Enforced isolation has given the emirate confidence to pursue a political and cultural reboot

For most of the past year the city-state of Qatar, the wealthiest peninsula on the planet, has been exploring the law of unintended consequences. The trigger for that came last June, when Qatar’s closest neighbours, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE, escalated a simmering disquiet about the Gulf state’s role in the region to implement a full land and air blockade.

Overnight, planes and cargo ships heading for Qatar were diverted, all diplomatic links were cut and Qatar’s sole land border, with Saudi Arabia, was closed. Even camels were not spared the politics – 12,000 Qatari animals were forcibly repatriated.

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