Qatar. Qatar has two problems. Firstly, it is the criticism of the sporting events one organizes (this year’s Athletics World Cup and the Soccer World Cup 2022), and secondly, it is the ongoing boycott of neighboring countries, which has its basis in allegations that Qatar favors terrorism.
In May, the head of a Qatari TV sports channel, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, was accused of paying bribes for Qatar to host the 2019 Athletics Championships, and in June, French football star Michel Platini was arrested for involvement in a scandal that gave the country Soccer World Cup 2022. According to the British newspaper Sunday Times, Qatar should have paid the equivalent of more than SEK 9 billion to the International Football Association (FIFA) to take care of the football party.
Linked to these sports scandals is also the large number of guest workers in Qatar. Every year, hundreds of guest workers die of heat stroke in the country. During the summer, hundreds of thousands of people worked in heat up to 45 degrees, including the construction of the 2022 Soccer World Cup. According to the authorities, there is a ban on body work in direct sunlight in the middle of the day, but the heat can still be fatal at other times of the day. It is often young men who lose their lives due to heart problems – or “natural causes,” as the authorities call it.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of QAT in general and in geography as Qatar in particular.
During the year most of the last parts of the so-called Kafal system were scrapped. It was a refined job trafficking system, which meant that in order to obtain a residence and work permit, someone, usually the employer, had to guarantee their stay in the country. The employer could therefore seize the employee’s passport and also sell/rent the employee’s services. The new rules do not require permission from the employer to change jobs or leave the country, and the promised minimum wage will start to apply at the end of 2019/20.
The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, announced in November that the country was doing well during the two-year boycott and that national elections could soon be held. Whether this is done before or after the World Cup 2022 is not clear. Probably it will be after.
On January 1, the VAT on alcohol was increased to 100%. Sales of alcohol in hotels and clubs are allowed in Qatar, but now it was twice as expensive.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Qatar in 2019 was 2,831,956, ranking number 141 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.810% yearly, and the population density was 243.9334 people per km2.
Already dominated by the Āl Khalīfa family of Baḥrain, in 1872 the Qatar was subjected to Ottoman sovereignty. In 1916 it was occupied by the English, who recognized the Āl Thānī family as ruler. Having become a protectorate in 1934, in 1971 the Qatar obtained independence as an emirate and was admitted to the UN and the Arab League. In 1960 the sheikh ‛Alī ben‛ Abdallāh, on the throne since 1949, abdicated in favor of his son Aḥmad ben ‛Alī, deposed in 1972 by his cousin Khalīfa ben Ḥamad; the latter reigned until June 1995, when he was in turn deposed by his son Ḥamad ben Khalīfa. On the international level, the Qatar in 1981 established together with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman the Gulf Cooperation Council, while signing defensive agreements with the US, UK and France between 1992 and 1994, and at the same time conducting a relatively independent foreign policy from Saudi Arabia. Opposing the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (1990), the Qatar supported the US in the wars in Afghanistan (2002) and Iraq (2003). Shortly after the emir appointed his youngest son Tamim as crown prince, in favor of whom he abdicated in 2013. In 2005 the first Constitution in the history of the country entered into force, a crucial step in the reform process announced by the emir.
In June 2017, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives broke off diplomatic relations with the country, accused of supporting Shiite minorities by supporting their terrorist actions.