Posted on February 26, 2018

The Social & Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) at Qatar University (QU) yesterday organized an event to unveil the results of a survey study on the Qatari citizens’ points of view about the Qatar’s blockade from a legal, political, economic, and social perspective.

The study, titled “Qatar against the blockade”, was supervised by a team of Qatari experts and researchers including SESRI Director Dr Hassan Al-Sayed, SESRI Head of Policy Department and the study’s Project Manager Dr Majed Al-Ansari, QU College of Business and Economics (CBE) Dean Dr Khalid Shams M A Al-Abdulqader, QU Sociology Program Coordinator Dr Fatima Ali Hussain Al-Kubaisi, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official Spokesperson Ms Lulwah Al Khater, as well as a number of Qatari research assistants at SESRI -- Ms Noof Al-Rakeb, Mr Mohammed Al-Subaey, Ms Maryam Al-Thani, and Ms Sara Al-Ansari.

The study was conducted in November 2017 through telephone interviews. A random sample of 889 Qatari nationals (18 years old and above), who are currently in Qatar, provided their points of view about the Qatar’s blockade from a legal, political, economic, and social perspective. From the legal perspective, Dr Hassan Al-Sayed noted that the study showed that around 62% of Qatari nationals agree and 17% of them do not agree that the participation of citizens through elected councils does not lead to the fast deterioration of political conflicts between countries. These results highlight the awareness of Qatari citizens about political issues due to the crisis.

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The study also revealed that 67% of Qatari nationals find that it is important to live in a democratic country. These results show an improvement as they doubled since a recent study conducted a few months prior to the blockade (34%). From the political perspective, Dr Majed Al-Ansari observed that 90% of Qatari nationals are interested in watching the news in order to get acquainted with the daily progress of the crisis. He noted that 62% of Qatari nationals find that Qatar should achieve full independence of regional alliances, which highlights the lack of trust in the regional environment. In this context, 86% of Qatari citizens find that Qatar should explore alliance opportunities with new countries in the region.

Dr Al-Ansari also noted that 79% of Qatari nationals consider that Al Jazeera Channel serves the Qatari interests and that the channel has played an important role in resisting the “media war” by the media outlets of the siege countries against Qatar. The results also showed Turkey as Qatar’s first ally (72%), while Kuwait came second (16%), followed by other countries (12%). Dr Al-Ansari underlined that 98% of Qatari nationals are satisfied with the government’s performance during the crisis and 88% believe that Qatar is able to survive under this crisis for many years.

From the economic perspective, Dr Khalid Shams M A Al-Abdulqader noted that more than 80% of Qatari citizens have a positive view about Qatar’s economy. He observed that 84% of Qatari nationals were positive about Qatar’s business and trading, noting that the results have improved compared to the ones (around 55%) provided by a previous study conducted in January 2016. Dr Al-Abdulqader also noted that the expectations of Qatari citizens with regard to the future of business and trading in Qatar have also improved to reach 96% after the blockade, while they were 72% before the blockade.

On entrepreneurship, the study showed that 77% of Qatari nationals consider that there are many investment opportunities and 34% are planning to start an entrepreneurial project. On product prices, the results revealed that 31% of Qatari nationals consider that the product prices are not high, while 27% consider that products are expensive and 33% consider that the prices of some products were high and some of them were not high. On products quality and availability in the market, 88% of Qatari nationals pointed to high quality of the products and 71% to their availability in the market.

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From the social perspective, Dr Fatima Ali Hussain Al-Kubaisi noted that 75% of Qatari citizens have relatives at the siege countries, which highlights the deep social, religious and cultural bonds in the Gulf. She also noted that 70% of Qatari citizens were not able to see their relatives since the beginning of the crisis, while 69% were able to meet their relatives in Qatar. Dr Al-Kubaisi observed that 52% of Qatari nationals were able to connect with their relatives through telephone calls, and 20% connected with their relatives through WhatsApp, while 10% did not connect with their relatives at the siege countries, which reflects the negative impact of the blockade on social and familial relations. Additionally, 47% of Qatari citizens confirmed that their relations with their relatives did not change despite of the blockade, while 26% said that their relations have deteriorated.  

In his remarks, QU President Dr Hassan Al Derham said: “The study provided a realistic and academic analysis on the economic, social and political reality in Qatar after the unjust blockade. The announcement of the study’s results today with transparency shows that Qatari society lives in an atmosphere of pure freedom.” Dr Hassan Al-Sayed: “The survey provides important information on the community’s awareness and perceptions about the unjust blockade against Qatar and highlights QU’s commitment to engage the  community to reflect on  issues important to Qatari society.”

Dr Majed Al-Ansari said: “SESRI prepared a report for decision makers. The institute is also planning to provide research papers by experts in the various scientific and social fields to provide an efficient study on the social and economic transformation resulting from the blockade.”