National Priorities Research Program (NPRP)

Managing National Security Risk during and after the Blockade: Strategic Challenges and Opportunities for Qatar’s Energy Sector

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. Rory Miller

Cycle: NPRP12S-0210-190067

Collaborative Institutions: General Retirement & Social Insurance Authority (Qatar), Hamad Bin Khalifah University (Qatar), University of Warwick(UK), Sakarya University (Turkey)

Project Description:

This project examines the challenges and opportunities that Qatar’s energy sector has encountered in managing national security risk since the start of the blockade launched against it in June 2017 and how the evolving strategic environment will result in new challenges and opportunities in the future. No such comprehensive study of the Qatari energy sector currently exists. It is intended as a four-year project to be undertaken by a Lead Principal Investigator (LPI) from Georgetown University in Qatar (GUQ), in collaboration with Principal Investigators (PIs) from Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), the General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority (GRSIA) of the State of Qatar, the University of Warwick (United Kingdom), and Sakarya University (Turkey). Apart from the GRSIA, the project has other important end-users: The Amiri Diwan of the State of Qatar; QatarGas; and The Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development. This project is focused on policy-driven research that contributes to the achievement of the outcomes set down in Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030. These include the strengthening of Qatar’s role in the international community, as set out in the Vision’s introduction, and in the Social Development Outcomes: ‘International Cooperation’, which envisage a role for the country in ‘attaining international peace and security’. In terms of QNV 2030’s Economic Development Outcomes, this project will contribute directly to those relating to the energy sector: (1) The ‘responsible exploitation’ of hydrocarbon resources; (2) the ‘development and sustainability’ of a ‘vigorous’ energy sector, in particular, a ‘fully developed gas industry’; (3) and the ‘long-term maintenance’ of strategic energy reserves to meet the needs of ‘national security and sustainable development.’ These are increasingly challenging but necessary tasks at a time of rapid change in the regional and international security systems and the global energy market, in particular the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) sector which is of vital importance to Qatar (Goldthau, 2013; Rose, 2018). This stark reality has been very apparent since the launch of the blockade against Qatar. In line with priority theme 4.3.3, this project begins by examining the role of Qatar’s energy sector as a strategic instrument in a small state under blockade. Steeped in a commitment to applied social science research and rigorous analytical analysis, the project will then identify national security challenges and opportunities that policymakers are likely to encounter in the future as they engage with key regional and international energy partners unilaterally and through bilateral and multilateral frameworks. It will then propose a menu of strategic, security, legal and regulatory options available to Qatar in the future to enable it to manage those challenges and to capitalize on those opportunities. In undertaking this comprehensive study, the key investigators will draw on their wide-ranging expertise and experience in a variety of disciplines and subject areas – International Relations, Law, Security Studies, Regional Studies, Finance and Public Policy. This approach will result in an overall research project that is not only theoretically informed and empirically rich but also novel and unprecedented in terms of its multi-disciplinary approach and the comprehensiveness of its range and scope. Specifically, the project will cover five key research  themes. The first will examine Qatar’s energy sector in the context of country’s long-term strategic engagement in the international system and its shorter-term responses to the blockade. In doing so, it will develop an innovative energy-strategy nexus framework to aid in assessing and understanding the inter-relationship between energy capabilities and strategic planning in a small, energy-rich state. Changing external dynamics – legal and regulatory, as well as political and security – pose significant risk to Qatar’s overseas energy assets. In recognition of this, the second theme will develop a profile of emerging risks in managing international energy investments and offer ways to address them over the longer-term. Research themes three, four and five will explore the strategic implications flowing from the challenges and opportunities that will present themselves in Qatar’s evolving energy relationships with six major international actors (China, Japan and South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia) and two key regional actors (Turkey and Iran). In an era of uncertainty and flux, unpacking these case studies will facilitate an exploration of the range of dynamics Qatar will face in the future in its role as a global energy actor of the first rank. The project’s PIs have extensive experience in the policy, as well as scholarly, worlds and this proposal strongly acknowledges the importance of applied social science research in making a positive and direct impact outside of academia and across wider society. In line with this, this multi-level investigation will present key findings to end-users in a final report that includes a series of detailed recommendations. It is intended that these innovative, tangible and actionable outcomes will foster an improved understanding among end-users and other stakeholders of the ways that Qatar can manage the risks, address the challenges and seize the opportunities that its vital energy sector will encounter in the future.

Structure of the Nuclear Family in the Wake of Genetic and Reproductive Technologies

Lead Principal Investigator: Ayman Shabana

Cycle: NPRP 8 (NPRP8-1478-6-053)

Project Description:

New genetic and reproductive technologies pose considerable challenges to the established structure of Islamic regulations concerning the nuclear family, which covers the marital connection and lineage regulations. More particularly, these technologies raise questions about traditional definitions of both paternity and maternity and the extent to which these two concepts should be tied to marriage. For example, while DNA technology questions the traditional primacy of legal factors over biological factors in the determination of paternity, assisted reproduction with donor gametes and surrogacy arrangements challenge the classical definition of both paternity and maternity. These new developments have stirred heated debates on the future of the nuclear family worldwide with increasing demands for clearer criteria for the definition of both paternity and maternity. In most Muslim-majority countries, where personal status issues are regulated according to shari’a, legislation does not always keep up with these developments. In the absence of binding laws, disputes are settled according to the general principles of Islamic law, mostly in the form of non-binding fatwas and scholarly councils’ resolutions. The absence of formal or unified decision-making mechanisms gives rise to a wide range of views on these issues. Important open questions include: to what extent are the new forms of the nuclear family compatible with shari’a? And, to what extent does the Islamic ethico-legal assessment depend on established scientific facts? This proposal seeks to explore these and similar questions in an effort to examine the impact of these new technical variables on contemporary Islamic thought and practice pertaining to the structure of the nuclear family. This project aims to identify research lacunae in current scholarship on this important topic and suggest ways to fill these lacunae. It will build on several years of original research, which benefited from the research infrastructure that was established and funded by two three-year NPRP grants. This project will consist of a bibliographic component and a research component. The bibliographic component will maintain and expand the existing physical collection and electronic database of resources, which includes records of more than 3000 bilingual (English-Arabic) scholarly resources. The research component will utilize these resources in exploring the impact of new genetic and reproductive technologies on the Islamic conceptualizations of the nuclear family in terms of both the (re)formulation of relevant rules as well as the administration of these rules.

Safeguarding Food and Environment in Qatar (SAFE-Q)

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. Mehran Kamrava

Cycle: NPRP 7  ( NPRP 7 – 1103 – 5 – 156)

Collaborative Institutions: Brunel University (UK), University of Bradford (UK), Cranfield University (UK), University of Western Sydney (UK)

Project Description:

SAFE-Q intends to support the Qatari efforts to implement the Qatar National Vision 2030 focusing on the long term sustainability of food supply chain, including its green aspects, and interconnection of these aspects with the population’s health and national environmental and economic development. The project will investigate, develop, design, construct and evaluate a range of operational models that will allow implementing Qatari policies relating to food security and environmental sustainability (i.e. the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) building on research already carried out in Qatar, Europe and world-wide by means of liaising with the relevant actors and stakeholders). SAFE-Q will develop a repository of food security-based operational models to inform policy implementation grounded within the national priorities, to assist policy and decision makers in the field of distribution and consumption of food, and management of waste in the food supply chain (i.e. accessibility, availability and utilisation of food, and stability of all these). Finally, SAFE-Q will allow policy makers and practitioners to assess food security scenarios in order to perform risk assessment and develop strategies to strengthen food supply chains. SAFE-Q proposes a three stage methodology composed of problem structuring, operational modelling and generating a repository for risk assessment for implementation of the policies developed by the QNFSP. STAGE 1: Structuring the Food Security Context (Problem Structuring) In the first stage, the project team will systematically study historical data collected by Qatari authorities and data published by international institutions and NGOs such as the World Bank or the FAO on agriculture, food and environment. The internationally available data will be mapped and assessed with a view to Qatar’s anticipated development in line with the national priorities and Qatar 2025. These data will constitute the policy implementation variables. STAGE 2: Developing Models and Simulations (Operational Modelling) In the second stage, the project team will conduct a stakeholder analysis in relation to policies on food security and environmental sustainability of food supply chains. Then the project team will invite stakeholders (experts from government, industry and academia as well as consumer groups) to share their opinions about the relevant policy implementation variables identified in the first stage. For this purpose, the project team will use causal maps to capture the knowledge, expertise and assumptions of the system and to understand the behaviour of the system. STAGE 3: Generating a Repository for Risk Assessment In the third stage, the project team will use the causal maps and simulations based on them to synthesise conclusions on actual and anticipated bottlenecks and system risks (environmental, social and economic), and propose areas and measures that should be prioritised to improve future prosperity.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Interfaith Initiatives

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. Patrick Laude

Cycle: NPRP 7 (NPRP 7 – 585 – 6 – 020)

Collaborative Institutions: Woolf Institute (UK), Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue (Qatar)

Project Description:

The study proposes the first cross-country comparison of interfaith initiatives in Qatar, UK and India to determine how best to assess their effectiveness in improving interfaith relations. A multi-national, multi-lingual and multi-faith team of investigators has been assembled, including a local partner in Qatar, The Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID), to conduct the pioneering research. The project will integrate social research, historical and policy analysis, and religious studies to develop a framework for analyzing how interfaith encounters affect change. When disseminated to audiences of experts, policymakers, and activists, the study’s unique results will enhance understanding of the factors that influence the successes, and failures, of interfaith initiatives and how best to analyze effectiveness across and within different contexts. The proposed study will be the first ever to examine the effectiveness of interfaith initiatives and to conduct empirical research in multiple locations. The results will be of interest to numerous bodies, including government agencies, religious institutions and interfaith activists, who have invested significantly in interfaith initiatives and have pushed for more investigation of impact. The choice of countries reflects levels of religious diversity, policy toward religion and the historical legacy of interfaith relations. Amongst the three countries, Qatar is characterized by high levels of religious diversity due to the large expatriate, rather than indigenous population; India by longstanding inter-religious tensions and violence; the UK, by a long history of interfaith activity, often funded by private support. The three countries also represent Middle Eastern, European, and Asian examples with different organizations of majority-minority relations between religions. The study will lead to a deeper understanding of both local and global interfaith relations, which will be of particular value to the State of Qatar, the most active country in the Gulf for initiating interfaith activity, particularly relations between the three Abrahamic faiths – Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Legal Innovation to Empower Development: Designing and Building an Online “TradeLab” in Qatar (“Trade and Investment Legal Advisory Broker”)

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. Faddi Makki

Cycle: NPRP 7 (NPRP 7 – 1815 – 5 – 272)

Collaborative Institutions: Qatar University (Qatar), University of Arizona (US), Georgetown University (US), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Switzerland)

Project Description:

World Trade Organization (WTO), free trade and investment protection treaties foster economic growth, but their benefits are not equally spread. Too often, affected stakeholders are not aware of these treaties. In other cases, access to legal expertise to influence negotiation or be successful in dispute settlement is not available or too costly. Yet, trade and investment treaties regulate domestic policies ranging from health and the environment to energy and taxation. This project will leverage Internet technologies to broaden access to legal expertise on such treaties, their negotiation, implementation and litigation, especially in Qatar, the Middle East and developing countries. The research component will assess current access barriers and attempts so far to alleviate awareness and capacity constraints, especially in “small states” like Qatar. The translational/experimental development component of the project will consist of designing and building an online platform to bridge the current gap between (i) legal experts/academics in the field, spread across the globe and (ii) businesses, government officials and NGOs in Qatar and beyond, affected by trade and investment treaties but who need access to legal expertise to influence or reap the benefits of these agreements. An online, free Q&A will be set up where anyone can ask a legal help question on trade or investment treaties (for an experimental beta-version see www.tradelab.org). The project will also actively include law students by incubating law school clinics, including one at Qatar University, where students will work on practical legal projects and get training by doing. A core underlying goal of the project is to stimulate and empower local learning through transfer of knowledge and expertise. The project, which consists of a combination of legal research and deployment of ICT innovations, is a cooperation between FIKRA, Qatar University law school, Stanford University and the Graduate Institute in Geneva. The respective networks and substantive legal knowledge and research experience of the high profile academics part of the project will ensure both high quality research and the establishment of a world-renowned global network of experts to benefit users in Qatar and worldwide. As trade and investment laws intersect with energy (e.g. FDI in the Qatar gas industry) and environmental as well as health regulation (e.g. WTO or investment treaties prohibiting protectionist health or discriminatory clean energy regulations), the project will address also the QNRS pillars of “Energy and environment” and “Health”. As a multi-disciplinary project (law and ICT), TradeLab will build bridges between lawyers/academics and users/governments/businesses as well as law students, translating innovations in law, ICT and legal education into more effective trade and investment treaties that foster more stable and inclusive economic development in Qatar, the Middle East and the world.

Emerging Sectarian Fault-lines and Regional Security in the Arab Revolution

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. Mehran Kamrava

Cycle: NPRP 6 (NPRP 6 – 028 – 5 – 006)

Collaborative Institutions: Qatar University (Qatar), Deakin University (Australia), Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (Qatar)

Project Description:

The proposed project will produce innovative scholarship on a particularly sensitive aspect of the Arab revolutions – the Sunni/Shia divide. How and why have sectarian tensions become so prominent in the political discourse of the post-revolutionary Arab states? Are they the result of the political instrumentalisation of sectarian discourse by existing regimes to pursue material national interests? If so, why is it seen as strategic to play the sectarian card? Are the regimes appealing to shared understandings of what it is to be Sunni or Shia amongst their own populations, in order to formulate a domestically ‘acceptable’ foreign policy? If this is the case, is foreign policy likely to change as people’s understandings of self, place, and space change? Or alternatively, are we dealing with primordial Sunni/Shia divide, wherein deep-rooted historical and cultural differences are the primary cause of tension and conflict in the Arab States? By exploring these questions, this project will shed new light on the role and significance (or insignificance) of Islamist discourse, culture, and religion in setting foreign policy agendas in the post-revolutionary Arab states. The Arab revolution has opened up a troubling sectarian fissure that cuts across traditional socio-political blocs. This experience has major implications for the direction of political development in the region, and US foreign policy choices. This project will explore those implications in-depth.

The Domestic Effects of International Human Rights Treaty Ratification in the Member States of the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. Basak Cali

Cycle: NPRP 5 (NPRP 4 – 1576 – 5 – 236)

Collaborative Institutions: Qatar University (Qatar), University College London (UK), University of Oxford (UK), Koç University (Turkey)

Project Description:

The aim of this multi-year and multi-disciplinary project is to study the domestic effects of international human rights treaty ratification in the Member States of the Co-Operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). There is a significant trend towards ratification of international human rights treaties in the GCC. In the literature, however, the domestic effects of ratification in the GCC Member States have not yet received any scholarly attention. Our research will address this gap by identifying the pathways through which domestic effects come about. The research will employ mixed method analysis (focus groups, elite interviews, process tracing and legal analysis) to analyze domestic effects of ratification on Qatar and other GCC States. This is a suitable method given the lack of preliminary studies and our focus on exploring different pathways of domestic effect. Considering Qatar’s hosting of the United Nations Human Rights Training and Documentation Center for South West Asia and the Arab Region, it is highly appropriate that this research be launched in Qatar where the UN Center aims to build knowledge and expertise regarding human rights. The international research team, comprised of experts in international human rights law, the Gulf region and regional law, and all with experience in carrying out large research projects before, are very well suited to carry out this research.

Science Productivity, Higher Education Development and the Knowledge Society.

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. David Baker

Cycle: NPRP 5 (NPRP 5 – 1021 – 5 – 159)

Collaborative Institutions: Pennsylvania State University (US), Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (US), Hiroshima University (Japan)

Project Description:

The project is a comparative analysis of the influence of higher education-university capacity on the development of the knowledge society through science productivity. Qatari social scientists, and those from Pennsylvania State University, U.S., Halle University, Germany, Hiroshima University, Japan, and Beijing Normal University, China, will answer important policy questions about education capacity-building, science productivity, and social impact, through a comparison of nations with histories of university development, science policy and productivity and nations undertaking new and accelerated educational and scientific capacity building, China and Qatar. At the same time, science and higher education are becoming global, so one overarching question is how will ascending nations like China and Qatar be involved in this new world and what impact will this have on their national societies. The project will include two methodological approaches. First is statistical modeling of relevant cross-national data of the relationships between the higher education sector development, science policy, and science productivity, including collected time-series data on higher education development (e.g. enrollment, faculty capacity), science productivity (e.g. Web of Science publication archives, R and D expenditures), and science funding policy and capacities (e.g. granting mechanisms, funding levels, competition, innovation capabilities). Second is in depth interviews of education.

Encyclopedia of Islamic Bioethics

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. Ayman Shabana

Cycle: NPRP 5 ( NPRP 5 – 1390 – 6 – 043)

Project Description:

The idea, developing an encyclopedia of Islamic bioethics, is new. The project members will incorporate the best practices of organizing and classifying ethical reflections on medical and scientific issues and problems in major international bioethics reference works and apply them to pertinent discussions in Islam and the Muslim world. The project will draw upon a comprehensive collection of the most important and dispersed resources on Islamic bioethics that has already been identified, catalogued, and indexed. The project will expand the collection and use it as a solid groundwork for the composition of the world’s first Encyclopedia of Islamic Bioethics (EIB). Broader impact The EIB will serve as an accessible and reliable resource on bioethical thought in Islam and the Muslim world. It will meet the needs of scholars, researchers, and the educated public at large by increasing access to Islamic contributions to bioethical investigations. It will also facilitate research and support various educational endeavors both in the medical and biological fields on the one hand and in the humanities and social sciences on the other and thereby will promote a deeper appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of the modern field of bioethics.

Understanding Inflation and Its Implications for GCC countries Using Highly Disaggregated Data

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. Alexis Antoniades

Cycle: NPRP 2 ( NPRP 08 – 718 – 5 – 104)

Project Description:

The project addresses three fundamental policy questions for the GCC countries: understanding and improving measures of inflation, examining the consequences of a common currency and a common monetary authority, and evaluating how prices of identical goods differ across the region. To address these issues we propose the purchase a dataset that will enable us to do pioneering work on the economies of the GCC countries – Qatar in particular- and present a wealth of new information using micro-level data. Very disaggregated data enable researchers to take a deeper look at how economies work. The dataset we aim to buy gives information on over 100,000 different products that consumers typically buy at supermarkets. In particular, for each product it gives quantities bought and prices paid by consumers each month for the past four years in Qatar, KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. Our main focus is to study inflation by exploiting this massive information set. Using preliminary calculations and empirical evidence from studies done on inflation in other countries, we have reason to believe that the consumer price index (CPI) reported by the Statistical Authorities and Central Banks overstates the true cost of living for two main reasons. We also plan to address a series of theoretical debates in the economics literature that have not been sufficiently addressed due to the unavailability of highly disaggregated data.

Deliverables:

Retailer Pass-Through and its Determinants

Conflict Resolution by Qatar and Saudi Arabia: New Roles in Regional Diplomacy

Lead Principal Investigator: Dr. Mehran Kamrava

Cycle: NPRP 2 (NPRP 08 – 003 – 5 – 001)

Project Description:

Lately, Saudi Arabia’s proactive regional diplomacy and conflict resolution—the 1989 Taif Accord, the Abdullah Initiative in 2002, the Mecca Accord in 2007—has been complemented by additional efforts by Qatar. The May 2008 Doha Agreement that halted a brewing civil war in Lebanon is to date Qatar’s most stunning success at regional conflict resolution. Other mediation efforts, involving Sudan and Eritrea, began in 1998 and have continued since. This research seeks to answer four key questions. The first examines the underlying reasons behind Saudi and Qatari efforts at regional conflict resolution. The second question is the modus operandi employed by each country in mediating conflict. Specifically, do Qatari and Saudi efforts differ markedly from similar attempts undertaken by other international actors, i.e. the US, the EU, and the UN? A third question is the extent to which Qatar and Saudi Arabia have the institutional capacity to implement their roles as conflict mediators. Fourth and finally, the research will address the significance of their efforts at conflict resolution from both theoretical and policy perspectives. Specifically, are we seeing the emergence of a new diplomatic center of gravity, a shift away from Cairo, and perhaps even Washington, as “honest brokers” and reliable mediators in regional conflicts? Theoretically, does the vigor in Saudi and especially Qatari diplomacy give us new insights into constructivist interpretations of international relations?

Pedagogy for Heritage Learners

Lead Principal Investigator: Abbas Al-Tonsi

Cycle: NPRP 2 (NPRP 08 – 710 – 6 – 015)

Collaborative Institutions: Georgetown University (US)

Project Description:

The changing reality in the use of Arabic in Qatari schools is cause for concern. English is rapidly replacing Arabic as the prominent language of instruction. Students are increasingly shifting from native speakers of Arabic to heritage learners. According to Maria Polinsky (2002) heritage learners use “a language which was first for an individual with respect to the order of acquisition but has not been completely acquired because of the switch to another dominant language.” According to QCEA 2007, the number of students of Arabic who met the standards ranged from 1% to 13%. Hence there is an urgent need to prepare material for teaching these students. Currently, the only available textbooks are for students of Arabic as a foreign language and those for native speakers. Heritage learners find themselves caught in the middle. Textbooks for native speakers are too difficult for them, and those for students of Arabic as a foreign language are too easy for them. The struggle of heritage speakers to fully grasp the formal use of Arabic becomes a ‘national’ priority to create curricular material for heritage learners. It falls upon educators of Arabic to teach the appropriate material with the right pedagogy to these students. Action must be taken before it becomes too late. If the current situation is not addressed, the use of Modern Standard Arabic will slowly disappear within few decades in this extremely important region of the Arab world.