This is a classic example of how a hurried and ill-thought of economic blockade of Qatar by few Gulf nations seems to be backfiring.
1) Store shelves were quickly restocked and are now brimming with meats and cheeses thanks to imports from Europe and Turkey, which stepped up supplies to beleaguered Qatar.
2) In addition, Qatar set up five new shipping routes – two to Oman, two to India and one to Turkey, to circumvent the problems caused by the sanctions.
3) The tourism sector continues to flourish with luxury hotels serving lavish meals around the clock and alcohol flowing freely for visitors.
4) With an economy heavily reliant on imports, Qatar has done its best to not allow its neighbours’ sanctions dissuade its larger international intake from other cooperating countries like Australia.
5) Qatar has already flown in around 165 Holstein cows from Budapest, the first of 4,000 cattle that will be imported by August from Hungary, the US, Australia and Germany to prevent any possibility of a milk shortage in the country.
6) Qataris were also able to claim back their camels stranded in Saudi Arabia enhancing the Qatari farmers’ ability to make their daily wages.
7) Infrastructure projects have been unaffected by the blockade. Work on the expressway network that will facilitate access to FIFA World Cup stadiums is continuing without any stoppages.
8) Qatar has been able to sustain itself through the sanctions while making such bold imports due to its enormous wealth. It has some $340 billion in reserves.
9) All this had led to the optimism among Qatar’s citizens the residents which in turn has resulted in an outpouring of popular support for Al Thani, the 37-year-old emir.
10) The government has stepped in to help pay additional costs of shipping and has looked to its allies, like Turkey, for food imports.
Economic blockades can only lead to the desired impact if there is a 360-degree approach to circumvent alternate means and more importantly support that transcends regional partners. Qatar is a case in point.