QATAR IS a small country. It is made big, in the sense of influence and importance, because it has a lot of oil and does not think small. The capital city itself, with its eclectic office buildings, luxury hotels, and glamorous shopping malls, caters to a global market. It was just sand a few decades ago; it now has the highest GDP per capita in the world. Today, its sense of grandeur extends beyond wealth. Qatar, like other Persian Gulf nations, is asserting its growing political strength in the battles taking place across the Middle East. Qatar was once content with being a solo agent in the Arab world; it is now a player in a very dangerous neighborhood.