Introduction to Qatar

The state of Qatar is an Islamic sovereign Arab state located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar peninsula on the north-easterly region of Arabia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south with the rest of the country being surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait of water also separates it from the island state of Bahrain.

Since the state gained independence from the British in 1971 the formerly poor region has become one of the wealthiest thanks to its vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

The Qatari government and politics has been dominated by the Al-Thani family since the mid 19th century as they rule the state as an absolute and hereditary emirate.

Qatar’s population stands at fewer than 250,000 people, with foreign workers and expats outnumbering native Qataris. Foreign expats mostly come from other Arab countries which comprise 20% of the population, Indian’s make up 24.5%, Nepal 13%, Pakistan 7%, Sri Lanka 5% and other nations 15%.

Shari’a law is the main source of Qatari legislation and is applied to aspects of family law, inheritance and criminal acts.

According to Forbes Qatar is the richest country in the world and in 2010 it had the world’s highest Gross Domestic Product per capita, and its economy grew at a huge 19%, the fastest rate in the world. The country is a big exporter of natural gas, petrochemicals, oil and other related industries.

Qatar has a strong relationship with the United States with the US military having it US Central Command forward headquarters ad Combined Air Operations Centre on the peninsula.