Nytt

Anthony Shadid bruker Qatar som eksempel på den rådende tendens i Midtøsten: mer eller mindre sekulære diktatorer faller og erstattes av islamistiske partier.

Det er en lekse Vesten ikke helt har innstilt seg på eller vet hvordan man takler: Brede islamistpartier vinner frem i det nye Midtøsten.

Bildet er komplekst: emiren av Qatar spiller på flere strenger: han styrer al Jazeera, han er pådriver for NATOs intervensjon i Libya, han har bestemt seg for at president Bashar al-Assads tid er omme. Qatar var pådriver da Den arabiske liga suspenderte Syria sist lørdag.

Samtidig er emiren buddy med Det muslimske brorskap og Yusuf Qaradawi. Det er altså ikke en vestlig frihet emiren representerer, men et islamistisk samfunn, om enn moderat. Emiren er bestevenn med Gannouchi, leder av Ennadha-partiet i Tunisia.

But for all the contradictions in its policies — and there are many — Qatar is advancing a decisive shift in Arab politics that many in the West have yet to embrace: a Middle East dominated by mainstream Islamist parties brought to power in a region that is more democratic, more conservative and more tumultuous.

“Qatar is a country without ideology,” said Talal Atrissi, a Lebanese political analyst and commentator. “They know that the Islamists are the new power in the Arab world. This alliance will lay the foundation for a base of influence across the region.”

Qatar har gitt amerikanerne base hvor det er stasjonert 12.000 soldater, det er mange i et land med bare 225000 innbyggere.

Forholdet til USA er ikke uproblematisk, fordi emiren er vennligsinnet overfor islamistene.

Yusuf Qaradawi, an influential Egyptian Islamist figure, calls it home. So did Ali Sallabi, a prominent Libyan Islamist. Khaled Meshal, Hamas’s leader, has a residence here, and speculation is rife that the Taliban in Afghanistan may open an office. American schools and companies, situated in the most modern of complexes, are also based here.

Qatar grep direkte inn i Libya på opprørernes side med instruktører og penger.

Money proved instrumental in Qatar’s role in Libya this year. Diplomats say hundreds of millions were funneled to the opposition, often through channels Qatar had cultivated with expatriates here, in particular Mr. Sallabi and Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the head of the Tripoli Military Council who once led an Islamist insurgency in Libya. A Libyan opposition channel was set up in Doha. Qatar dispatched Western-trained advisers, who helped finance, train and arm Libyan rebels.

in Lebanon, the emir was welcomed as a hero by Hezbollah’s supporters last year for helping rebuild towns Israel destroyed in 2006.

Unlike Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar enjoys close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, in its various incarnations in Libya, Syria and Egypt, as well as with figures like Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the Tunisian Islamist, all of whom are almost certain to play a crucial role in the next generation of Arab politics.

Det som forvirrer vestlige observatører er at Qatar har utviklet en soft power som Vesten tror følger samme prinsipper som dem selv.

Men al Jazeera er annerledes.

But it also has what might be described as the Qatari equivalent of soft power: the influence of Al Jazeera, which the emir founded and finances, and which more and more reflects Qatari foreign policy; ties with Mr. Qaradawi, who has his own network of prominent Islamists in the region; and the emir’s own knack for involving Qatar in conflicts as far-flung as Afghanistan and the Darfur region of Sudan.

Qatar Wields an Outsize Influence in Arab Politics