Country Listing

Qatar Table of Contents



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