Internally, Qatar remained untouched by the Arab spring that took so many twists and turns and led to fundamental change in other Arab countries. At the same time, the small nation stood out almost as the only country in the region that supported the uprisings. The monarchy reacted to the uprisings with effective deployment of its media arsenal, diplomatic activism, financial support and military backing of opposition forces, as in Libya and in Syria. Small steps towards constitutional rule had taken place in Qatar in earlier years. In July 1999, Sheikh Hamad bin...
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