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Qatar: Opposition
Country Study > Chapter 5 > Government and Politics > Opposition


Because no public dissent is tolerated in Qatar, opposition usually manifests itself in royal family intrigue or behind-the- scenes grumbling by aggrieved parties. The apparent public tranquillity is cultivated by the amir and by the private but closely controlled media. Incidents in the 1980s, however, demonstrated that opposition to the regime existed.

In September 1983, for example, a conspiracy to assassinate the ruler or a GCC head of state was uncovered by Qatari authorities, and seventy people were arrested. Contradictory press reports said that either some military people were involved or that the plot reflected a squabble among members of the ruling family. Qatari security forces learned of the plot from Egyptian intelligence via the Saudi Arabians. Informed that the plotters were backed by Libya, Qatar declared the Libyan chargé d'affaires persona non grata. The target of the plot, according to conflicting reports, was either Shaykh Khalifa ibn Hamad or GCC heads of state who were coming to Doha for a November summit. Since then, there have been other reported assassination attempts.

In August 1985, it was reported that Shaykh Suhaym ibn Hamad Al Thani, one of the amir's brothers, disappointed that the position of crown prince was given to Shaykh Khalifa ibn Hamad's son, Hamad ibn Khalifa, plotted a coup and maintained a cadre of supporters and a cache of weapons in the north of the country. When Shaykh Suhaym ibn Hamad died suddenly, his sons blamed Minister of Information and Culture Ghanim al Kuwari for not responding promptly to the call for medical help. After supporters of Suhaym ibn Hamad and his sons attempted to kill Ghanim al Kuwari, they were imprisoned.

Soon after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Palestinians and Iraqis living in Qatar came under intense government scrutiny. Dozens were deported, and many more were forced to leave after their contracts were not renewed.

Data as of January 1993

Last Updated: January 1993

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Qatar was first published in 1993. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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