Qatar History, Part II
In my previous blog post about Qatar's history, I ended by announcing its declaration of independence and its joining of the United Nations and the Arab League. In Qatar, December 18th is celebrated wildly and publicly throughout the country. They have an enormous sense of national pride. Last year, my father and stepmom were leaving Qatar on the eighteenth to come home to Canada to visit. The airport was handing out postcards to recognize Qatar's National Day.
Though in my last post, I did say National day was celebrated on September 3rd, it was changed in 2007. As of 2007, December 18th became the National Day, to celebrate the different tribes coming together under the rule of Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammad Al Thani.
While in Doha, you will notice lots of pictures of the emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He is on the side of buildings, and he is on the back of cars. Qataris take great pride with their leader, which is something, I am not familiar with. Now, back to the history of Qatar!
In 1972, Qatar's economy was very dependent on oil. With Sheikh Kalifah ruling, he brought a ‘renaissance' in the country; triggering a rapid transformation. The year after, Qatar seized all the profits of the Qatar Petroleum.
In 1981 Qatar joined and established the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for security and external defence during the Islamic Revolution in the Iran-Iraq war. In 1990 and 1991, the Persian Gulf War broke out. The French, Canada, and U.S. aircrafts to fight against Iraq were all based in Doha. The most famous among Qataris is the battle over the Saudi Arabian border town of Ra's al-Khafji on January 30 and 31 in 1991.
Oil revenues renewed in 1995, caused palace coup bringing Sheikh Kalifah's son, Sheikh Hamad to power. Sheikh Hamad argued with his father Kalifah in 1996 to gain ownership of billions of dollars that were invested in the black-gold industry. Sheikh Kalifah was unwilling to hand over the 2.5-7.5 billion dollars to Sheikh Hamad because Kalifah felt that he deserved the money. He thought he was responsible for pulling Qatar out of an unstable economy and selling petroleum was his personal accomplishment. He strongly believed that he should be rewarded compensation for the work he had done as the emir.
In the 1990s Qatar had agreed to allow the United States military to place equipment in several sites in Qatar, and let them use Qatari airstrips during U.S. operations in Afghanistan (2001). Qatar became the headquarters for the American and allied military presence in Iraq in 2003.
The economy increased efforts to make Qatar more prominent in the Middle East, and internationally. The Qatari government focused on bringing in cultural projects; things like museums, and bringing in foreign universities. The goal is to have an influence and to be recognized as open and independent from other societies.
Qatar has been trying to promote its international standing, they stand as a median in different disagreements between countries. Qatar was the broker between the Yemeni authorities and the Hunthi rebels, this fell apart in 2007. In 2008 Qatar helped fix the standoff in Lebanon, which was threatening to become an armed conflict.
In 2011 Qatar supported the rebellion against the Libyan leadership of Muammar Al Gathafi. The Qatari government sent money and weapons to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led mission. The same year, Qatar played an important role in the Arab League's attempt to broker a peace agreement between the Syrian rule of Bashar al-Assad and the uprising. The year after, the settlement failed, and Qatar went against the regime to support the ‘enemy.' The government sent money and weapons to reinforce the opposition. That same year, 2012, Egypt continued their rivalry with the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar gave billions of dollars to the Mohammed Morsi authorities.
In June of 2013, history was made in Qatar. Sheikh Hamad abdicated and handed the throne to his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani. This was the first recorded time in the Gulf that a peaceful change in leadership was made. With Sheikh Tamim as Emir, a setback occurred with Qatar's foreign policy in Egypt. Mohammad Morsi had been ousted by a coup in July of 2013, and the Muslim Brotherhood was forced to go underground. With Syria and Libya headed into chaos, Qatar faced major losses due to the money they had invested in the two countries.
One year later, in 2014 Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and other members of the GCC withdrew their ambassadors out of Qatar to display their anger with Qatar for having ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. In November of that year, the diplomat returned to Doha. Qatar had shown that they were willing to distance itself from the Muslim Brotherhood and to reconcile with the Egyptian government.
Stay tuned. There is still much more to catch up on modern Qatar! Remember to share and tell your friends about Travelling Tyanna. Like, comment, and share on social media!
Thank you for travelling with Tyanna! Stay tuned!