During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the amir, who had ruled the country since 1972. His son, the current Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa al-Thani, overthrew him in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Oil and natural gas revenues enable Qatar to have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.
Terrain: mostly flat and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel[/QUOTE
chief of state: Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa al-Thani (since 27 June 1995 when, as crown prince, he ousted his father
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary
Oil and gas have made Qatar one of the world's faster growing and higher per-capita income countries - in 2006 per-capita income equaled that of the EU. Sustained high oil prices and increased natural gas exports in recent years have helped build Qatar's budget and trade surpluses and foreign reserves. Proved oil reserves of more than 15 billion barrels should ensure continued output at current levels for 23 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas exceed 25 trillion cubic meters, more than 5% of the world total and third largest in the world.
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Qatar is a destination country for men and women from South and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly, but are subsequently trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers; the problem of trafficking of foreign children as camel jockeys was thoroughly addressed by government action in 2005, but independent confirmation of the problem's complete elimination is not yet available
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Qatar has made noticeable progress in rescuing and repatriating child camel jockeys, establishing a shelter for abused domestic workers, and creating hotlines to register complaints; however, Qatar is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide sufficient evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2005, particularly with regard to labor exploitation