Ruled by the Al Thani family
since the mid-1800s, Qatar transformed
itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into
an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled
by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the Amir, who
had ruled the country since 1972. His son, the current Amir HAMAD bin
Khalifa Al Thani, overthrew him in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001,
Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and
Saudi Arabia. As of 2007, oil and natural gas revenues had enabled
Qatar to attain the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar has
not experienced the level of unrest or violence seen in other Near
Eastern and North African countries in 2010-11, due in part to its
immense wealth. Qatar’s international image is bolstered in part by the
Doha-based Al Jazeera news network, which has provided comprehensive
coverage of the Near East and North African Arab revolutions.
Additionally, Qatar played a significant role in the Libyan revolution
by pressing the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League to assist
the Libyan rebel movement.
Location – Middle East,
peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia