EXPLAINER: Qatar’s historical past, politics forward of FIFA World Cup


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar might be on the world stage prefer it has by no means been earlier than because the small, energy-rich nation hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup later this month.

The nation, on a thumb-shaped peninsula that juts out into the Persian Gulf, has seen its worldwide profile rise as Doha used its large offshore pure gasoline fields to make its nation one of many world’s richest per-capita.

It has used that cash to host the event, in addition to construct out the Arab world’s most-recognized satellite tv for pc news channel, Al Jazeera, assemble a serious navy base that hosts U.S. troops and turn into a trusted interlocutor for the West — even with the Taliban.

Here’s extra to learn about Qatar forward of the World Cup.


Qatar, pronounced like saying the phrase “cutter” with a tender “r,” sits on the Arabian Peninsula and shares a land border with Saudi Arabia. It’s additionally close to the island nation of Bahrain, in addition to the United Arab Emirates, residence to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It sits throughout the Persian Gulf from Iran and shares its large offshore pure gasoline discipline with it. Qatar is about twice the dimensions of the U.S. state of Delaware. The majority of its 2.9 million folks dwell round its capital, Doha, on its east coast. Qatar is a primarily flat, desert nation, the place temperatures in the summertime go above 40 levels Celsius (104 levels Fahrenheit) with excessive humidity.


Qatar is an autocratic nation overseen by its ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Sheikh Tamim, 42, took energy in June 2013 when his father stepped down. The emir wields absolute energy within the nation, although a 45-seat council does provide recommendation. As in different Gulf Arab nations, political events are banned. The proper to kind unions and strike stays extraordinarily restricted. There aren’t any unbiased human rights organizations working within the nation. Only some 10% of its inhabitants are residents who get pleasure from huge cradle-to-grave authorities advantages. Naturalization is uncommon.


The Al Thani household has dominated Qatar since 1847, although it was first beneath the Ottoman after which the British empire. Qatar turned an unbiased nation in 1971 because the British left the area. Oil exports started after World War II, although it will take till 1997 earlier than Qatar started delivery out liquified pure gasoline to the world. That new cash powered Qatar’s regional ambitions. It based the satellite tv for pc news community Al Jazeera, which introduced an Arab perspective to mass media that helped gas the 2011 Arab Spring protests. It additionally launched Qatar Airways, a serious airline for East-West journey.


Qatar follows an ultraconservative type of Sunni Islam generally known as Wahhabism, although in contrast to neighboring Saudi Arabia, foreigners can drink alcohol. Its religion informs its politics. Qatar backed Islamists within the 2011 Arab Spring, together with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, in addition to those that rose up in opposition to Syria President Bashar Assad. Al Jazeera turned well-known for working statements from al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. Qatar has additionally served as an middleman for the militant group Hamas, in addition to host of the negotiations between the United States and the Taliban that led to America’s 2021 withdraw from Afghanistan. Its assist of Islamists, partly, led to a yearslong boycott of the nation by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE . That boycott solely ended as President Joe Biden ready to enter the White House.


After permitting Western troops to be primarily based in Qatar in the course of the 1991 Gulf War, the nation constructed its large Al Udeid Air Base for over $1 billion. American troops started secretly utilizing the bottom after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror assaults and the next invasion of Afghanistan. Use of the bottom turned public information throughout a Mideast journey by then-Vice President Dick Cheney in March 2002, although sensitivity concerning the American presence there continued for years. America then moved the ahead headquarters of the U.S. navy’s Central Command to Al Udeid in 2003 an ran air operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, together with in the course of the rise of the Islamic State group and the evacuation of Kabul in 2021. It hosts some 8,000 U.S. troops at the moment. Turkey additionally maintains a navy base in Qatar.


Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.


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