Qatar Finance Minister Downplays Impact of Blockade

Airlines Express Annoyance at Being Barred from Airports

Reports of stockpiling customers at Qatari grocery stores and rush shipments of food from non-traditional suppliers aside, Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi downplayed concerns about the broader Qatari economy, saying he is “very comfortable” with where the nation is economically, and believes Qatar could weather the blockade more or less indefinitely.

Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi

The blockade by a handful of Gulf Arab states has largely just changed the import suppliers, as Qatar’s energy business appears to be more or less wholly unaffected by the blockade, but reports that some food factories are working extra shifts to process imports from nations like Brazil.

Yesterday’s report of Iran rushing shipments of food across the Persian Gulf to Qatar falsely gave the impression of the blockade having a massive impact, but locals in Qatar, the richest nation on the planet, joked about what they see as temporary and relatively minor inconveniences, while expressing confidence that cooler heads will prevail and the Qatari economy will continue to grow.

The only people who might really face serious hardship are the migrant workers who make up virtually all of Qatar’s low-income residents, as unlike most Qataris, they would be more sensitive to any price increases that the market transition might cause.

Even there, however, the Qatari government is paying for the biggest projects, like the massive World Cup 2022 construction, and they remain awash in cash to such a level that there’s no reason to think they would slow down operations.

Qatari Airways is experiencing a big more of a hassle, being blocked from a lot of its neighbors’ airports, complaining this violates international law with respect to a deal guaranteeing civilian airliners fair access.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.