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Country Risk Analysis - Qatar


            
             Qatar was once controlled by the sheikhs of Bahrain, but in 1867, war broke out between the people and their rulers. To keep the peace in the Persian Gulf, the British appointed Muhammad ibn Thani al-Thani, head of a leading Qatari family, as the region's ruler (Infoplease, 2013). In 1893, the Ottoman Turks made a brief attack on Qatar, but the Emir successfully prevent any damage (BBC News, 2013). In 1916, the Emir agreed to allow Qatar to become a British territory.
             Oil was discovered in the 1940s, bringing wealth to the country. About eighty five percent of Qatar's income from exports comes from oil. Its people have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world (BBC News, 2013). In 1971, Qatar was asked to join the other emirates of the Trucial Coast to become part of the United Arab Emirates, but both Qatar and Bahrain decided against the merger and instead formed independent nations (Infoplease, 2013).
             Qatar allowed international forces to use the country as a base during the 1991 Persian Gulf War (BBC News, 2013). This caused a border dispute with Saudi Arabia, which was settled in 1992. In 1994, Qatar signed a defense pact with the U.S., becoming the third Gulf state to do so (Bureau of near Eastern Affairs, 2013). On June 27, 1995, the Deputy Emir,¬†Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, deposed his father Khalifa bin Hamad in a bloodless coup. An unsuccessful counter-coup was staged in 1996 (BBC News, 2013). The Emir and his father are now reconciled, though some supporters of the counter-coup remain in prison. The Emir announced his intention for Qatar to move toward democracy and has permitted a freer and more open press and municipal elections as a precursor to expected parliamentary elections. Qatari citizens approved a new constitution via public referendum in April 2003, which came into force in June 2005 (Bureau of near Eastern Affairs, 2013).
             Sheik Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani resigned as prime minister in April 2007 and was replaced by the former foreign minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem al Thani.


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