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Qatar History

Think Tanks
Wikipedia.Human habitation of Qatar dates back to 50,000 years ago.[37] Settlements and tools dating back to the Stone Age have been unearthed in the peninsula.[37] Mesopotamian artifacts originating from the Ubaid period (c. 6500–3800 BC) have been discovered in abandoned coastal settlements.[38] Al Da'asa, a settlement located on the western coast of Qatar, is the most important Ubaid site in the country and is believed to have accommodated a small seasonal encampment.[39][40]

Kassite Babylonian material dating back to the second millennium BC found in Al Khor Islands attests to trade relations between the inhabitants of Qatar and the Kassites in modern-day Bahrain.[41] Among the findings were 3,000,000 crushed snail shells and Kassite potsherds.[39] It has been suggested that Qatar is the earliest known site of shellfish dye production, owing to a Kassite purple dye industry which existed on the coast.[38][42]

In 224 AD, the Sasanian Empire gained control over the territories surrounding the Persian Gulf.[43] Qatar played a role in the commercial activity of the Sasanids, contributing at least two commodities: precious pearls and purple dye.[44] Under the Sasanid reign, many of the inhabitants in Eastern Arabia were introduced to Christianity following the eastward dispersal of the religion by Mesopotamian Christians.[45] Monasteries were constructed and further settlements were founded during this era.[46][47] During the latter part of the Christian era, Qatar comprised a region known as 'Beth Qatraye' (Syriac for ""house of the Qataris"").[48] The region was not limited to Qatar; it also included Bahrain, Tarout Island, Al-Khatt, and Al-Hasa.[49]

In 628, Muhammad sent a Muslim envoy to a ruler in Eastern Arabia named Munzir ibn Sawa Al Tamimi and requested that he and his subjects accept Islam. Munzir obliged his request, and accordingly, most of the Arab tribes in the region converted to Islam.[50] In the middle of the century, the Muslim conquest of Persia would result in the fall of the Sasanian Empire.[51]

Early and late Islamic period (661–1783)
Qatar was described as a famous horse and camel breeding centre during the Umayyad period.[52] In the 8th century, it started benefiting from its commercially strategic position in the Persian Gulf and went on to become a centre of pearl trading.[53][54]

Substantial development in the pearling industry around the Qatari Peninsula occurred during the Abbasid era.[52] Ships voyaging from Basra to India and China would make stops in Qatar's ports during this period. Chinese porcelain, West African coins and artefacts from Thailand have been discovered in Qatar.[51] Archaeological remains from the 9th century suggest that Qatar's inhabitants used greater wealth to construct higher quality homes and public buildings. Over 100 stone-built houses, two mosques, and an Abbasid fort were constructed in Murwab during this period.[55][56] When the caliphate's prosperity declined in Iraq, so too did it in Qatar.[57] Qatar is mentioned in 13th-century Muslim scholar Yaqut al-Hamawi's book, Mu'jam Al-Buldan, which alludes to the Qataris' fine striped woven cloaks and their skills in improvement and finishing of spears.[58]

Much of Eastern Arabia was controlled by the Usfurids in 1253, but control of the region was seized by the prince of Ormus in 1320.[59] Qatar's pearls provided the kingdom with one of its main sources of income.[60] In 1515, Manuel I of Portugal vassalised the Kingdom of Ormus. Portugal went on to seize a significant portion of Eastern Arabia in 1521.[60][61] In 1550, the inhabitants of Al-Hasa voluntarily submitted to the rule of the Ottomans, preferring them to the Portuguese.[62] Having retained a negligible military presence in the area, the Ottomans were expelled by the Bani Khalid tribe in 1670.[63]

Bahraini and Saudi rule (1783–1868)
In 1766, members of the Al Khalifa family of the Utub tribal confederation migrated from Kuwait to Zubarah in Qatar.[64][65] By the time of their arrival, the Bani Khalid exercised weak authority over the peninsula, notwithstanding the fact that the largest village was ruled by their distant kin.[66] In 1783, Qatar-based Bani Utbah clans and allied Arab tribes invaded and annexed Bahrain from the Persians. The Al Khalifa imposed their authority over Bahrain and retained their jurisdiction over Zubarah.[64]

Following his swearing in as crown prince of the Wahhabi in 1788, Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz moved to expand Wahhabi territory eastward towards the Persian Gulf and Qatar. After defeating the Bani Khalid in 1795, the Wahhabi were attacked on two fronts. The Ottomans and Egyptians assaulted the western front, while the Al Khalifa in Bahrain and the Omanis launched an attack against the eastern front.[67][68] Upon being made aware of the Egyptian advance on the western frontier in 1811, the Wahhabi amir reduced his garrisons in Bahrain and Zubarah in order to redeploy his troops. Said bin Sultan, ruler of Muscat, capitalised on this opportunity and raided the Wahhabi garrisons on the eastern coast, setting fire to the fort in Zubarah. The Al Khalifa were effectively returned to power thereafter.[68]

As punishment for piracy, an East India Company vessel bombarded Doha in 1821, destroying the town and forcing hundreds of residents to flee. In 1825, the House of Thani was established with Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani as the first leader.[69]

Although Qatar was considered a dependency of Bahrain, the Al Khalifa faced opposition from the local tribes. In 1867, the Al Khalifa, along with the ruler of Abu Dhabi, sent a massive naval force to Al Wakrah in an effort to crush the Qatari rebels. This resulted in the maritime Qatari–Bahraini War of 1867–1868, in which Bahraini and Abu Dhabi forces sacked and looted Doha and Al Wakrah.[70] The Bahraini hostilities were in violation of the Perpetual Truce of Peace and Friendship of 1861. The joint incursion, in addition to the Qatari counter-attack, prompted British Political Resident, Colonel Lewis Pelly to impose a settlement in 1868. His mission to Bahrain and Qatar and the resulting peace treaty were milestones because they implicitly recognised the distinctness of Qatar from Bahrain and explicitly acknowledged the position of Mohammed bin Thani. In addition to censuring Bahrain for its breach of agreement, Pelly negotiated with Qatari sheikhs, who were represented by Mohammed bin Thani.[71] The negotiations were the first stage in the development of Qatar as a sheikhdom.[72] However, Qatar was not officially recognised as a British protectorate until 1916.[73]

The Ottoman period (1871–1915)
Old city of Doha, January 1904.
Under military and political pressure from the governor of the Ottoman Vilayet of Baghdad, Midhat Pasha, the ruling Al Thani tribe submitted to Ottoman rule in 1871.[74] The Ottoman government imposed reformist (Tanzimat) measures concerning taxation and land registration to fully integrate these areas into the empire.[74] Despite the disapproval of local tribes, Al Thani continued supporting Ottoman rule. Qatari-Ottoman relations, however, soon stagnated, and in 1882 they suffered further setbacks when the Ottomans refused to aid Al Thani in his expedition of Abu Dhabi-occupied Khawr al Udayd. In addition, the Ottomans supported the Ottoman subject Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab who attempted to supplant Al Thani as kaymakam of Qatar in 1888.[75] This eventually led Al Thani to rebel against the Ottomans, whom he believed were seeking to usurp control of the peninsula. He resigned as kaymakam and stopped paying taxes in August 1892.[76]

In February 1893, Mehmed Hafiz Pasha arrived in Qatar in the interests of seeking unpaid taxes and accosting Jassim bin Mohammed's opposition to proposed Ottoman administrative reforms. Fearing that he would face death or imprisonment, Jassim retreated to Al Wajbah (16 km or 10 mi west of Doha), accompanied by several tribe members. Mehmed's demand that Jassim disbands his troops and pledge his loyalty to the Ottomans was met with refusal. In March, Mehmed imprisoned Jassim's brother and 13 prominent Qatari tribal leaders on the Ottoman corvette Merrikh as punishment for his insubordination. After Mehmed declined an offer to release the captives for a fee of 10,000 liras, he ordered a column of approximately 200 troops to advance towards Jassim's Al Wajbah Fort under the command of Yusuf Effendi, thus signalling the start of the Battle of Al Wajbah.[51]

Effendi's troops came under heavy gunfire by a sizable troop of Qatari infantry and cavalry shortly after arriving at Al Wajbah. They retreated to Shebaka fortress, where they were again forced to draw back from a Qatari incursion. After they withdrew to Al Bidda fortress, Jassim's advancing column besieged the fortress, resulting in the Ottomans' concession of defeat and agreement to relinquish their captives in return for the safe passage of Mehmed Pasha's cavalry to Hofuf by land.[77] Although Qatar did not gain full independence from the Ottoman Empire, the result of the battle forced a treaty that would later form the basis of Qatar's emerging as an autonomous country within the empire.[78]

British period (1916–1971)
By the Anglo-Turkish Convention of 1913, the Ottomans agreed to renounce their claim to Qatar and withdraw their garrison from Doha. However, with the outbreak of World War I, nothing was done to carry this out and the garrison remained in the fort at Doha, although its numbers dwindled as men deserted. In 1915, with the presence of British gunboats in the harbour, Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani (who was pro-British) persuaded the remainder to abandon the fort and, when British troops approached the following morning, they found it deserted.[79][80]

Qatar became a British protectorate on 3 November 1916, when the United Kingdom signed a treaty with Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani to bring Qatar under its Trucial System of Administration. While Abdullah agreed not to enter into any relations with any other power without prior consent of the British government, the latter guaranteed the protection of Qatar from aggression by sea and provide its 'good offices' in the event of an attack by land – this latter undertaking was left deliberately vague.[79][81] On 5 May 1935, while agreeing an oil concession with the British oil company, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Abdullah signed another treaty with the British government which granted Qatar protection against internal and external threats.[79] Oil reserves were first discovered in 1939. Exploitation and development were, however, delayed by World War II.[82]

The focus of British interests in Qatar changed after the Second World War with the independence of India, the creation of Pakistan in 1947 and the development of oil in Qatar. In 1949, the appointment of the first British political officer in Doha, John Wilton, signifed a strengthening of Anglo-Qatari relations.[83] Oil exports began in 1949, and oil revenues became the country's main source of revenue, the pearl trade having gone into decline. These revenues were used to fund the expansion and modernisation of Qatar's infrastructure. When Britain officially announced in 1968 that it would withdraw from the Persian Gulf in three years' time, Qatar joined talks with Bahrain and seven other Trucial States to create a federation. Regional disputes, however, persuaded Qatar and Bahrain to withdraw from the talks and become independent states separate from the Trucial States, which went on to become the United Arab Emirates.

Independence and aftermath (1971–present)
On 3 November 1916, the sheikh of Qatar entered into treaty relations with the United Kingdom.[84] The treaty reserved foreign affairs and defence to the United Kingdom but allowed internal autonomy. On 3 September 1971, those ""special treaty arrangements"" that were ""inconsistent with full international responsibility as a sovereign and independent state"" were terminated.[85] This was done under an agreement reached between the Ruler of Qatar and the Government of the United Kingdom.[86][85]

In 1991, Qatar played a significant role in the Gulf War, particularly during the Battle of Khafji in which Qatari tanks rolled through the streets of the town and provided fire support for Saudi Arabian National Guard units that were engaging Iraqi Army troops. Qatar allowed coalition troops from Canada to use the country as an airbase to launch aircraft on CAP duty and also permitted air forces from the United States and France to operate in its territories.[37]

In 1995, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani seized control of the country from his father Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, with the support of the armed forces and cabinet, as well as neighbouring states[87] and France.[88] Under Emir Hamad, Qatar experienced a moderate degree of liberalisation, including the launch of the Al Jazeera television station (1996), the endorsement of women's suffrage or right to vote in municipal elections (1999), drafting its first written constitution (2005) and inauguration of a Roman Catholic church (2008). In 2010, Qatar won the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, making it the first country in the Middle East to be selected to host the tournament. The Emir announced Qatar's plans to hold its first national legislative elections in 2013. They were scheduled to be held in the second half of 2013, but were postponed until October 2021. The legislative council hosted the 140th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly for the first time in April 2019.[89]

In 2003, Qatar served as the US Central Command headquarters and one of the main launching sites of the invasion of Iraq.[90] In March 2005, a suicide bombing killed a British teacher from Dorset called Jonathan Adams[91] at the Doha Players Theatre, shocking the country, which had not previously experienced acts of terrorism. The bombing was carried out by Omar Ahmed Abdullah Ali, an Egyptian resident in Qatar who had suspected ties to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.[92][93] In 2011, Qatar joined NATO operations in Libya and reportedly armed Libyan opposition groups.[94] It is also currently a major funder of weapons for rebel groups in the Syrian civil war.[95] Qatar is pursuing an Afghan peace deal and in January 2012 the Afghan Taliban said they were setting up a political office in Qatar to facilitate talks. This was done in order to facilitate peace negotiations and with the support of other countries including the United States and Afghanistan. Ahmed Rashid, writing in the Financial Times, stated that through the office Qatar has ""facilitated meetings between the Taliban and many countries and organisations, including the US state department, the UN, Japan, several European governments and non-governmental organisations, all of whom have been trying to push forward the idea of peace talks. Suggestions in September 2017 by the presidents of both the United States and Afghanistan have reportedly led to protests from senior officials of the American State Department.[96]

In June 2013, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani became the Emir of Qatar after his father handed over power in a televised speech.[97] Sheikh Tamim has prioritised improving the domestic welfare of citizens, which includes establishing advanced healthcare and education systems, and expanding the country's infrastructure in preparation for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup.[98]

Qatar participated in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen against the Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was deposed in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.[99]

The increased influence of Qatar and its role during the Arab Spring, especially during the Bahraini uprising in 2011, worsened longstanding tensions with Saudi Arabia, the neighboring United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain.[citation needed] In June 2017, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, citing the country's alleged support of groups they considered to be extremist.[100] This has resulted in increased Qatari economic and military ties with Turkey and Iran.

Qatar is expected to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup from 21 November to 18 December, becoming the first Arab country to do so.[101]

Data Government Communications Office Qatar, Middle East
"Environment and Sustainability
Protecting the environment and supporting sustainable development are at the forefront of Qatar’s priorities. As one of the first countries to ratify the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1996, Qatar has a longstanding commitment to addressing global environmental challenges. Qatar is an active partner in the international community to confront the climate crisis.

“The phenomenon of climate change is undoubtedly one of the most serious challenges of our time”.
His Highness the Amir, speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019
International cooperation for a greener future

Qatar signed the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, an agreement which marked an important milestone in which the international community agreed for the first time on binding targets and measures for combating climate change.

In 2012, more than 20,000 delegates and key members from governments, UN Organizations and civil society gathered in Doha for the Eighteenth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Qatar spared no effort to ensure the success of negotiations of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and is a proud signatory of the seminal treaty.

Additionally, Qatar supports global efforts to promote sustainability through projects assisting those most affected by climate change.

During the Climate Action Summit in September 2019, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, announced the State of Qatar’s contribution of $100 million to support small island developing states and least developed countries to address climate change and environmental challenges.

Ambitious sustainability goals

Qatar’s National Environment and Climate Change Strategy (QNE) provides a robust policy framework to safeguard Qatar’s environment for future generations.

Protecting Qatar’s unique environment
Qatar, like its Gulf neighbours, is highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is exclusively dedicated to addressing matters of environmental concern, ensuring that sustainable and climate-conscious practices are adopted throughout all sectors.

In September 2021, Qatar’s Council of Ministers approved the National Climate Change Plan, a strategic framework reflecting Qatar’s long-term sustainability ambitions and the urgent need to respond effectively to the climate crisis.

An integral part of Qatar National Vision 2030 an in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the plan sets out Qatar’s commitment to tackle climate change by diversifying the economy, building capabilities, and optimising the use of natural resources. It establishes national climate targets to enhance climate resilience through more than 35 measures and over 300 adaptation initiatives focused on mitigation.

Commitment to environmental research

Research plays a crucial role in assessing potential environmental risks and identifying solutions.

Qatar’s effective and sophisticated environmental institutions carry out relevant research while building and strengthening public awareness about ecological protection as well as encouraging the use of green technologies. These research hubs ensure constant innovation and development in the fields on environmental preservation, sustainability and technology.

Qatar Science and Technology Park is a leading hub of applied research, technology innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship. Several of its projects aim to deliver cleaner burning and more efficient fuels, while identifying new ways of producing energy.

Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) conducts and coordinates long-term and multidisciplinary research that addresses critical national priorities related to water security, energy and environment.

Sustainable cities

Qatar is home to Lusail City and Msheireb Downtown, both smart and sustainable cities, that were designed to combine planet friendly technology with optimised urban planning. These cities both meet the highest environmental standards and promote environmental stewardship and research.

Most notably, Msheireb Downtown is the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project.

Designed to limit the need for personal car use, Msherieb Downtown is mitigating carbon emissions and congested traffic grids. The district was designed to conserve water sustainably using new technologies and practices that are reducing water usage by up to 30%, as well as increase energy efficiency through more than 5,200 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that provide both electricity and hot water.

Lusail City is equipped with a state-of-the-art District Cooling System which is amongst the biggest in the world and has been designed to save 65 million tons of CO2 annually. The city also hosts light rail train, park and ride strategy, and a cycle and pedestrian ways system that provide reliable and eco-friendly transportation solutions.

Throughout Qatar, the Qatar Green Building Council conducts and deploys environmentally sustainable practices for the design and development of sustainable infrastructure.

Green transport
Qatar has made significant investments in green public transportation and infrastructure projects to provide an integrated, world-class, multimodal transportation system that offers safe, reliable and eco-friendly transport services.

The Doha Metro is the backbone of Qatar’s vision for an integrated public transport system and aims to revolutionize the way people move around Doha. The metro serves the capital’s locations quickly, conveniently and safely – making it a far more sustainable option to the private car, and all metro stations are designed to operate in such a way to reduce the impact on the environment particularly in terms of energy and water consumption.

Hamad Port provides the State with a modern, resilient sea-freight connection hub that is guided by internationally accepted sustainability criteria, ensuring that materials selection, water consumption and energy use are aligned to minimise its carbon footprint.

Qatar Airways is committed to working with the aviation industry towards environmental goals and is certified under IATA’s Environmental Assessment programme which provides a framework for delivering continual improvement of environmental performance across business functions.

A source for clean energy

Qatar is a leading exporter of one of the cleanest fuels in the world, helping countries meet their energy needs while reducing carbon emissions from coal.

As a global energy producer, Qatar Energy launched a new Sustainability Strategy in January 2021 that illustrates its commitment to people and planet. The strategy establishes a number of targets in alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and sets in motion a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Qatar’s first large-scale solar power plant was announced in January 2020 and will provide sustainable, affordable and clean energy to Qatari citizens and businesses.

Additionally, Qatar is conducting long-term research to address environmental priorities in the energy sector, from reducing methane to working with strategic partners to develop and integrate carbon capture and storage technologies across operations.

Delivering a sustainable FIFA™ World Cup Qatar 2022

Sustainability is a core consideration in the design, preparation and delivery of the FIFA™ World Cup Qatar 2022.

Qatar is committed to ensuring that the tournament leaves a lasting legacy across key areas such as infrastructure, environment, social development and entrepreneurship. Stadium infrastructure was designed to consume 30% less energy and 40% less water during operations.

Additionally, the stadiums and their surrounding precincts were designed with the future in mind. To maximize post-tournament use, all eight venues were built to serve communities in Qatar and around the world after the event. Many of the venues feature modular designs to allow excess seating to be removed post-2022, including the first fully dismountable FIFA™ World Cup venue – Ras Abu Aboud Stadium.