Tamim is Groomed to Rule in a Turbulent Time: The Transfer of Leadership in Qatar and its Regional Consequences

EPC | 15 Jun 2013

At a time when all eyes were fixed at the outcome of the developments of the political succession in the largest Arab Gulf state, Saudi Arabia, successive reports point out that neighboring Qatar is preparing itself for an imminent leadership transition. Incumbent Emir Hamad bin Khalifah al Thani intends to abdicate and hand over power to his 33-year old son and heir apparent Sheikh Tamim. Although the decision of the Qatari Emir is presented by the media as an inclination for change and an evolutionary push for the ruling regime of the al Thani family, it might still compel some regional competitors of this small Gulf state to challenge some aspects of its active foreign policy. This challenge has recently included helping the Syrian opposition fighters, backing the government of Mohammad Morsi in Egypt and supporting countries that went through changes in power structure such as Tunisia and Libya. In the coming weeks, Sheikh Tamim will hold the post of the prime minister, replacing Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim al Thani. It seems that this step will coincide or be followed shortly by Tamim replacing his father as the Emir of Qatar. This step will likely bolster the position and status of Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser and her role in designing the general policy of the country both internally and externally.

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