DQatari Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi praised relations with Germany when he announced a deal on Tuesday that would ensure the long-term supply of liquefied natural gas from Qatar to Germany. It is to be sold to the American group Conoco-Phillips, which is to deliver the coveted raw material to Brunsbüttel. Kaabi described the deal as “a concrete demonstration” of Qatar’s “commitment to the Germans.”
The state energy company Qatar Energy, whose boss is al-Kaabi, is also in talks with German companies about further gas deliveries. “We have good relations with German companies and with the German government,” he said. All right, one might think. But the friendly tone of the energy minister, who is also a businessman, doesn’t quite fit the mood in Qatar.
The benevolence has evaporated
The gas deal, which has also caused irritation, seems to be more of a sign that business is going ahead in Doha, even if there are political crunches. And al-Kaabi’s warm words should be understood more as a sign of relaxation than as an expression of harmony. Such tones are currently the absolute exception in Doha. The great goodwill and trust towards Germany that has existed in recent years seems to have fizzled out within a short time. Bilateral relations are at a delicate stage and damaged.
The mood in the Qatari capital is aptly expressed by a scathing joke that is currently being cracked among locals: “Let’s see if the Germans wear a colorful armband when they sign their gas deal.” which is used by the Qataris as a permanent counter-argument against criticism – which is also justified in the matter.
Germany has no problem with energy partnerships or with Qatari help with evacuation operations like in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the FAZ in early November different standards. We cannot understand that.”
The armband joke is also a reference to the recent appearance of German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. It has left diplomatic damage in Qatar, as emerges from many conversations. There is concern among German business representatives that the poor political climate could affect business.
Influencers were up in arms
The appearance of Faeser with the anti-discrimination bandage “One Love” in the honorary stand, in which, according to credible reports, she attached great importance to appropriate pictures, is the latest episode of a rift that has found expression in grand gestures, but also in small trifles. After a first visit in the first days of November, the minister traveled to Qatar for the second time. Above all, she achieved outrage among the Qatari public, whose statements usually do not deviate greatly from the official perception.
Influencers stormed Twitter. “Double standards” was one accusation. “Arrogance” another. The “shameless” German minister appeared with a “homosexual flag”, wrote a sports journalist. Another influencer wrote that God was stronger and in retaliation gave the Germans a defeat on the pitch. The German national team also spilled malice for the forced silence gesture from the team photo. The fact that the players were defending themselves against the tutelage of the world football association FIFA and did not want to criticize the host was lost in the heated mood. The temperature had actively driven Faeser up.