Qatari exiles, largely unknown, boosted by diplomatic crisis

A Qatari exile wants to discuss the possibility of a "bloodless coup" amid a diplomatic dispute pitting Doha against other Arab nations. Another exile, a little-known Qatari ruling family member, meets with Qatar's main foe Saudi Arabia and immediately gets suggested as a replacement for Doha's ruling sheikh.

However, whether Khalid al-Hail's planned conference in London or Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani's sudden prominence represents any bloc within Qatar remains an open question.

The rise of these Qataris exiles and others criticizing the energy-rich sheikhdom shows the fundamental challenge in trying to find opposition voices in Gulf Arab nations where political parties are illegal.

Exiles like al-Hail dismiss any sign of public support of the government as the coercive fear of the secret police.