Geographic and Governmental Profile of Qatar

Background
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 highest per capita income in the world. Qatar has not experienced the level of unrest or violence seen in other Near Eastern and North African countries in 2010-11, due in part to its immense wealth. Qatar's international image is bolstered in part by the Doha-based Al Jazirah news network, which has provided comprehensive coverage of the Near East and North African Arab revolutions. Additionally, Qatar played a significant role in the Libyan revolution by pressing the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League to assist the Libyan rebel movement.
Location
Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates
25 30 N, 51 15 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Middle East
Area
total:
11,586 sq km
rank:
166
land:
11,586 sq km
water:
0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries
total:
60 km
border countries:
Saudi Arabia 60 km
Coastline
563 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
as determined by bilateral agreements or the median line
Climate
arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Terrain
mostly flat and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point:
Tuwayyir al Hamir 103 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, fish
Land use
arable land:
1.64%
permanent crops:
0.27%
other:
98.09% (2005)
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Irrigated land
130 sq km (2002)
Total renewable water resources
0.1 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.29 cu km/yr (24%/3%/72%)
per capita:
358 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
haze, dust storms, sandstorms common
Environment - current issues
limited natural freshwater resources are increasing dependence on large-scale desalination facilities
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
strategic location in central Persian Gulf near major petroleum deposits
Country name
conventional long form:
State of Qatar
conventional short form:
Qatar
local long form:
Dawlat Qatar
local short form:
Qatar
closest approximation of the native pronunciation falls between cutter and gutter, but not like guitar
Government type
emirate
Capital
name:
Doha
geographic coordinates:
25 17 N, 51 32 E
time difference:
UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
7 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah); Ad Dawhah, Al Khawr wa adh Dhakhirah, Al Wakrah, Ar Rayyan, Ash Shamal, Az Za'ayin, Umm Salal
Independence
3 September 1971 (from the UK)
National holiday
Independence Day, 3 September (1971); also observed is National Day, 18 December (1878) (anniversary of Al Thani family accession to the throne)
Constitution
ratified by public referendum 29 April 2003; endorsed by the Amir 8 June 2004, effective 9 June 2005
Legal system
mixed legal system of civil law and Islamic law (in family and personal matters)
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa Al Thani (since 27 June 1995); Heir Apparent TAMIM bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, fourth son of the amir (selected Heir Apparent by the amir on 5 August 2003); note - Amir HAMAD also holds the positions of Minister of Defense and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
head of government:
Prime Minister HAMAD bin Jasim bin Jabir Al Thani (since 3 April 2007); Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad bin Abdallah al-MAHMUD (since 20 September 2011)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed by the amir
elections:
the position of amir is hereditary
Legislative branch
unicameral Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura (45 seats; 15 members appointed; 30 members elected by popular vote)
the Advisory Council has limited legislative authority to draft and approve laws, but the amir has final say on all matters; no legislative elections have been held since 1970 when there were partial elections to the body; Council members have had their terms extended every year since the new constitution came into force on 9 June 2005; the constitution provides for a new 45-member Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura; the public would elect 30 members and the Amir would appoint 15; elections to the Majlis al-Shura have been rescheduled for 2013; Qatar in May 2011 held nationwide elections for the 29-member Central Municipal Council (CMC) - first elected in 1999 - which has limited consultative authority aimed at improving municipal services
Judicial branch
Courts of First Instance, Appeal, and Cassation; an Administrative Court and a Constitutional Court were established in 2007; note - all judges are appointed by Amiri Decree based on the recommendation of the Supreme Judiciary Council for renewable three-year terms
Political parties and leaders
none
Political pressure groups and leaders
none
International organization participation
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CICA (observer), FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Muhammad bin Abdallah bin Mitib al-RUMAYHI
chancery:
2555 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone:
[1] (202) 274-1600 and 274-1603
FAX:
[1] (202) 237-0061
consulate(s) general:
Houston
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Susan L. ZIADEH
embassy:
Al-Luqta District, 22 February Road, Doha
mailing address:
P. O. Box 2399, Doha
telephone:
[974] 488 4161
FAX:
[974] 488 4150
Flag description
maroon with a broad white serrated band (nine white points) on the hoist side; maroon represents the blood shed in Qatari wars, white stands for peace; the nine-pointed serrated edge signifies Qatar as the ninth member of the "reconciled emirates" in the wake of the Qatari-British treaty of 1916
the other eight emirates are the seven that compose the UAE and Bahrain; according to some sources, the dominant color was formerly red, but this darkened to maroon upon exposure to the sun and the new shade was eventually adopted
National anthem
name:
"Al-Salam Al-Amiri" (The Peace for the Anthem)
lyrics/music:
Sheikh MUBARAK bin Saif al-Thani/Abdul Aziz Nasser OBAIDAN
adopted 1996; the anthem was first performed that year at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperative Council hosted by Qatar
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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