This report provides a brief history of Qatar, issues of governance and human rights, foreign policy and its economic and security relationship with the United States. This report describes Qatar's complex and controversial role and its importance to U.S. policymakers. This relationship is vital to maintaining regional stability, but challenges exist. Qatar holds significant influence in the Gulf region as the leader of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but its independent policies have angered and frustrated its neighbors. A crisis arose in June 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and others instituted a blockade of Qatari ships and aircraft. The U.S. is attempting to quell the dispute by addressing claims of Qatar's financing of terrorists groups. The U.S. views Qatar as a vital partner in combating terrorist organizations in the region. While Qatar sees the U.S. as an important part of regional security. However, while Qatar supports the U.S. in fighting regional Islamist groups some have accused Qatar of condoning support for such groups. The U.S. continues to criticize Qatar for human rights issues involving labor rights and suppression of dissent through social media. Qatar also faces a possible economic downturn, but it may prove resilient given its small population and financial reserves.
CRS Report for Congress, R44533