The siege of Qatar: Creating a batna that strengthened the tiny country's negotiating power
On June 5, 2017, Qatari citizens and residents woke to the news that four nearby countries - the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt - had severed diplomatic ties with Qatar and closed certain land, sea, and air routes to and from the country. By imposing the blockade, these countries disrupted food security, air travel to and from Qatar, marine shipping, imports, exports, tourism, the ability to complete the build-out for the 2022 World Cup, banking and currency stability, and the investment environment. This chapter relies on the discussion of BATNA, or the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, found in Getting to Yes Without Giving In by Fischer, Ury, and Patton. It describes the concept of a negotiator's BATNA and applies that negotiating theory to the actions taken by Qatari leaders during the first nine months of the siege. The chapter discusses how Qatari officials worked hard to develop, support, fund, broadcast, and commit to a singular BATNA that gave them the power to break the blockade. Simply put, the Qatari government strategically created and maintained a sustainable economy independent of its blockading neighbors. This BATNA also boosted the bargaining power they will need if the disputing parties ever get to the negotiation or mediation table.
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