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One of the richest sovereign states in the Arabian Peninsula, Qatar (Arabic: قطر‎ Qaṭar), officially known as the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر‎ Dawlat Qaṭar), is a little Western Asian appendix country, bordering Saudi Arabia to the south, Bahrain to the west, and the United Arab Emirates to the east. It is the only country in the world whose name begins with a "Q", and also lacks the typical "Qu" formation.

Originally governed as part of Bahrain, the place became a hotspot for commercial activity, being a good place to stop between the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Ocean. Later it became a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire until the Ottomans wanted to turn “protecting” into “conquering”, when they were expelled for good from the area.

In the last parts of the 19th century and the early 20th century, Qatar approached the British to help them dissociate from the Al Khalifa clan of Bahrain, essentially turning themselves into a protectorate from one country to another. In 1971, it became an independent state.

Today the country is an absolute monarchy led by Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, following his father, Hamad's abdication in 2013. Hamad had previously deposed his father, Khalifa, in bloodless coup in 1995 (he had already been practically running the country before anyway) and had continued the modernization progress started by his father, including women’s suffrage and a new constitution. It is the only other country in the world to adopt Hanbali Sunni Islam (specifically, the Wahhabi movement) as its state religion (other Sunni Persian Gulf countries adhere to Maliki school). Nevertheless, it is profoundly more liberal than fellow Wahhabi-adhering Saudi Arabia.


As with other Gulf Arab countries, Qatar is a close ally to the United States, and hosts the region's largest American military base. It is also, surprisingly, one of the few Arab states willing to take Israel to the negotiations table. In recent years, Qatar is seen at odds among its fellow Gulf monarchies for its aversion to conflict with Iran and advocacy for political Islam. It is a long-time supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned in many Arab countries since the Arab Spring for its purportedly subversive actions. For these reasons, it is close with Turkey, which advocates for the same ideals. Though the Gulf had turned a blind eye on its involvement for a while, that changed by 2017. In that year, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates cut all diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar and effectively blockaded it, accusing it of supporting terrorism. The boycott lasted nearly four years, basically spanning the entirety of Donald Trump's presidency, and was a major stumbling block in his administration's policy of "maximum pressure" towards Iran, as it was unable to coordinate its Gulf allies when they were not in speaking terms with each other. Although the boycott was eventually lifted, it was expected that Qatar would continue to craft a foreign policy independent to that of the rest of its neighbors.


Qatar is a huge tract of desert, so most of the cities are on the coast. It is also, like fellow Persian Gulf countries, full of oil, which earns it the distinction as the country with the highest GDP per capita adjusted according to purchasing power parity (i.e. living costs) at $124,000; for comparison, the United States ranks eleventh at $59,000. Adjusted by nominal value, its ranking drops to sixth at $60,000 per capita, still the highest in Asia and just ahead of the US.

Its recent economic growth has been driven in many ways by immigrant labour from India and the Greater Middle East, to the point where four-fifths of Qatar's 2.6 million people are foreign workers with temporary residence. Sadly, these foreign workers have not been treated over well, with many being forced to sign contracts in languages they do not speak, being prohibited from forming trade unions, and work in poor conditions. The International Trade Union Congress and the Guardian estimate, for instance, that at least 4,000 workers will die building the World Cup infrastructure - more than players who will take to the field. The average per capita annual wage for an immigrant worker is $2,500, whilst the average per capita annual wage for the natives is $102,000. This has led some commentators to compare the nation with ancient Sparta; a clique of sybarites and dilettantes secured in power by vast slave labour.

Football fans may know the country as the future host of the 2022 World Cup, a selection that is widely believed to have been influenced by cash payout and international media exposure. Fans of sport in general (especially in Asia) may also remember the capital, Doha, as candidate city for the 2020 Olympic Games, and was host of the 2006 Asian Games, best known as the games whose opening ceremony featured Mohammed bin Hamad, a son of Sheikh Hamad and captain of Qatar's equestrian team, galloping with his horse carrying the Torch up the stands to light the cauldron perched atop the bleachers. Also, much like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar is attracting motorsport, having become the first nation in the Arab World to host a Grand Prix motorcycle race in 2004.

Al Jazeera is also based in Qatar.

Qatar in Popular Culture

Video Game
  • Battlefield 2042: The base game map "Hourglass' is set in Qatar, specifically in and around the planned city of Lusail, just 23 km north of the capital Doha.

The Qatari flag
White and maroon (supposed to be red like Bahrain's, but the dye traditionally used to make that color was known for turning purple when dried under the sun) symbolizes peace and the blood of Qatar's fallen freedom fighters, respectively, while the nine-pointed serrated line denote Qatar as the ninth and last Gulf emirate to enter into a protection deal with Britain in 1916, joining Bahrain and the seven that would form the United Arab Emirates. It is the only national flag to be more than twice as long as it is wide.

The Qatari national anthem

قسما قسما
قسما بمن رفع السماء
قسما بمن نشر الضياء
قطر ستبقي حرة تسمو بروح الاوفياء
سيروا على نهج الألى
سيروا وعلى ضياء الانبياء
قطر بقلبي سيرة عز وأمجاد الاباء
قطر الرجال الاولين
حماتنا يوم النداء
وحمائم يوم السلام
جوارح يوم الفداء
جوارح يوم الفداء
قسما قسما
قسما بمن رفع السماء
قسما بمن نشر الضياء
قطر ستبقى حرة تسمو
بروح الأوفياء

I Swear, I Swear
Swearing by the one who raised the sky
Swearing by the one who spread the light
Qatar will always be free
By the spirit of the loyal
Travel the high road
Travel by the guiding light of the Prophets
In my heart, Qatar is a way that respects the achievements of our forefathers
Qatar is the land of the foremost men
Who protect us in time of distress,
Doves of peace, Warriors of sacrifice
Birds of prey they are at times of sacrifice
I Swear, I Swear
Swearing by the one who raised the sky
Swearing by the one who spread the light
Qatar will always be free
By the spirit of the loyal

  • Unitary semi-constitutional monarchy
    • Emir: Tamim bin Hamad
    • Prime Minister: Khalid bin Khalifa

  • Capital and largest city: Doha
  • Population: 2,795,484
  • Area: 11,581 km² (4,471 sq mi) (158th)
  • Currency: Qatari riyal (ر.ق) (QAR)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: QA
  • Country calling code: 974
  • Highest point: Qurayn Abu al Bawl (103 m/338 ft) (194th)
  • Lowest point: Arabian Gulfnote /Persian Gulf (90 m/300 ft) (-)