His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani
Emir of the State of Qatar
On 25 June 2013, in a televised address to the nation, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani announced that he was stepping down and transferring power to his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said the transfer was part of a ushering in a new era of young leadership for the country. Later the same day, a major cabinet reshuffle was announced with former Minister of State for Internal Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani being named Prime Minister and Interior Minister, while Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah named as Foreign Minister.
Nearly two decades after accession to power, by June 2013 the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, was set to hand control of a transformed country to his son and heir apparent Sheikh Tamim. In recent years two Amirs had been overthrown without bloodshed, much less vocal resistance. The current heir apparent, Sheikh Tamim, replaced his brother Jasim without an "article of explanation in the newspapers." No one raised a fuss. The Amir had to go "four deep" among his sons to select Sheikh Tamim as Crown Prince, as he is the Amir's fourth son overall, and the second by his second wife and consort Sheikha Mozah.
The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) - one of the newest and most secretive Gulf Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) - seeks to diversify Qatar's economic holdings away from hydrocarbons and a reliance on dollar-based assets. Formally established only in 2005, the fund is valued by private analysts at over USD 60 billion. The Heir Apparent, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, is the Chairman of QIA, though he seems to function as a figurehead. Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani (HBJ) is the fund's CEO and primary decision-maker, while Executive Board Member Dr. Hussein al-Abdulla is responsible for day-to-day management of the organization. The QIA is inexperienced compared to other SWFs, and had a penchant for more risky and high-profile investments than its conservative Gulf counterparts. On January 22, 2007, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Heir Apparent, issued a decree designating the territory of Khor Al-Udaid as a natural reserve. Khor Al-Udaid is now the largest national park in Qatar. The decree bans any activity or measures that might harm, degenerate or alter the beauty of the natural environment, wild life, vegetation, and marine life of the natural reserve zone.
The Crown Prince had overall responsibility for Qatar's Critical Infrastructure Protection needs. For some time, the US Government sought to undertake assessments in this area. These offers to send technical teams -- including one made by Secretary Bodman to Minister Al-Attiyah in 2008 -- were spurned. Qatar Petroleum (QP) officials, who report to Minister Al-Attiyah and have responsibility for these issues, confirmeds that Qatar saw no role for other governments in assessing Qatar's CEIP needs. Qatar is paid private consultants for their services.
Gulf countries can produce no more than 10-15 percent of their own food needs, and therefore regard food security as a national security issue. To that end, Qatar had established a National Food Security Program (NFSP) under the direction of the Crown Prince. The NFSP is tasked with developing a food security strategy for Qatar, and a strategy for leading the rest of the Arab world in developing new structures and partnerships for achieving food security for the entire region.
The Heir Apparent, Shaykh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, issued decrees 23 June 2009 formally organizing the Cabinet and its Secretariat, and finalizing new organizational structures for ministries. These decrees are the next major step in an ongoing government reorganization initiated by a July 2008 Cabinet shuffle. No ministerial posts changed hands, though several ministries gained new responsibilities, notably the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Environment, and Economy and Finance.
As the Crown Prince continued to grow into his position as the Heir Apparent, he came into increasing competition with the Prime Minister for control and influence over the activities of the state. Since 2008, the Crown Prince had been slowly taking on more and more responsibility, apparently with the active support of the Amir. By 2009 tension was rising between the Prime Minister and the three other Al Thanis at the pinnacle of power: the Amir; his wife, Shaykha Moza; and his son, the Crown Prince. But the Prime Minister is poorly positioned to organize a coup against the Amir. The security forces and Qatari intelligence report to the Crown Prince, not the Prime Minister. Were the Prime Minister tempted to establish himself as Amir, he would probably wait until the death of the current Amir, who is known to be in poor health, then move against Crown Prince Tamim. Even then, he would be poorly positioned. With each passing month, the Crown Prince continues to gradually accumulate power, with his father's apparently active support.
Given the history of intra-family coups in this country and known rivalries between key members of the ruling family, however, some friction between powerful players continued. The Amir's health is reportedly poor but stable and observes expected a smooth transition in power to his son after his eventual passing from the scene. To ensure that smooth transition, observers expected to see the continued emergence of Crown Prince Shaykh Tamim as more than a figurehead, as his father continued to groom him for the highest office in Qatar. Observers predicted that he will increasingly issue more Amiri decrees under his own authority and take on more symbolic leadership duties normally reserved for the Amir, such as greeting Eid well-wishers (something he did in September 2009 for the first time in lieu of his father).
Sheikh Tamim and his first wife, Sheikha Jawaher, who is also his first cousin, have at least two children, but details on the family are scarce. The first child was reportedly a daughter (NFI) and there is a son named Hamad who was born October 20, 2008 in the UK. The Qatari Heir Apparent, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, married a second wife in January 2009. She is the daughter of Manna Abdul Hadi Al-Hajri, Qatar's Ambassador to Jordan. She is also related - it is unclear how closely - to Qatar's Ambassador to Washington, Ali Bin Fahad Al-Hajri. The marriage was not announced publicly. One possible reason is the woman's young age. Moreover, another marriage so soon after his first (January 2005) could be seen socially as bad form.
Place and Date of Birth:
- July 3, 1980.
- Received the High School Certificate from Shireburn High School in the UK in 1997.
- Graduated from Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK in 1998.
- Head of the Qatari National Olympic Committee.
- Member of the International Olympic Committee.
- Member of the Sports for All Committee, sub-committee of the International Olympic Committee.
- Head of the Organizing Committee of the ASIAD 2006 Games.
- Head of the Upper Council of the Environment and Natural Sanctuaries.
- Participated in a number of regional and international conferences and accompanied HH the Emir to a number of official visits to countries.
- He had been Heir Apparent of State of Qatar since 5th August 2003.
Medals and Orders:
- The Issa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa's Order of Merit-Excellence Class, Kingdom of Bahrain 2004.
- The Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan Medal of Honor, UAE 2004.
- The OCA Award of Merit, The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) 2007.
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