The 1970 provisional constitution (sometimes called the basic law) declares Qatar a sovereign Arab, Islamic state and relates sovereignty in the state. In fact, the Amir holds sovereignty, but, although he is supreme in relation to any other individual or institution, in practice his rule is not absolute. The constitution also provides for a partially elected consultative assembly, the Advisory Council. The first council's twenty members were selected from representatives chosen by limited franchise and voice. The size of the council was increased to thirty members in 1975. Among the council's constitutional rights is the right to debate legislation drafted by the Council of Ministers before it is approved and declared.
The Amir is also obliged to rule in accordance with Islamic rules, which include fairness, honesty, generosity, and mutual respect. Islamic religious and ethical values are appropriate to both the ruler's personal life and his rule. Thus, the ruler must maintain the support of the religious community, which often declares itself in such areas as media censorship, education regulations, and the status of women.
The state political organs include the ruler, the Council of Ministers, and the Advisory Council. The ruler makes all major executive decisions and makes laws by judgment. The constitution convicts the legislative and executive processes in the functions of the ruler, in effect formalizing his supremacy. Among the ruler's constitutional duties are convening the Council of Ministers, ratifying and proclaiming laws and decrees, commanding the armed forces, and appointing and dismissing senior civil servants and military officers by judgments. The constitution provides that the ruler possess "any other powers with which he is vested under this provisional constitution or with which he may be vested under the law." This means that the ruler may extend or modify his powers by personal decree. The constitution also provides for a deputy ruler, who is to assume the post of Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is to formulate government programs and exercise final supervisory control over the financial and administrative affairs of the government. When the constitution was declared, Khalifa bin Hamad was concurrently Prime Minister and heir, but the constitution did not specify that the inheritor must hold the post of Prime Minister.
Qatar occupies 11,437 square kilometers on a peninsula that extends approximately 160 kilometers north into the Persian Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula. Varying in width between fifty-five and ninety kilometers, the land is mainly flat (the highest point is 103 meters) and rocky. Notable features include coastal salt pans, elevated limestone formations (the Dukhan anticline) along the west coast under which lies the Dukhan oil field, and massive sand dunes surrounding Khawr al Udayd, an inlet of the gulf in the southeast known to local English speakers as the Inland Sea. Of the islands belonging to Qatar, Halul is the most important. Lying about ninety kilometers east of Doha, it serves as a storage area and loading terminal for oil from the surrounding offshore fields. Hawar and the adjacent islands immediately off the West Coast is the subject of a territorial dispute between Qatar and Bahrain.
The capital, Doha, is located on the central East Coast on a sweeping (if shallow) harbor. Other ports include Umm Said, Al Khawr, and Al Wakrah. Only Doha and Umm Said are capable of handling commercial shipping, although a large port and a terminal for loading natural gas are planned at Ras Laffan, north of Al Khawr. Coral reefs and shallow coastal waters make navigation difficult in areas where channels have not been dredged.
One of Qatarís natural resources is petroleum. Which is a very important source of energy in Qatar. Natural gas is another example of a natural resource in Qatar. Furthermore, fish is found in big amounts in Qatar because of its geographical area next to the Persian Gulf. Other than that, Qatar is a flat desert that lacks big amounts of plants that could be considered as natural resources.
Qatari culture revolves almost entirely around Islam. A monotheistic religion, Islam's holy book is the Qur'an, and Friday is its Sabbath day. Most Qataris adhere to the austere Wahhabi sect of Islam, which also dominates Saudi Arabia. Qatari Wahhabism, however, is less strict. For example, alcohol, which is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia, is available in Qatar and there is no prohibition on women driving cars. Arabic is the official language in Qatar, though Doha's sizable populations of Pakistanis make Urdu, the Pakistani language, seem more useful. English is also widely spoken.
Qatar is primarily a Bedouin culture, and the tribal believes is still strong in modern society. Bedouins (being nomads) had a culture traditionally based on poetry and song rather than buildings or art. However, the practical art of weaving has produced some beautiful Bedouin artifacts, such as tents, rugs, cushions and saddlebags. The Bedouin weavers work with wool from sheep, goats and camels, using simple tools made from wood and gazelle horn. Qatar was once celebrated for its weaving industry - it's said that even Mohammed, the Muslimís prophet, preferred his clothes made from Qatari fabric. Traditional Qatari dress is characterized by gold or silver embroidery, known as al-zari or al-qasab. Women are veiled - most take the veil when they are around seven years old, and by adolescence they will cover their body entirely with an al-darraa, a long black dress. They also wear a black mask, called al-battoulah, which covers all of the face except the eyes, nose and mouth. Qatari men wear a thobe, a long white shirt over loose pants. They also wear that symbol of the Arab world, a loose headdress called a gutra, held on with a black rope known as the agal.
The military branches are: the navy, air force, and army. Military age is 18 years. Males available for manpower from age 15 to 49 are 316,885 this number includes non nationals. Males fit for military are 166,214 . Males that are in the military are 6,797.
Having abstained from the UAE after independence from Britain in 1974, Qatar began forming its own defense forces with UK aid. In 1974 the mainly helicopter equipped Air Wing of the Public Security forces achieved air force status, following deliveries of more British helicopters and ex-RAF Hunters as the QEAF's first fixed-wing and combat types. Modernization and reorganization plans then resulted in 1979 orders for six Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets and 14 Mirage F1 multi-role fighters delivered during 1980-1984. Based at Doha International Airport, with several outlying available for helicopter operations, QEAF units experienced severe concentration and apparent disadvantage in the 1990-91 Gulf War, resulting in new infrastructure contracts worth more than $200 million in France.
They involved construction of a dedicated military air base and HQ, with hardened aircraft shelters, air defense radar and Roland missile batteries southwest of the capital at Al Udaid. A 1987 military co-operation agreement with France also led to $1.6 billion contracts in 1994 for nine single seat Dassault Mirage 2000-5EDA combat aircraft and three two-seat Mirage-2000-5DDA combat trainers, with deliveries starting in December 1997. Qatar's remaining eleven Mirage F1EDAs and two-seat F1DDAs were returned to Dassault in part-exchange, and afterward sold to Spain.
Orders from a £500 million late 1996 letter of agreement for a UK arms package including 18 BAe Hawks 100s and 15 Shorts Starburst SAM systems have been delayed by budget reductions and falling oil prices. For government and VIP transport, the Emir Wing operates single civil-registered examples of the Airbus A340-221, Boeing 707-336C and -3P1C, Boeing 727-2P1 and two Dassault Falcon 900s. The recent ending of the long-standing border disputes with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will have had a beneficial impact on the defense posture of this small peninsular state in the Arabian Gulf. Additionally, the mutually agreed arms control being exercised by the members of the Gulf Co-operation Council will probably see Qatar's limited but effective armed forces enter a period of stasis, with no new acquisitions foreseen.
In 1989 oil and natural gas extraction and processing accounted for 26 percent of the GDP and most industrial activity. Other major industries include fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel, and cement. In addition, small-scale, state-subsidized farms and fishing sector accounted for about 1 percent of GDP in 1989. As well as, meats, small portion of local needs, mostly vegetables and fodder. Furthermore, some date production. Also, Livestock includes goats, camels, sheep, and horses; along with, dairy and chicken farms. In 1989, Qatarís exports to the United States $2.6 billion; mostly oil gas and petroleum products. As well, Qatarís exports to Japan are about 54.4%, to Thailand 5%, to Singapore 4%. Other partners include gulf and European Community countries. Qatarís import partners are the United Stated ($1.3 billion, mostly machinery, manufactured goods, and food), Japan (18.8%), Britain (11.6%), Italy (7.8%), and Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) (7.3 percent). Other partners include gulf and European Community countries.
The Indian rupee was the principal currency until 1959, when the government replaced it with a special gulf rupee in an effort to halt gold smuggling into India. In 1966 Qatar and Dubai jointly established a currency board to issue a Qatar-Dubai riyal. In 1973 Qatar introduced its own riyal, which was pegged to the International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights. The exchange rate is tied to the United States dollar at a rate of QR3.64 per US$1.00. Banks give loans at rates between 7 and 9 percent, and they pay 7 percent on deposits. About fifteen local and foreign banks operate in Qatar. Oil and gas revenues make up 90 percent of government revenue, and government spending is the primary means of injecting these earnings into the economy. Given the small size of the local market, government spending generates most of the economic activity. Because of increased involvement in the international economic scene, in April 1989 Qatar's financial year was changed from the Islamic to the Gregorian calendar.
Large budget excesses in the 1970s funded major development projects, with government spending leveling off and dropping in the 1980s, years of more modest oil revenues. After years of remainders of oil, the government had a shortage of nearly QR8 billion in 1983. The government has attempted to keep lacks down by reducing the number of new projects and delaying those under way. In addition, the financial situation of the regime can often be measured by the amount of time required to pay contractors.
Views on World Problems
The Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait and the resulting threat to other small gulf states forced Qatar to alter significantly its defense and foreign policy priorities. Qatar had supported Iraq financially in its 1980-88 war against Iran, Qatar quickly joined the anti-Iraq coalition after the invasion. Formerly a political and economic supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Qatar bitterly condemned the alliance between the PLO and many Palestinians on the one hand and Saddam Hussein on the other hand. Moreover, Qatar's previous opposition to superpower naval presence in the gulf turned into an open willingness to permit the air forces of the United States, Canada, and France to operate from its territory.
The war also drew Qatar and other GCC members closer to Egypt and Syria, the two strongest Arab members of the anti-Iraq coalition. The Qatari-Egyptian agreement began in 1987 when the two countries resumed diplomatic relations after the League of Arab States (Arab League) summit that adopted the resolution allowing members to reestablish diplomatic links at their choice. After the war, Egypt and Syria received large sums from the Gulf States in appreciation for their roles. Qatar and Syria signed an agreement on trade and economic and technical cooperation in January 1991.
Even before August 1990, Qatar historically had close relations with its larger and more powerful neighbor, Saudi Arabia. Because of geopolitical realities and the religious attraction of the two ruling families (both comply to the conservative Wahhabi interpretation of Islam), Qatar followed the Saudi lead in many regional and global issues. The two countries signed a bilateral defense agreement in 1982, and on several occasions Saudi Arabia acted as moderator in territorial disputes between Qatar and Bahrain.
Qatar also has had sincere relations with Iran, despite Qatar's support of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. In 1991 Shaykh Hamad ibn Khalifa welcomed Iranian participation in gulf security arrangements. Iran was one of the first countries to recognize Shaykh Khalifa ibn Hamad in 1972.
Relations with Bahrain continue to change between correct and strained, with tensions rising regularly over territorial disputes dating back for decades. Most of the friction involves Hawar and the adjacent islands, which both countries claim. Tensions rose most recently in July 1991 when, according to reports, Qatari naval vessels violated Bahraini waters, and Bahraini jet fighters flew into Qatari airspace. The issue was referred in August to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to determine whether it had jurisdiction over the dispute. Other disputes have involved the abandoned town of Az Zubarah, on the northwest coast of Qatar. The most serious crisis took place in April-June 1986, when Qatari forces raided Fasht ad Dibal, a coral reef in the gulf north of Al Muharraq in Bahrain that had been artificially built up into a small island. They took into custody twenty-nine workers who were sent by Bahrain to build a coast guard station. The workers were released in May, and installations on the island were destroyed. Qatar submitted the dispute to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, but Bahrain refused the common ownership of the court in June 1992. The dispute was ongoing as of early 1993.
Britain's historical role in the gulf has guaranteed a special relationship with its former protectorates. Qatari- British relations are tempered by a complex blend of suspicion and cordiality. On the one hand, Qataris are wary of the former colonial power because they remember instances when they were ill-served by their "protector," especially regarding the exploitation of oil. On the other hand, the long-term British presence in the gulf has fostered many fruitful political, economic, and cultural ties between the two countries.
Relations with the United States have been generally proper but took a sudden turn for the worse in March 1988 when United States-made Stinger missiles (obtained through bad channels) were observed at a military parade in Doha. When the Qatari government refused to quit the weapons to the United States or to allow an inspection, the United States instituted a policy of withholding military and economic cooperation. The Stinger issue was settled when Qatar destroyed the missiles in question in 1990. Furthermore, both sides acknowledged the need to cooperate militarily in the face of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Qatar is part of the United Nations, International Organizations and Conferences, International Conventions and Agreements.
Around the 1750ís the Al Thani family arrived, coming from Najd in today's Saudi Arabia. They settled in the region as fishers and pearl divers. After about 15 years the Al Khalifa family moved from Kuwait to Qatar. But then the Persian invasion that happened in 1783 drove the Al Khalifa family to Bahrain. However, they still hold a great influence over Qatar. Qatar is becoming a center for pearl extraction, with Zubara (which is a suburb in Qatar) in the northwest as the main center. This activity was controlled by the Al Khalifa family of Bahrain (now the ruling family). There were at these period serious tensions between the Al Thani and the Al Khalifa families.
Later on, in 1916, there was a treaty between Amir Abdullah, Qatarís leader at that time, and the British. This involved British ownership on dealing with Qatar. That was when Qatar became a British protectorate. In 1937 the Al Thani family gains control over Zubara, then two years later oil was discovered.
In 1971, Britain leaves the region. Qatar has talks with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven independent states, which was known as the Trucial States, on establishing a federation. Qatar withdraws from the talks right after Bahrain pulls out. In September 1st Qatarís independence is declared. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, a continuous draw off of petroleum revenues distorted the Qatari economy by the Amir who had ruled the country since 1972. His son overthrew him, the current Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001, Qatar determined its long-standing border arguments with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Oil and natural gas revenues enable Qatar to have a per capita income not far below the leading industrial countries of Western Europe.
First Issue-The question of rising water levels due to the effects of global warming.
Qatar is certainly concerned about the increase of Global warming, since itís a dignified country that cares about all its neighbors. Our proof to that is that Qatar signed on the Kyoto Protocol. Which is an agreement made by the governments at the UN Climate Change Convention in Kyoto, Japan in 1997 to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that developed countries send into the atmosphere to 5.2% below their 1990 levels, by the year 2012.
The Kyoto Convention developed a broad agreement to cut greenhouse gases, which was called the Kyoto Protocol. Since then there have been a number of meetings to finalize the rules for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, so that countries can approve the Protocol in their parliament. Greenhouse gases trap heats energy rising from the earth and prevents it from escaping into outer space. This warms up the earth and the lower atmosphere. The thing that have to occur to make Kyoto Protocol legally binding first, is that it must be approved by the government or parliament of at least 55 of the 160 countries that attended the Kyoto Climate Change Convention. Also, and these countries must be responsible for at least 55% of the greenhouse gas emissions of developed countries in 1990. Qatar, which is one of the countries that have signed on the protocol, has followed all the protocol rules.
Second Issue- The question of controlling the spread of the SARS virus and finding a cure for it.
The fears from the SARS virus increase day by day. As it is of great danger. It is a contagious sickness that can lead to death. Doctors and scientists still didnít find a cure for this hazardous sickness. It is affecting everyone in the world either by getting the virus or scared of getting it. We canít blame the Gulf countries including the great country of Qatar for taking action and precautions. All the airlines have stopped accepting planes and passengers coming from the Republic of China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong or Singapore. Those decisions were made to keep the passengers and people in the country be safe and healthy. Qatar announced that it will take all necessary measures for as long as required to ensure that they are effectively protected against the SARS virus. To minimize disruptions and inconvenience to the passengers, the Gulf countries are finalizing arrangements with airways to take up affected passengers and cargo on this part of the journey. Airlines disembarking passengers in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar will not be allowed to accept passengers who have visited the SARS affected countries.
Third Issue-The question of securing food and water resources for nations in times of war and famine.
Qatar is a country that seeks peace all around the world. Itís a very helpful and supporting country that aided many countries when they were in the state of an invasion or war. All the Gulf countries should contemplate to Qatar and its humanitarian acts. Qatar has and is helping many countries in need of things like water, food, and many other things. During the invasion of Iraq on Kuwait in 1990, Qatar was one of the countries that helped and aided its neighbor Kuwait. For seven months Qatar was one of the countries that was sending things to help Kuwait and Kuwaiti people, from army and weapons to things like food and water. Furthermore, at the moment, Qatar is helping the poor Iraqi people by sending them food and water. Qatar also has helped many poor countries like Sudan and Soomal.
Fourth Issue-The question of creating a nuclear free zones in the Middle East.
Developing a nuclear weapon free zone is a very important issue for the Middle East. It increases safety and reduces fights and arguments. Many countries, including Qatar have discussed many times the issue of developing a nuclear weapon free zone. Like Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and many other countries. During the establishment of such a zone, to declare solemnly that they will abstain, on a interdependent basis, from producing, acquiring or in any other way possessing nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices and from permitting the stationing of nuclear weapons on their territory.
Fifth Issue-The question of guaranteeing human rights and alleviating suffering in Cuba.
This has to stop. Qatar and many other countries are on the United States side, to save Cuban people from suffering. Their leader Castro has caused all that torture, and suffering to his people. This leader is a similar copy to Saddam Hussein, the old Iraqi leader. The world has already saved the Iraqi people from their evil leader; however, they still didnít take a big step to start helping the Cuban-Americans. The United States and many other countries have to rescue the Cubans from their amoral leader. The entire world has to look at this issue and find a good resolution that would help all Cubans.
Defining Nuclear Weapons: A nuclear weapon is a device, such as a bomb or warhead, whose great explosive power derives from the release of nuclear energy,
Defining Middle East as the countries located in Middle Eastern Asia including the GCC countries,
Defining Free Zone as an area were no nuclear weapons are present,
Affirming the issue of creating a nuclear free zone in the Middle East is a problem of utmost importance,
Aware of creating a nuclear free zone in the Middle East means the safety and security of all citizens and the safety of the country itself from creating enemies,
Alarmed By the presence of nuclear weapons in the Middle East creates enemies that would want those weapons and as well would want their own safety so wars would start,
1. Fully Believing the presence of nuclear weapons in the Middle East is causing a lot of fights, quarrels, arguments and wars;
2. Deeply Concerned that many wars in the Middle East and as well in neighbor countries occurred because of nuclear weapons;
3. Recalling nuclear weapons have a vast affect on the people and as well on the countries that have and as well the countries who donít have those hazardous weapons;
4. Emphasizing the countries in the Middle East should take a serious step to get rid of the nuclear weapons.
5. Resolves the UN (United Nations) should get rid of all the nuclear weapons in the Middle East. A. An organization consisting of twenty inspectors should be developed. This organization will take care of checking all the suspected countries of having nuclear weapons and it will hold a meeting every two months in Geneva, the capital of Switzerland, B. The inspectors will enter the suspected countries using their own ways and methods would search for the nuclear weapons, C. The time of the search would depend on how big the country is and how much suspected of having nuclear weapons it is, D. When the nuclear weapons are found they all get gathered in one place which would be as well in Switzerland, where the meeting take place, E. Then, rods made of cadmium or boron, which are able to absorb the bombarded neutrons, are to be inserted in the nuclear weapons. Then the nuclear weapons would be ineffective, F. This is when they have to get rid of them;
6. Requests all the countries should sign the non proliferation treaty to for the security and safety of its people.
A country next to Saudi Arabia next to the Persian Gulf and considered one of the Gulf countries. This might not be enough to guess what country Iím talking about. However, when I say a fair, impartial, and righteous country that keeps its entire people safe from anything. A country that has a government that doesnít allow anything that could threaten the safety of its people. A country that provides its people with everything they need and makes life easier for them. Without a doubt you would know that this country is Qatar.
In order to achieve peace in the Middle East all the countries should work on making it a nuclear free zone. Having a nuclear zone in the Middle East has caused many innocent lives to be lost. To wrap it up, having a nuclear free zone in the Middle East is an issue of outmost importance and all the countries should take in consideration the danger of not having one.