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Introduction: 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...

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History: Qatar has been inhabited for millennia. Several families, including branches of the Bani Naim, lived in the peninsula, with the Al Thani and Al Misnad clans becoming the strongest. The Al Khalifa family (which now rules Bahrain) largely dominated the area until 1868 when, at the request of Qatari nobles, the British negotiated the termination of the Khalifa claim, except for the payment of ...

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International Relations: Qatar's relations with its neighbours

Qatar is a member of the Gulf Co-operation Council alongside its neighbours Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It hosted the 2007 GCC Summit in Doha.

Coverage of regional events by Al Jazeera, which is based in Doha, has strained bilateral relations with some of Qatar’s neighbours.

Qatar's relations with the international community

Qatar is active in both regional and international diplomacy. In April 2011, Qatar hosted the First Contact Group meeting on Libya, which the UK co-chaired.


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The Persian Gulf lies between two of the major breadbaskets of the ancient world, the Tigris-Euphrates area (Mesopotamia, meaning "between the rivers") in present-day Iraq and the Nile Valley in Egypt. Mesopotamia, a part of the area known as the Fertile Crescent, was important not only for food production but also for connecting East to West.

Rivers provided the water that ...

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Area Handbook Series
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