Author: falsetto Source: falsetto (official account ID: lxlong20) has been authorized to reprint
The controversial Qatar World Cup is in full swing.
In the opening game of the World Cup, the host Qatar opened the door and lost.
Later, Iran fought against England. The Iranian team refused to sing the national anthem to support the domestic protesters.
The biggest surprise in the group game was Saudi Arabia’s sudden victory over Argentina.
This is the only World Cup held in winter in history, and the public opinion has always suspected that there is some unknown exchange of interests between FIFA officials and the Middle East local tyrants.
This Qatar World Cup:
No beer was allowed, but all kinds of warmest celebrations were held.
Strictly abide by the dress code (including women can’t wear clothes with bare shoulders and men can’t take off their tops to celebrate), but invited the most popular Korean band singer to sing the theme song of the opening ceremony.
The most expensive expenditure in history ($220 billion), however, announced to improve the country’s image on the international stage.
In a sense, the controversy of the Qatar World Cup is the reaction of Qatar tearing. Before talking about the tearing of Qatar, we must first understand the place of Qatar.
01 Where is Qatar
Qatar is a typical pocket sized country, with an area of only 11500 square kilometers (roughly equivalent to Tianjin, Qingdao or Xuzhou in China, and not as large as Beijing, the capital). It has no clear provincial administrative divisions and centers on some major cities; However, it has a coastline of 563 kilometers, which is a peninsula.
If you look at Qatar on a map, it looks like this:
Located in the middle of the Persian Gulf, it is accompanied by the sea;
Only Saudi Arabia is a neighboring country, but its relations are not very good, and it almost broke off diplomatic ties.
It is not far from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but the relationship is also very general (the two countries are the younger brothers of Saudi Arabia).
Facing Iran across the Persian Gulf, relations are also volatile.
Almost all Middle East countries have a long history, but Qatar is an exception.
Because the Qatari Peninsula is a barren land and was once a part of the Arab Empire. From the 16th century to the 18th century (1517~1776), the Qatari Peninsula was successively colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands.
It was not until 1846 that Sani Bin Mohammed established the Emirate of Qatar; But it was soon swallowed by the Ottoman Empire (1872).
In 1882, Britain invaded the Persian Gulf. As the British Empire was a sea power empire, it was interested in the strategic position of the Qatari Peninsula and declared Qatar as the “protected area” of Britain. It was from then on that the Qatari Peninsula began its modernization, with government structures, police forces, transportation and logistics, schools and education and other social infrastructures.
After World War II, the British Empire collapsed. However, Qatar did not officially declare its independence until September 3, 1971.
Qatar is only a small country that has been independent for only half a century, but it advocates to improve its national image externally, which is to say, to pass on certain values.
In essence, the traditional culture of the Middle East has nothing to do with Qatar.
Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Iran and other countries represent the long history of the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia represents the traditions of Arab countries and Islamic Sunnis.
Iran represents ancient Persian civilization and Islamic Shiite.
Türkiye represents the culture of the Great Ottoman Empire.
Qatar has only two characters – prosperity; The elements that can radiate outward are all based on strong wealth. For this reason, Qatar has made this World Cup the most expensive one.
Other countries spent tens of billions of dollars on the World Cup. Qatar directly killed all the organizers.
Qatar is now one of the richest countries in the global village.
In 2021, Qatar’s per capita GDP will reach 61000 US dollars, ranking 10th in the world; If measured by purchasing power, Qatar’s per capita GDP in 2021 will be close to US $100000, ranking fourth in the world.
Qatar’s national fortune is reflected in the demographic changes:
In 1950, about 25000;
In 1960, about 47000;
In 1970, about 110000;
In 1980, about 220000 yuan;
In 1990, about 470000;
In 2000, about 600000;
In 2010, about 1.85 million;
About 2.7 million yuan in 2020.
Of the 2.7 million people in Qatar, the Qatari nationality is only 320000 (12%). The remaining foreign population (including 650000 Indians, 350000 Nepalese, 280000 Bangladeshis, 260000 Filipinos, 200000 Egyptians, 145000 Sri Lankans, 125000 Pakistanis, etc.) serves the Qataris.
In an interview with a rich man in Qatar, he said this heartfelt words: “My daughter is very annoying. She doesn’t want to go out to work. But work is an attitude of life, a kind of professionalism. I am so rich that I can’t put down the luxury car at home. But I still work three hours a day, sometimes even work overtime until 2 p.m., few Qataris are so pragmatic now.”
But Qataris were not rich at first, and could be said to be very poor.
In ancient times, Arabs generally lived on nomadism, and the Qatari Peninsula could not graze. Most of the areas were barren plains covered with sandy soil, which were extremely hot. The aborigines of the Qatari Peninsula live mainly by collecting pearls, which is very different from the nomadic people in the Middle East. This is one of the reasons for the poor relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
In the 1920s, when Japanese cultured pearls entered the world market, Qatar’s pearls lost their competitiveness, and the originally poor Qataris became even poorer.
However, there is no way out. Qatar discovered oil. In 1935, Qatar Petroleum Development Company was established. Subsequently, Qatar’s oil and gas reserves were continuously discovered, which greatly changed the economy of the whole country. The energy industry has gradually replaced the original pearl mining industry and become the most important source of income for the country.
If there is only oil, Qatar does not dare to challenge Saudi Arabia. Its largest bottom gas comes from natural gas.
There is a huge gas field under the Qatari Peninsula. Qatar’s natural gas reserves are not the largest in the world, but it has an incomparable advantage that it is concentrated in an oil and gas field called North South Pars, with low exploitation costs.
The total area of the North South Pars oil and gas field is about 9700 square kilometers,
3700 square kilometers in the north is located in the Iranian waters, which is called the South Pars gas field (but Iran has limited exploration capacity due to sanctions);
The 6000 square kilometers in the south is located in the waters of Qatar, known as the North Gas Field, which is the economic pillar of Qatar
With the Northern Gas Field alone, all Qataris can lie there and eat delicious food.
In addition, because the gas field is shared with Iran, Qatar needs to improve its relations with Iran, which makes Saudi Arabia very unhappy and has become one of the initiators of the conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Here we can find that Qatar is in a very unfavorable situation:
First of all, Qatar is a tiny country with huge wealth, which is easy to be remembered.
Secondly, Qatar is caught between Saudi Arabia and Iran along the Persian Gulf, which is very uncomfortable.
Third, Saudi Arabia and Iran are not simply a national confrontation, but also a millennium religious dispute between Sunnis and Shiites.
Qatar must have enough wisdom to survive and keep its wealth.
03 Survival of Small Countries
The first way for Qatar to survive is to hold the US military tightly.
Although Qatar is a small area, it has the largest air base of the United States in the Arab region, namely the famous Udaid Air Base (35 kilometers southwest of Doha, the capital of Qatar), with more than 4400 U.S. troops stationed.
Although the situation in the Persian Gulf is complex, the US military is still the leader. As long as we hold the American troops’ thighs tightly, Qatar can exchange peace. Here, we have to admire the layout of the United States. The layout of the navy and air force along the Persian Gulf directly deterred the energy base of the global village.
The second way for Qatar to survive is to create the right of public opinion.
In the Middle East, Qatar, a small country with few people, has a weak sense of historical existence, but it can build a modern voice.
The most important television station in the whole Islamic world, the famous Al Jazeera Radio, was created by Qatar. Al Jazeera can broadcast all important news in the Middle East at the first time. For example, the video of bin Laden’s speech was broadcast on Al Jazeera TV at the first time after the 911 incident.
The existence of Al Jazeera TV has greatly enhanced the status of Qatar.
Many other important international conferences were held in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Far from it, in the process of retaking Afghanistan, the Taliban often contacted with various forces in Doha. This has also raised the status of Qatar.
But these routines are mainly for the elite. Qatar also has a set of tricks to enhance the sense of existence among ordinary people, that is, to build soft power through cultural and sports channels.
Qatar’s third way to survive is to invest heavily in culture and sports.
04 The third way to survive
In today’s world, how can small bullet countries gain more attention from ordinary people? Competitive sports is an important way.
Qatar has three main means to participate in competitive sports:
The first method is to hold a large-scale sports meeting to demonstrate the strong economic strength.
In 2006, Doha hosted the 16th Asian Games;
From 2008 to 2010, Doha hosted the International Women’s Tennis Tour Championship;
In 2010, Qatar defeated Japan, South Korea and other competitors and won the right to host the 22nd Football World Cup. No matter how controversial the World Cup is, it will undoubtedly enhance the popularity of Qatar, a small bullet country, in the global village.
Second, invest in well-known clubs.
Among all competitive sports, football has the largest audience, so Qatar has targeted football.
The Qatar consortium has sponsored many big clubs (such as Barcelona, Bayern, etc.), but the real big deal is to buy the Paris Saint Germain Club and bring in super stars such as Mbape, Messi, Neymar, etc., all of which are in the limelight for a while.
Paris has not yet won the Champions League, but it has become the most talked about team. Qatar, as a sponsor of Paris, has also become famous invisibly. Many people in the media circle follow the example of Qataris, who have a lot of money. But for Qatar, the country of bullets, it is better to spend some money to improve its national popularity than anything else.
Third, build the national team.
Although Qatar failed in the opening battle, it cannot conceal its investment, efforts and achievements in football.
In the past ten years, Qatar’s youth training and naturalized overseas players have been combined to create a first-class national team in Asia, and won the Asian Cup in 2019.
Qatar has a very successful population. In the same way, the national football team has invested no less resources than Qatar, but it has come to this end.
In short, playing football in other countries is playing football, while playing football in Qatar is a national strategy, that is, enhancing national awareness and sense of existence through the influence of football, and radiating soft power; So as to improve the living environment of small countries and few people in the Middle East, where the law of the jungle prevails.
Finally, the astronomical figure of the Qatar World Cup, which cost 220 billion US dollars, does not only refer to the direct costs of hosting the World Cup, but also the sum of Qatar’s infrastructure investment around the World Cup in the past 10 years; Including but not limited to the construction of a city, eight stadiums, an airport expansion, a new subway, several hotels, etc.
Qataris used this astronomical figure of 220 billion dollars to arouse the curiosity of public opinion (after all, audiences like to see Tuhao play the role of “people are stupid and have more money”), and achieved a strong publicity effect.
1. The great controversy of Qatar World Cup stems from the tearing of Qatar itself.
2. Qatar’s tear stems from the potential survival crisis of small bullet countries with huge resources.
3. The deepest connotation of this World Cup reflects the survival wisdom of a small country; Of course, you can also understand that money makes things easier.