Peer Reviewer 1:
The Notebook is generally fair. It highlights Qatar's shortcomings in drawing a clear line between what is a public property and what is controlled by the ruler who has absolute powers, as well as members of the ruling family. It also pins down Qatar's 'Gulf syndrome' as far as the rights of migrant workers are concerned, and the poor level of human rights' protection. It also sheds light on both sides of the story, allowing the government's viewpoint a relatively adequate space. However, it should be pointed out that the argument that Qatar remains the Middle East's poorest in combating corruption is rather unjustified, given the top regional ranking given to Qatar on this front in other reports -- as correctly stated in the notebook. Therefore, in comparison with desired levels of anti-corruption performance, Qatar obviously lags behind the world's good performers, but on the regional level, the country's anti-corruption drive appears in good shape. The quoted argument that Qatar would end up with no sufficient workforce if it pursued legal action against all companies that disrespect human rights is rather simplistic. Like all oil-rich countries, Qatar enjoys an abundant inflow of cheap migrant workforce that is desperate to find work opportunities in the Gulf. The need to earn living for families back home forces workers to accept the available jobs, despite the poor conditions.
Minor points: - It is difficult to argue that Qatar's rich ruling family has amassed fortunes on the back of the country's wealth of natural gas. Although the gas was discovered nearly 40 years ago, it was not until over 10 years ago that Qatar started to see proper investment in gas production as the world market was not very interested in the commodity and relied heavily on the then cheap oil. Normally, it would take time to recuperate the huge investments channels into such projects. Qatar, however, is an OPEC member and - obviously, oil was the major force behind amassing its public and private fortunes. - Perhaps the notebook should be more precise on the size of the population, although it is admittedly difficult to find a consensus over the matter. Estimates put nationals at around 300,000 people, while expats' numbers are put at more than one million. [These issues have been addressed.]