Members of the Qatari security forces, known in Arabic as 'Lekhwiya', dive in a swimming pool at Qatar University on August 10, 2017 to sign their names by a painting of Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani titled in Arabic 'Glorious Tamim', originally drawn by artist Ahmed Bin Majed Al-Maadheed and spread across the Gulf country, as an expression of support for the monarch.
National Days in the Gulf, once the preserve of simple frivolities, fireworks and corniche parades, have morphed into key nation-building exercises for the region's citizens. Even Saudi Arabia, which only formally recognized a National Day in 2005, has embraced ever-more elaborate public ceremonies. The 40th anniversaries of independence for Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in 2010-11 were lavish affairs compared to prior years, as the aftermath of the Arab Spring caused National Days to become key exercises in legitimacy for their governments. Yet for Qatar, this year marked a National Day like no other....
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