win that as well. It’s just the fact that
they are very powerful and very
influential. This specific item you
mentioned, the Taliban… equals not that they
have good relations, but they have
relations. That is, they
invited the Taliban to open an office
in Doha. Why did they ask the
Taliban to do it? It’s because the
United States asked Qatar to invite the Taliban
to operate out of Doha, so that we have a means of
communicating with this entity that we’ve been at war
with for 17 years. And that is of use
to the United States. It’s also of use to
the United States to have an entity that
can talk, as need be, to rather noxious elements like
Hamas and Hezbollah, as well. The other question you
asked had to do with… remind me, please.
>>(indistinct).>>Yes, about the
defense build-up. For many years, which is to say,
during the time of Sheikh Hamad, the father of the
current emir, Qatar did not invest
in arms at all. It did have half a dozen
French Mirage Fighters and that was
about it. And this was because
Sheikh Hamad– first of all, he had been
the defense minister under his father. And when he
became the emir, he kept the Defense Ministry
unto himself. And why was that? That was because he knew
that defense ministers have a great appetite
to buy things and to buy
weapons systems. He had other plans
for the money of Qatar. Building universities,
building hospitals, building roads,
sending people abroad. All those uses of money
was what he wanted to do. He did not want it to
be diverted for arms, largely in the grounds
that they weren’t gonna go to war with
anybody. They had the United States
there to defend them against Iran in
the first instance and maybe unfriendly neighbors
in a second instance. Sheikh Tamim, the new emir– or
new for the last five years– has always been
interested in defense, security, and
intelligence. So it’s very much his initiative
to begin to purchase arms from the
United States, which is another change because
France was the arms supplier, such as it was,
in prior years. So, essentially, Qatar is
doing what the neighbors have. The neighbors– that is,
United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia– also
have American fighters and other
military craft. It isn’t necessary for
actual war-fighting but Qatar did get involved
militarily in Libya, in the fall
of Gaddafi. The six Mirages, or at least
those that could still fly, were sent to Libya to
participate in Allied efforts against the remnants
of the Gaddafi regime. But why does
any country– I mean, why does
the United States have the military
power that we have? Some people wonder why
we have excessive amounts of planes and missiles
and ships, et cetera. And that is, it’s hard
to say for any country what is too much, but there’s always the
danger of having too little. And I think a combination
of self-defense and smart alliances, such
as with the United States, is a good model
for Qatar.>>Hey, it is 8:15, so
we’re gonna dismiss now, but if you didn’t get a chance
to have your question asked, the ambassador will be here
for a few more minutes. Please come up to the front
and ask him your question. Let’s thank him again
for a great discussion. (applause) Very, very, very
enlightening. We’ve had two
great sessions. We’re gonna take a
little bit of a hiatus, but November 13,
we will be back here and Dr. Abdullah Alrebh
will be leading us in a conversation
on Saudi Arabia that should be
extremely interesting. And then, a week later,
on the 20th, we’re gonna be
talking about Yemen. So take a little bit of
a break but do come back November 13 and 20,
and join us again. Thank you.

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