Qatar And Doha
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Qatar And Doha

Shanghai : China | Jan 22, 2013 at 5:28 PM PST
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Qatar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait of the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island state of BahrainSony PCG-71313M battery.

Qatar has been ruled as an absolute and hereditary emirate by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Formerly one of the poorest Gulf states, the mainly barren country was noted mainly for pearl hunting. It was a British protectorate until it gained independence in 1971. Since then, it has become one of the region's wealthiest states due to its enormous oil and natural gas revenuesSony PCG-71212M battery. In 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became Emir when he deposed his father, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, in a peaceful coup d'état.[9] The most important positions in Qatar are held by the members of the Al Thani family, or close confidants of the al-Thani family. Beginning in 1992, Qatar has built intimate military ties with the United States, and is now the location of U.S. Central Command’s Forward Headquarters and the Combined Air Operations CenterSony PCG-71311M battery.

Qatar has proven reserves of oil and natural gas.[10] Qatar tops the list of the world's richest countries by Forbes. In 2010, Qatar had the world's highest GDP per capita, while the economy grew by 19%, the fastest in the world. The main drivers for this rapid growth are attributed to ongoing increases in production and exports of liquefied natural gas, oil, petrochemicals, and related industries. Qatar has the second-highest human development in the Arab World after the United Arab EmiratesSony PCG-71213M battery. In 2009, Qatar was the United States’ fifth-largest export market in the Middle East, trailing behind the U.A.E., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

With a small citizen population of fewer than 250,000 people, foreign workers outnumber native Qataris. Foreign expatriates come mainly from other Arab nations (20% of population), the Indian subcontinent (India 20%, Nepal 13%, Pakistan 7%, Sri Lanka 5%), Southeast Asia (Philippines 10%), and other countries (5%).Sony PCG-61211M battery Qatar has attracted an estimated $100 billion in investment, with approximately $60 to $70 billion coming from the United States in the energy sector. It is estimated that Qatar will invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years.

The name may derive from Qatara, believed to refer to the Qatari town of Zubara, an important trading port and town in the region in ancient times. Another possibility is that it comes from the Persian word Gwadar which means port. There are similar places in the region with that name, such as Gwadar in the Islamic Republic of PakistanSony VAIO VPCF24Q1E battery.

In Standard Arabic the name is pronounced [ˈqɑtˤɑr], while in the local dialect it is [ˈɡitˤar].[8] In English-language broadcast media within Qatar—for example, television commercials for Qatar Airways and advertisements concerning economic development in Qatar—the name is pronounced "KA-tar" (not "ka-TAR").

Zubarah Fort located in the town of Zubarah in the municipality of Madinat ash ShamalSony VAIO VPCF13M1E/H battery.

Human habitation of the Qatar Peninsula dates as far back as 50,000 years when small groups of inhabitants built coastal encampments, settlements, and sites for working flint that were dated to be from the Neolithic era, according to archaeological evidence.

Recent discoveries in Wadi Debay’an, a site located a few kilometers south of Zubarah, indicate human presence from 7,500 years ago. Amongst the findings were a wall built of stone, possibly used as a fish trap. Sony VAIO VPCF12Z1E/BI battery Discovery of a 6th millennium BC site at Shagra, in southeastern Qatar revealed the key role the sea (the Persian Gulf) played in the lives of Shagra’s inhabitants. Excavations at Al Khor in northeastern Qatar, Bir Zekrit and Ras Abaruk, and the discovery there of pottery, flint, flint-scraper tools, and painted ceramic vessels indicates Qatar’s connection with the Al-Ubaid civilisationSony VAIO VPCF12S1E/B battery, which flourished in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq during the period of 5th–4th millennium BC. It is thought that Mesopotamian fisherman working the rich fishing banks off the Arabian coast visited local settlements, bringing pottery with them and exchanging it for fresh meat in an improvised barter-based trade system.[14] The first potsherds of the Ubaid Mesopotamia were found by a Danish expedition in Al Da'asa in 1961Sony VAIO VPCF13Z8E/BI battery, but not identified until later. A second expedition was held in 1973–74 led by Beatrice De Cardi.[16] Contact between the people of Mesopotamia and the eastern Arabian coast (including Qatar) continued over centuries.

In the early 3rd millennium, Sumerians settled on Tarut Island, off the Saudi coast, approximately 100 kilometers north-west of Qatar. Later, from 2450–1700 BC, Dilmun, a peaceful trading civilization, was centered in Bahrain.Sony VAIO VPCF13Z8E battery Evidence that Qatar was part of the complex trading network is found from the presence of Barbar pottery, a product of the Dilmun civilization, in Ras Abrouk.[18]

Qatar then emerged as one of the richest places in the Persian Gulf, with regard to the trade and commerce between the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC. This period witnessed the spread of the Bronze Age cultures and civilizations from Mesopotamia to the Indus Valley settlements of IndiaSony VAIO VPCF13M1E/B battery. Trade between Mesopotamia and Indus Valley was channeled through the Persian Gulf, with the western coast of Qatar playing a vital role in the transshipment of the commercial goods as the discovery of fragments of Barbar pottery in Ras Abaruk reveals it. Qatar also attracted seasonal migrants during the period of the Bronze Age.[14]

Kassite of the Zagros Mountains, which is located in the province of LorestanSony VAIO VPCF1318E/H battery, assumed power in Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after circa 1531 BC to circa 1155 BC and spread their influence throughout the Persian Gulf region including a small island on the bay of Al Khor in the north of Doha. Ceramics, which were of Kassite origin that were unearthened while excavating in Al Khor for archaeological evidences, clearly indicate the close links between Qatar and Babylonia during this period. Sony VAIO VPCF13J0E/H battery

The Greco-Roman trade between Europe and India was carried on via the Persian Gulf during 140 BC. Archaeological evidence found in Qatar suggests the Greek and Roman influences in the peninsula, particularly at Ras Abaruk, included stone structures, such as dwellings, cairns, hearths and low mounds containing large quantities of fish bonesSony VAIO VPCF13E8E battery. Excavation of the dwelling revealed two chambers; linked by a cross-wall, with a third room open to the sea. Ras Abaruk was a temporary fishing station where periodic landing were made to dry fish during this period. In fact, pearls and dried fish were the major items for exportation from Qatar during the Greco-Roman period. Sony VAIO VPCF13E4E battery

The whole Persian Gulf region afterwards emerged as the most important trade centre, linking between the West and the East, during the time of the Sassanid Persian Empire in the 3rd century AD. Cargoes of copper, spices, sandalwood, teak, blackwood, etc., arriving from the East were exchanged for shipments of purple dye, clothing, pearls, dates, gold and silver. Qatar played a pre-eminent role in that commercial activity contributing at least two of these commodities to the Sassanid trade – purple dye and precious pearls. Sony VAIO VPCF12M1E/H battery

Although the peninsula land mass that makes up Qatar has sustained humans for thousands of years, for the bulk of its history, the arid climate fostered only short-term settlements by Nomadic tribes.

Islam was spread in the entire Arabian region by the end of the 7th century resulting in the Islamization of the native Arabian pagans. With the spread of Islam in Qatar, the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, sent his first military envoy, Al Ala Al-HadramiSony VAIO VPCF12F4E/H battery, to Al-Mundhir Ibn Sawa Al-Tamimi, the ruler of Bahrain (which extended from the coast of Kuwait to the south of Qatar, including Al-Hasa and Bahrain Islands), in the year 628, inviting him to accept Islam as he had invited other kingdoms and empires of his time such as Byzantium and Persia. Mundhir, in response to Muhammad, announced his acceptance of Islam, and the inhabitants of Qatar became MuslimSony VAIO VPCF12E1E/H battery, heralding the beginning of the Islamic era in Qatar. However, it is likely that some settled populations in Qatar did not instantaneously convert. An important seventh-century saint and mystic, named Isaac of Nineveh, became a leader in the Syrian church.

During the Umayyad and the Abbasid rules in Damascus and Baghdad respectively, there was further growth of trade and commerce in Qatar. Yaqut Al Hamawi, an Arab historian and biographer, who died in 1229Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI battery, considered Qatar as a village and famous for camel and horse breeding centre during the Umayyad period. During the ascendancy of the Abbasid in Baghdad, the pearling industry in the rich waters around Qatar developed considerably and the demand for Qatari pearl increased in the East, which extended as far as China. With the expansion of the mercantile activities on the coasts of Qatar, settlements began to grow on the north of Qatar, particularly at Murwab in the Yoghbi area between Zubarah and Umm el-Ma with more than 100 small stone built houses. Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese Empire enhanced their power and influence over the Persian Gulf of the Arabian Peninsula after establishing hold over the Strait of Hormuz. The Portuguese Empire settled its commercial relations with many Gulf harbors including Qatar, where it exported gold, silver, silk textiles, Dianthus, all kinds of pearls, amber and horses. Sony VAIO VPCF23S1E battery

In the 18th century, migrants established pearling and trading settlements along the coast of present-day Qatar. The Bani Khalid, which established their hold over Eastern Arabia, extended their power in the area from Qatar to Kuwait in the first half of the 18th century. Zubarah, which already emerged as one of the most salient sea ports in the Persian Gulf in view of the increased exportation of pearls to the different parts of the worldSony VAIO VPCF231S1E battery, became the headquarters of the Bani Khalid administration in Qatar and the principal transit port for their Eastern and the Central Arabian territories. The importations made from Surat of India to the port of Zubarah were Surat blue and other piece goods, cambay, chauders, shawls, bamboo, coffee, sugar, pepper, spices, iron, tin, oil, ghee, rice, etc. A part of these importations was retained at Zubarah for the consumption there and its immediate vicinities and the remainder were conveyed by means of camels to Dariyah in Nejd and to Al Hasa including the other districts under the jurisdiction of Bani Khalid. Sony VAIO VPCF23Q1E battery

In 1783, the Al Khalifa family of Bahrain invaded and annexed Qatar.[20]

In 1821, as punishment for piracy, an East India Company vessel bombarded Doha, destroying the town and forcing hundreds of residents to flee. The residents of Doha had no idea why they were being attacked. As a result, Qatari rebel groups began to emerge in order to fight the Al-Khalifas and to seek independence from Bahrain. In 1825, the House of Thani was established with Sheikh Thani bin Mohammed as the first leaderSony VAIO VPCF23M1E battery.

Although Qatar had the legal status of a dependency, resentment festered against the Bahraini Al Khalifas along the eastern seaboard of the Qatari peninsula. In 1867 the Al Khalifas launched an effort to crush the Qatari rebels, sending a massive naval force to Al Wakrah. This resulted in the maritime Qatari–Bahraini War of 1867–1868, where Bahraini forces sacked and looted Doha and Al Wakrah. Sony VAIO VPCF22S8E battery However, the Bahraini aggression was in violation of the 1820 Anglo-Bahraini Treaty. This attack, and the Qatari counterattack, prompted the British political agent, Colonel Lewis Pelly, to impose a settlement in 1868. His mission to Bahrain and Qatar and the peace treaty that resulted were milestones in Qatar's history because they implicitly recognized the distinctness of Qatar from Bahrain and explicitly acknowledged the position of Sheikh Mohammed bin ThaniSony VAIO VPCF22S1E battery, an important representative of the peninsula's tribes. The diplomatic response of the British to this violation set into motion the political forces that would eventuate in the founding of the state of Qatar on 18 December 1878 (for this reason, the date of 18 December is celebrated each year as Qatar National Day). In addition to censuring Bahrain for its breach of agreement, the British Protectorate (per Colonel Lewis Pelly) asked to negotiate with a representative from QatarSony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery.

The request carried with it a tacit recognition of Qatar’s status as distinct from Bahrain. The Qataris chose as their negotiator the entrepreneur and long-time resident of Doha, Muhammed bin Thani. The Al Thanis had taken relatively little part in Persian Gulf politics, but the diplomatic foray ensured their participation in the movement towards independence and their hegemony as the future ruling family, a dynasty that continues to this daySony VAIO VPCF22L1E battery. The results of the negotiations left the nation with a new-found sense of political identity, although it did not gain official standing as a British protectorate until 1916.

Qatar in Adolf Stieler map in 1891

Under military and political pressure from the Governor of the Ottoman vilayet of Baghdad, Midhat Pasha, the House of Thani in Qatar submitted to Ottoman rule in 1871.[22] By the end of that year, Ottoman rule extended from Kuwait to Qatar.[22] The Ottoman government imposed reformist (Tanzimat) measures concerning taxation and land registration to fully integrate these areas into the empire. Sony VAIO VPCF22J1E battery

In March 1893, at the Battle of Wajbah (10 miles west of Doha), Shaikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani defeated the Ottomans. Although Qatar did not gain full independence from the Ottoman Empire, the result of the battle forced a treaty that would later form the basis of Qatar emerging as an autonomous separate country within the Ottoman Empire. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery

The British initially sought out Qatar and the Persian Gulf as an intermediary vantage point en route to their colonial interests in India; although, the discovery of petroleum and other hydrocarbons in the early 20th century would reinvigorate their interest. During the 19th century, the time of Britain’s formative ventures into the region, the Al Khalifa clan reigned over the northern Qatari peninsula from the nearby island of Bahrain to the westSony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery.

The Ottoman Empire fell into disorder after losing battles in different fronts in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. Qataris took part in the Arab revolt against the Ottomans. The revolt was a success and Ottoman rule in Qatar collapsed.

The United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire accorded their recognition to Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani and his successors’ right to rule over the whole of the Qatari PeninsulaSony VAIO VPCF11D4E battery. The Ottomans renounced all their rights to Qatar and following the outbreak of the First World War; Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, who was pro-British, forced the Ottomans to abandon Doha in 1915.[24]

As a result of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, Qatar became a British protectorate on 3 November 1916. On that day, the United Kingdom, in order to bring Qatar under its Trucial System of Administration, signed a treaty with Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al ThaniSony VAIO VPCF11C5E battery. While Sheikh Abdullah agreed not to enter into any relations with any other power without prior consent of the British Government, Percy Zachariah Cox, the Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, who signed the treaty on behalf of his government, guaranteed the protection of Qatar ‘from all aggression by sea’.[24]

On 5 May 1935, Sheikh Abdullah signed another treaty, which was able to obtain Britain’s agreement for the protection of Qatar from inside as well as any attacks from external forces. Sony VAIO PCG-31114M batteryOil reserves were first discovered in 1939. However, exploitation was delayed by World War II.

The reach of the British Empire diminished after World War II, especially following Indian independence in 1947. In the 1950s, oil was beginning to replace pearling and fishing as Qatar's main source of revenue. Oil revenues began to fund the expansion and modernisation of Qatar's infrastructure. Pressure for a British withdrawal from the Arab emirates in the Persian Gulf increased during the 1950s, and the British granted Kuwait’s independence in 1961Sony VAIO PCG-31113M battery. When Britain officially announced in 1968 that it would disengage politically (though not economically) from the Persian Gulf in three years’ time, Qatar joined Bahrain and seven other Trucial States in a federation. Regional disputes, however, quickly compelled Qatar to resign and declare independence from the coalition that would evolve into the United Arab EmiratesSony VAIO PCG-31112M battery.

Independence (1971-Present)

On 3 September 1971, Qatar officially gained its independence from the British Empire and became an independent sovereign state.[14] In 1972, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani seized power in a palace coup after infighting in the ruling family.

In 1991, Qatar played a significant role in the Persian Gulf War, particularly during the Battle of Khafji in which Qatari tanks rolled through the streets of the town providing fire support for Saudi Arabian National Guard units which were fighting against units of the Iraqi ArmySony VAIO PCG-31111M battery. Qatar also allowed Coalition troops from Canada to use the country as an airbase to launch aircraft on CAP duty.

Since 1995, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has ruled Qatar, seizing control of the country from his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani while the latter vacationed in Switzerland. Under Emir Hamad, Qatar has experienced a moderate degree of liberalization, including the launch of the Al Jazeera TV station (1996) Sony VAIO PCG-41112M battery, the endorsement of women's suffrage or right to vote in municipal elections (1999), drafting its first written constitution (2005), and inauguration of a Roman Catholic church (2008). In 2010, Qatar was selected to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and will be the first country in the Middle East to host the tournament. The emir says Qatar will hold its first national legislative elections in 2013Sony VAIO PCG-41111M battery.

Qatar is increasingly active on the regional stage. It served as the US Central Command headquarters and one of the main launching sites of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.[25] In March 2005, a suicide bombing killed a British teacher at the Doha Players Theater, shocking for a country that had not previously experienced acts of terrorism. The bombing was carried out by Omar Ahmed Abdullah AliSONY VAIO PCG-21212M battery, an Egyptian residing in Qatar, who had suspected ties to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.[26][27] In 2011, Qatar joined NATO operations in Libya and reportedly armed Libyan opposition groups.[28] It is also currently giving assistance to rebel groups in Syria. Qatar is pursuing an Afghan peace deal and in January 2012 the Afghan Taliban said they were setting up a political office in Qatar to facilitate talks.

The Qatari peninsula juts 100 miles (161 km) north into the Persian Gulf from Saudi Arabia. It lies between latitudes 24° and 27° N, and longitudes 50° and 52° ESONY VAIO PCG-21211M battery.

Much of the country consists of a low, barren plain, covered with sand. To the southeast lies the spectacular Khor al Adaid (“Inland Sea”), an area of rolling sand dunes surrounding an inlet of the Persian Gulf. There are mild winters and very hot, humid summers.

The highest point in Qatar is Qurayn Abu al Bawl at 103 metres (338 ft)[29] in the Jebel Dukhan to the west, a range of low limestone outcroppings running north-south from Zikrit through Umm Bab to the southern border. The Jebel Dukhan area also contains Qatar’s main onshore oil deposits, while the natural gas fields lie offshore, to the northwest of the peninsulaSONY VAIO PCG-51212M battery.

Qatar signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity on 11 June 1992, and became a party to the convention on 21 August 1996.[30] It has subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which was received by the convention on 18 May 2005.[31]

The country's Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan states that 508 animal species have been recorded from terrestrial sites in Quatar. SONY VAIO PCG-51211M battery These comprise amphibians (1 species), birds (242 species), invertebrates (228 species), mammals (8 species) and reptiles (29 species). This count is unlikely to be exhaustive, particularly for invertebrates. One mammal (the Arabian oryx), and ten birds (cinereous bunting, corncrake, ferruginous duck, great snipe, greater spotted eagle, houbara bustard, lesser kestrel, pale harrier, sociable lapwing and Socotra cormorant) are treated by the plan as endangeredSONY VAIO PCG-51112M battery.

A further 553 animal species have been recorded from marine habitats. These comprise birds (20 species), fish (136 species), invertebrates (379 species), mammals (3 species) and reptiles (15 species). Of these, 10 are treated by the plan as endangered (black finless porpoise, blacktip shark, brown shark, dugong, green turtle, hawksbill turtle, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, leatherback turtle, loggerhead turtle and olive ridley turtle) SONY VAIO PCG-51111M battery.

A total of 142 fungal species have been recorded from Qatar.[32] Almost all of these are microscopic species isolated from soil samples, the predominating genera being Alternaria, Aspergillus, Botryotrichum, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Microascus, Penicillium and Stachybotrys. As with animals, the list is unlikely to be exhaustive. With the exception of brief comment about the importance in Qatari culture of desert truffles SONY VAIO PCG-81212M battery (species of Terfezia which live in association with Helianthemum species), the country's biodiversity strategy and action plan contained no mention of fungi living on animals (as symbionts or on dung), on plant material (as symbionts or saprobes), or in marine habitats. No lichen-forming fungi were mentioned. The total number of fungi actually occurring in Quatar is thus likely to be greater than the 142 species listed in the planSony VAIO PCG-81112M battery.

In terrestrial habitats, Quatar has 371 species of flowering plants, belonging in 236 genera. A further 402 plant species were listed from marine habitats.

For two decades Qatar has had the highest per-capita carbon dioxide emissions in the world, at 49.1 metric tons per person in 2008.[33] This is about 60 per cent more than one of the next highest per-capita emitting country, which is Kuwait at 30.7 metric tons, more than the double of the emissions of people in the United StatesSONY VAIO PCG-71111M battery. Other sources state that by 2007, Qatar’s emission rate increased to 69 tons per person per year.[34] Qatar had the highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions for the past 18 years. These emissions are largely due to high rates of energy use in Qatar. Major uses of energy in Qatar include air conditioning, natural gas processing, water desalination and electricity production. Between 1995 and 2011 the electricity generating capacity of Qatar will have increased to six times the previous levelSONY VAIO PCG-7196M battery. The fact that Qataris do not have to pay for either their water or electricity supplies is thought to contribute to their high rate of energy use. They are also one of the highest consumers of water per capita per day, using around 400 litres.

Qatar is an absolute monarchy under the leadership of the Al Thani family, whose origins can be traced back to the Banu Tamim tribe. The Al Thani dynasty has been ruling Qatar since the family house was established in 1825. SONY VAIO PCG-7195M battery

The supreme chancellor has the exclusive power to appoint and remove the prime minister and cabinet ministers who, together, comprise the Council of Ministers, which is the supreme executive authority in the country.[37] The Council of Ministers also initiates legislation. Laws and decrees proposed by the Council of Ministers are referred to the Advisory Council (Majilis Al Shura) for discussion after which they are submitted to the Emir for ratification. SONY VAIO PCG-7194M battery

A Consultative Assembly or Majlis al-Shura has limited legislative authority to draft and approve laws, but the Emir has final say on all matters. No legislative elections have been held since 1970 when there were partial elections to the body.[29] Elections to the Majlis al-Shura have been announced, and then postponed, several times.[38] In 2011 the emir announced that elections to the council would be held in the second half of 2013SONY VAIO PCG-7192M battery.

In 2003, Qatar adopted a new constitution that provided for the direct election of 30 of the 45 members of Advisory Council.[29][38] As of 2012, the Council is composed entirely of members appointed by the Emir.[29]

An elected 29-member Central Municipal Council (CMC) has limited consultative authority aimed at improving municipal services.[29] The CMC makes recommendations to the Ministry for Municipal Affairs and Agriculture. Disagreement between the CMC and the Ministry can be brought to the Council of Ministers for resolution. SONY PCG-8113M batteryMunicipal elections are scheduled for every four years.[38] The most recent elections for the council were in May 2011.[29] Before 1999, members of the CMC were appointed by the government.

Qatar is a civil law jurisdiction.[citation needed] However, Shari'a or Islamic law is applied to aspects of family law, inheritance, and certain criminal acts.[40]

Alcohol consumption is legal in Qatar, with many restrictions. Luxury hotels are allowed to sell alcohol to their adult non-Muslim customers. SONY PCG-8112M battery Consumption of alcohol by Muslims is punishable by law. Foreign nationals may obtain a permit to purchase alcohol for personal consumption. The Qatar Distribution Company (a subsidiary of Qatar Airways) is permitted to import alcohol and operates the only liquor stores in the country.[43] Pork is also legally imported through the Qatar Distribution Company, and may be purchased by holders of a liquor permitSONY PCG-7134M battery.

Until recently, restaurants on the Pearl-Qatar (a man-made island near Doha) were allowed to serve alcoholic drinks. In December 2011, however, restaurants on the Pearl were told to stop selling alcohol. No explanation was given for the ban.[41][42] Speculation about the reason includes the government's desire to project a more pious image in advance of the country’s first election of a royal advisory body and rumors of a financial dispute between the government and the resort’s developers. SONY PCG-7131M battery

Many cases of ill-treatment of immigrant labour have been observed. Qatar does not maintain wage standards for its immigrant labor. Under the provisions of Qatar’s sponsorship law, sponsors have the unilateral power to cancel workers’ residency permits, deny workers’ ability to change employers, report a worker as “absconded” to police authorities, and deny permission to leave the country.[45] As a result, sponsors may restrict workers’ movements and workers may be afraid to report abuses or claim their rights. SONY PCG-7122M battery

As of 2005, certain provisions of the Qatari Criminal Code allowed punishments such as flogging and stoning to be imposed as criminal sanctions. The UN Committee Against Torture found that these practices constituted a breach of the obligations imposed by the UN Convention Against Torture. Qatar retains the death penalty, mainly for threats against national security.

Main article: Foreign relations of QatarSONY PCG-7121M battery

Qatar was also an early member of OPEC and a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It is a member of the Arab League. The country has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction.[29]

Qatar has bilateral relationships with a variety of foreign powers. It has allowed American forces to use an air base to send supplies to Iraq and Afghanistan.[48] It has also signed a defense cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia,SONY PCG-7113M battery with whom it shares the largest single non-associated gas field in the world. It was the second nation, the first being France, to have publicly announced its recognition of the Libyan opposition's National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya amidst the 2011 Libyan civil war.[50]

The history of Qatar’s alliances provides insight into the basis of their policy. Between 1760 and 1971, Qatar sought formal protection from the high transitory powers of the Ottomans, British, the Al-Khalifa’s from Bahrain, the Persians, and the Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia. SONY PCG-7112M battery

According to leaked documents published in The New York Times, Qatar's record of counter-terrorism efforts was the "worst in the region" although Qatar had been a generous host to the American military.[52] The cable suggested that Qatar’s security service was "hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals".SONY PCG-8Z3M battery

Qatar has hosted academic, religious, political, and economic conferences. The 11th annual Doha Forum recently brought in key thinkers, professionals of various backgrounds, and political figures from all over the world to discuss democracy, media and information technology, free trade, and water security issues. This year was the first year the forum featured the Middle East Economic Future conferenceSONY PCG-8Z2M battery.

The economic growth of Qatar has been almost exclusively based on its petroleum and natural gas industries, which began in 1940.[57] The country has experienced rapid growth over the last several years due to high oil prices, and in 2008 posted its eighth consecutive budget surplus. Economic policy is focused on developing Qatar's non-associated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectorsSONY PCG-8Z1M battery, but oil and gas still account for more than 50% of GDP; roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues.

Oil and gas have made Qatar one of the highest per-capita income countries, and one of the world's fastest growing. The World Factbook states that Qatar has the second-highest GDP per capita in the world, after Liechtenstein. Proved oil reserves of 15 billion barrels should enable continued output at current levels for 37 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas are nearly 26 trillion cubic metres, about 14% of the world total and the third largest in the worldSONY PCG-8Y3M battery.

Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region focused on fishing and pearl hunting. After the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearl onto the world market in the 1920s and 1930s, Qatar's pearling industry crashed. However, the discovery of oil, beginning in the 1940s, completely transformed the state's economySONY PCG-8Y2M battery . Now, the country has a high standard of living, with many social services offered to its citizens and all the amenities of any modern state. It relies heavily on foreign labor to grow its economy, to the extent that 94% of its labour is carried out by foreigners. Labor laws in Qatar have improved over recent years, and Qatar is now the only state in the GCC to allow labour unionsSONY PCG-7Z1M battery .

Qatar’s national income primarily derives from oil and natural gas exports. The country has oil reserves of 15 billion barrels, while gas reserves in the giant North Field (which straddles the border with Iran and is almost as large as the peninsula itself) are estimated to be between 80 trillion cubic feet (2.3×1012 m3) to 800 trillion cubic feet (23×1012 m3) (1 trillion cubic feet of gas is equivalent to about 180 million barrels (29×106 m3) of oil) SONY PCG-6W2M battery. Qataris’ wealth and standard of living compare well with those of Western European states; Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the Arab World, according to the International Monetary Fund (2010)[58] and the CIA World Factbook.[59] With no income tax, Qatar (along with Bahrain) is one of the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world. Qatar has been ranked as the world's richest country per capita in a new list compiled by US-based Forbes magazineSONY PCG-5J5M battery. Blessed with the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world, the Persian Gulf emirate of 1.7 million people is benefitting from a rebound in oil prices. Adjusted for purchasing power (PPP), Qatar has an estimated gross domestic product per capita of $88,222.

While oil and gas will probably remain the backbone of Qatar’s economy for some time to come, the country seeks to stimulate the private sector and develop a “knowledge economy” SONY PCG-5K2M battery. In 2004, it established the Qatar Science & Technology Park to attract and serve technology-based companies and entrepreneurs, from overseas and within Qatar. Qatar also established Education City, which consists of international colleges. For the 15th Asian Games in Doha, it established Doha Sports City, consisting of Khalifa stadium, the Aspire Sports Academy, aquatic centres, exhibition centres and many other sports related buildings and centres. Following the success of the Asian Games, Doha kicked off an official bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in October 2007. SONY PCG-5K1M batteryIts bid was finally eliminated from consideration in June 2008. Qatar also plans to build an "entertainment city" in the future.

The Qatari government hopes that large-scale investment in all social and economic sectors will lead to the development of a strong financial market.

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) provides financial institutions with world-class services in investment, margin and no-interest loans, and capital support. These platforms are situated in an economy founded on the development of its hydrocarbons resourcesSONY PCG-5J4M battery , specifically its exportation of petroleum. It has been created with a long-term perspective to support the development of Qatar and the wider region, develop local and regional markets, and strengthen the links between the energy based economies and global financial markets.

Apart from Qatar itself, which needs to raise capital to finance projects of more than $130 billion, the QFC also provides a conduit for financial institutions to access nearly $1 trillion of investments which stretch across the GCC (Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) as a whole over the next decade. Commercial ties between the United States and Qatar have been expanding at a rapid pace over the last five yearsSONY PCG-5J1M battery, with trade volumes growing by more than 340%, from $738 million in 2003 to $3.2 billion in 2009. Over the same period, U.S. exports increased by 580% to $2.7 billion, making the United States the largest import partner for Qatar. U.S. companies look to play key role in the $60 billion dollars that Qatar will invest in roads, infrastructure development, housing and real estate, health/medical and sanitation projects in the next decadeSONY PCG-5G2M battery .

The new town of Lusail, the largest project ever in Qatar, is under construction.

Boats as seen from the corniche (waterfront promenade) in Doha

The primary means of transportation in Qatar is by road, due to the very cheap price of petroleum. The country as a result has an advanced road system undergoing vast upgrades in response to the country's rapidly rising population, with several highways undergoing upgrades and new expressways within Doha under construction. A large bus network connects Doha with other towns in the country, and is the primary means of public transportation in the citySony VAIO PCG-8131M battery.

The Salwa International Highway currently connects Doha to the border with Saudi Arabia, and a causeway with both road and rail links to Bahrain at Zubarah is due to begin construction shortly. The causeway will become the largest in the world, and will be the second to connect Bahrain to the Arabian PeninsulaSony VAIO PCG-8152M battery.

Currently, no rail networks exist in the country. In November 2009, however, the government signed a $26 billion contract with the German company Deutsche Bahn to construct a railway system over the next 20 years. The network will connect the country itself, and will include an international link with neighbouring states as part of a larger rail network being constructed across the countries of the Gulf Cooperation CouncilSony VAIO PCG-31311M battery. A railway link is also under construction between Qatar and Bahrain as part of the Qatar Bahrain Causeway.

Qatar's main airport is the Doha International Airport, which served almost 15 million passengers in 2007. In comparison, the airport served only 2 million passengers in 1998. As a result of the much larger volumes of passengers flying into and through the country today, the New Doha International Airport is currently under construction, and will replace the existing airport in 2013Sony VAIO PCG-31111M battery.

Out of the total population of approximately 1.5 million (May 2008 est.), the make up of ethnic groups is as follows: Qatari (Arab) 20%; other Arab 20%; Indian 20%; Filipino 10%; Nepali 13%; Pakistani 7%; Sri Lankan 5%; other 5%.[11] Arabic, English, Urdu, Hindi, Tagalog, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Punjabi, Persian and Pashto are the most widely spoken languages.

Islam is the predominant religion. According to the 2004 census, 77.5% of the population are Muslim, 8.5% are Christian and 14% are "Other".Sony VAIO PCG-8112M battery Shi'as comprise between 5% to 10% of the Muslim population in Qatar.[68]

Qatar is the only other Wahhabi state in the Arabian Peninsula. The other one being Saudi Arabia.[69]

The majority of non-citizens are from South and Southeast Asian and Arab countries working on temporary employment contracts, accompanied by family members in some cases.[citation needed] Non-citizens can be Sunni or Shi'a Muslims, Protestant or Catholic Christians, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, or Bahá'ísSony VAIO PCG-7186M battery.

The government uses Sunni law as the basis of its criminal and civil regulations. Some religious tolerance is granted. Foreign nationals are free to affiliate with their faiths other than Islam, e.g. Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Bahai, as long as they are religious in private and do not offend 'public order' or 'morality'Sony VAIO PCG-7171M battery.

In March 2008, a Roman Catholic church, Our Lady of the Rosary, was consecrated in Doha. No missionaries were allowed in the community. The church will have no bells, crosses or other Christian symbols on it and its premises.

The Christian population consists nearly completely of foreigners. Active churches are Mar Thoma Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church from Southern India, Arab Evangelicals from Syria and Palestine, and Anglicans,[70] about 50,000 Catholics and Copts from Egypt. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M batteryNo foreign missionary groups operate openly in the country,[72] but the government allows churches to conduct Mass. Since 2008 Christians have been allowed to build churches on ground donated by the government.[73]

This section requires expansion. (January 2013)

Arabic is the official language of Qatar. English is also widely spoken.[74] Reflecting the multicultural make-up of the country, many other languages are also spoken, including French, Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu and Tagalog. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M battery

Qatari culture (music, art, dress, and cuisine) is similar to that of other Arab countries of the Persian Gulf; see Culture of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. Arab tribes from Saudi Arabia migrated to Qatar and other places in the Persian Gulf; therefore, the culture in the Persian Gulf region varies little from country to countrySony VAIO PCG-5P1M battery.

Qatar explicitly uses Sharia law as the basis of its government, and the vast majority of its citizens follow Hanbali Madhhab. Hanbali (Arabic: حنبلى) is one of the four schools (Madhhabs) of Fiqh or religious law within Sunni Islam (the other three being Hanafi, Maliki and Shafii). Sunni Muslims believe that all four schools have "correct guidance", and the differences between them lie not in the fundamentals of faith, but in finer judgments and jurisprudenceSony VAIO PCG-5N2M battery, which are a result of the independent reasoning of the imams and the scholars who followed them. Because their individual methodologies of interpretation and extraction from the primary sources (usul) were different, they came to different judgments on particular matters.[68]

The Qatar National Day hosted every 18 December is the day Qataris celebrate their national identity and history. On that day, expressions of affection and gratitude are conveyed to the people of Qatar who cooperated in solidarity and vowed allegiance and obedience to Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani as a leader in 1878Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M battery.

Al Jazeera is a television network headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Al Jazeera initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel of the same name, but has since expanded into a network of several specialty TV channels.

Print media is going through expansion, with over three English dailies and Arabic titles. Qatar Today is the only monthly business magazine in the country. It is published by Oryx Advertising, which is the largest magazine publisher in QatarSony VAIO PCG-8161M battery. The group also publishes several titles such as Qatar Al Youm, the only monthly business magazine in Qatar in Arabic language, Woman Today, the only magazine for working women, and GLAM,[78] the only fashion magazine. In December 2009, Oryx launched T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine,[79] which marks the entry of an international magazine into QatarSony VAIO PCG-8141M battery.

Khalifa International Stadium, home stadium of the Qatar national football team.

Main article: Sport in Qatar

Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Qatar. The Qatar under-20 national football team finished second in the 1981 FIFA World Youth Championship after a 4–0 defeat to Germany in the final.

The Asian Football Confederation's 2011 AFC Asian Cup finals was held in Qatar in January 2011. It was the fifteenth time the tournament has been held, and the second time it has been hosted by Qatar, the other being the 1988 AFC Asian CupSony VAIO PCG-3J1M battery.

Doha, Qatar, is also home to Qatar Racing Club, a drag racing facility. Sheik Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani is very involved in the sport and owner of Al-Anabi Racing.

Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha, Qatar, hosted the WTA Tour Championships in women's tennis between 2008 and 2010. Doha holds the WTA Premier tournament Qatar Ladies Open annually.

On 2 December 2010, Qatar won their bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M battery

Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar won the 2011 Dakar Rally and the Production World Rally Championship in 2006. In addition, he has also won gold medals at the 2002 Asian Games and 2010 Asian Games as part of the Qatari skeet shooting team, as well as a bronze medal in the individual skeet event at the 2010 Games in Guangzhou. In the 2012 Summer Games, he won the bronze medal in clay pigeon shooting. Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M battery

Since 2002, Qatar has hosted the annual Tour of Qatar, a cycling race in six stages. Every February, riders are racing on the roads across Qatar's flat land for six days. Each stage covers a distance of more than 100 km, though the time trial usually is a shorter distance. Tour of Qatar is organised by the Qatar Cycling Federation for professional riders in the category of Elite Men. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M battery

Cornell University's Weill Medical College in Qatar

In recent years, Qatar has placed great emphasis on education. Citizens are required to attend government-provided education from kindergarten through high school.[83] Qatar University was founded in 1973. More recently, with the support of the Qatar Foundation, a number of leading universities from other countries have opened branch campuses in the Education CitySony VAIO PCG-9Z2L battery.

In 2008, Qatar established the Qatar Science & Technology Park at Education City to link those universities with industry. Education City is also home to a fully accredited International Baccalaureate school, Qatar Academy. Two Canadian institutions, the College of the North Atlantic and the University of Calgary, also operate campuses in Doha. Other for-profit universities have also established campuses in the city. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1L battery

In November 2002, the Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani created the Supreme Education Council.[85] The Council directs and controls education for all ages from the pre-school level through the university level, including the “Education for a New Era”[86] reform initiative.

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC)—affiliated with Cornell University—is the premier non-profit health care provider in Doha, Qatar. Established by the Emiri decree in 1979, HMC manages five highly specialised hospitals and a health care centreSony VAIO PCG-9131L battery: Hamad General Hospital, Rumailah Hospital, Women’s Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital and the Primary Health Care Centres and Al Khor Hospital. These hospitals are quite sophisticated by the standards of the region, with most hosting advanced fMRI and other scanning machines.

Other private hospitals and polyclinics consist of Sidra Hospital, Al-Ahli Hospital, Doha Clinic, Al-Emadi...

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  • Al-Attiyah wins Qatar Rally

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