The thinking goes that if someone invades a country that has the highest skyscraper in London, then surely the UK should come to the rescue.
Christopher Davidson, PhD, an expert in the politics of the Gulf at Durham University, in an article in the Guardian about Europe’s new tallest tower, 80 percent of which is owned by Qatari investors.
The 1,017-foot London-based Shard of Glass, which is slated to open in June, is taller than Canary Wharf’s main tower, Frankfurt’s Commerzbank and the Ostankino television tower in Moscow.
Qataris have been pouring money into the Shard project since 2008, prompting some analysts to conclude that it is another example of the GCC nation’s program of “soft diplomacy” with Western countries.
“The invasion of Kuwait is still fresh in the memory of rulers in the Gulf and being invaded for your petrochemical wealth remains a nightmare,” he said. “Qatar is in a tight spot between Saudi Arabia and Iran and its very survival rests on the west’s guarantee…
For Davidson, the Shard is in the same category as Abu Dhabi’s purchase of Manchester City Football Club. “It is high-profile and won’t necessarily turn a profit, but the benefits are non-pecuniary,” he said.