Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani became the Emir of Qatar at the age of 33 after his father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, abdicated in June 2013.
Birth: 3 June 1980 (Age: 42)
Source of Influence: Political
Influence: Ruler of richest country per capita in the world
School of Thought: Sunni, Hanbali
Status: Featured in current year
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani became the Emir of Qatar at the age of 33 after his father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, abdicated in June 2013. Qatar is the richest country in the world with a GDP per capita of $63,505. It has under 400,000 citizens whilst the rest of its population of three million are expatriate workers. It is the top exporter of liquefied natural gas and the site of the third largest natural gas reserves in the world.
Family: Sheikh Tamim is Sheikh Hamad’s fourth son and was chosen as Crown Prince in August 2003. His mother is the powerful Sheikha Moza, who still plays a prominent public role as an advocate for social and educational causes.
Education: Sheikh Tamim completed his studies at a private school in UK before going on to graduate at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst (in 1998). During his time as Crown Prince (2003-13), Sheikh Tamim had exposure to a wide-range of posts including security (he was deputy commander of the armed forces), economics (chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority) and sports. He supervised Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Expectations: Qatar exploded onto the world scene under his father’s reign, and expectations are that Sheikh Tamim will try to consolidate these achievements. Packing a punch far above its weight has led to neighbouring countries questioning the purpose of so many initiatives. He has had to repair relations with other Gulf countries over supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and defend Qatar’s world image over the treatment of labourers in Qatar.
Blockade: In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, with the backing of the Trump administration, cut all relations with Qatar and imposed trade and travel bans. This drastic action resulted from various claims that Qatar was supporting terrorism and had violated a 2014 agreement with GCC countries. Its good relations with Iran and it hosting Al-Jazeera TV network were also factors in this tense situation which saw foodstuff imported from Iran and Turkish soldiers called in to help safeguard Qatar assets. A further complicating factor in this family feud was that Qatar hosts the largest American base in the Middle East and all the blockade partners are close allies of the US. The 43 month blockade was finally lifted in January 2021, having made little impact.
Peace Broker: With the Emir enjoying good international relations and continuing foreign investment, Qatar has positioned itself into the role of regional peace broker, playing a pivotal role in international talks with the Taliban government and hoping to broker a deal around Iran’s nuclear programme. It has adopted a strong position of proactive engagement through dialogue with regional neighbours.
COVID-19: Strong and swift measures including lockdown, school closures and travel restrictions. Widespread disinfecting procedures were instigated and healthcare upgraded. Approximately 80% of the population has been vaccinated.
FIFA World Cup 2022: The 2022 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022. This will be the first World Cup held in the Arab world and it is estimated that Qatar is spending more than $200 billion in construction projects to prepare itself; twelve stadiums, a new port, transportation systems and accommodation for an estimated 400,000 fans will face the scrutiny of the entire world. The Qatari government has already responded to global criticisms by adopting new labour reforms to improve working conditions. This has included a minimum wage and the removal of the kafala system.
“We are open to dialogue to iron out all the pending issues, not only for the benefit of our peoples and governments, but also to spare our region the pointless efforts to dissipate our gains.”
“Suffering and injustice pave the way for terrorism to flourish. Evil actors will twist religious dogmas to poison the minds of desperate people.”
25 billion barrels of crude oil reserves
$124k per capita