Since the outbreak of the crisis with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on 24 May 2017, Qatar's diplomacy has been characterized by calm, confidence and balance. The observer can't understand the diplomatic approach of Qatar in dealing with all stages of the crisis - from explosion to siege, through state-orchestrated media campaigns - without knowing the "behind the scenes" facts. Blockading countries planned to blow the crisis up under the cover of darkness, before the dawn of May 24. But Qatar was, unsurprisingly, able to absorb the "shock and awe" first strike. Five factors characterise the country's diplomatic performance as it has reacted to developments and turning points in the crisis: The failure of the 'element of surprise', years of building Qatar's "nation brand", Qatar's arsenal of "soft power", international alliances, and the opponents' quandary.