Maybe this time

Qatar, a fat thumb of a country that juts from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf, covers barely 7,000 sq miles and boasts an expatriate population larger than its native one.Yet, as so often happens, nature has seen fit to leave massive mineral deposits in a region that cannot fully use them: Qatar possesses the world's largest single nonassociated gas deposit.Hydrocarbon wealth elsewhere has been a curse for a people as often as it has been a blessing. Witness especially Nigeria and Venezuela. (See T. L. Karl, The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States. Berkeley, Calif., University of California Press, 1997.)But maybe, just maybe, Qatar will be different.Qatar just might serv...

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