For years, the tiny oil sheikdom of Qatar has been a reliable U.S. partner in the Middle East as a host to the largest American military base in the region and as a diplomatic bulwark against Iran. It has backed the fall of autocratic rulers in Libya and Syria.
Two years after the start of the Arab Spring, however, Qatars carefully cultivated reputation as a U.S. partner and as a neutral broker in the region is increasingly muddled.
With billions of dollars in natural gas and oil revenue, it is bankrolling a new generation of Islamists across the Middle East, raising questions about its vision for the region and whether some of its policies are in direct conflict with U.S. interests. (continue reading...)