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BANKING

Qatari finance finds its new normal

Banks in Qatar have been hit hard by its powerful neighbours’ unexpected blockade, but finance, just like other sectors of the Qatari economy, is finding ways to cope with this sudden realignment of regional alliances.

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A stylized image of a young Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has become a symbol
of Qatari resistance to the blockade

All over Doha a singular image has become ubiquitous: a stylized black and white portrait of a young Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, under which is written, in calligraphic Arabic, ‘Tamim the glorious’. 

Half-a-year ago you would have seen no such image; now it is everywhere. On car windscreens, at street corners, in the lobbies of hundreds of corporate headquarters around the Qatari capital (often signed by dozens of employees) and, importantly, on social media. 

That the same image in praise of the country’s ruler is so widespread may give the impression that it was forced down from the top, but Qatari and expatriate residents of Doha are adamant that this happened spontaneously.

Made by a Qatari artist, the image went viral as a symbol of Qatar’s resistance to a blockade that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt imposed suddenly on the country in June. Citing Qatar’s alleged support of terrorism, the four countries imposed multiple sanctions on Qatar, once one of their closest allies.