chapter
Qatar
Democratic reforms and global status
ByLouay Bahry
Pages 25

The history of the modern state of Qatar is inextricably tied to the clan of Al Thani. The Al Thani clan moved to Qatar at the end of the seventeenth century from Najd now in Saudi Arabia. In the early 1990s the current ruler, the then Crown Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, began to enact his policy for the development of Qatar's oil and gas. Modern state institutions in Qatar grew only slowly under the stewardship of Sheikh Ahmad Al Thani (1960–72) mainly, as indicated, because of the need for services. The extreme teachings of Wahhabism have been considerably moderated in Qatar, particularly when compared to Saudi Arabia, which is the champion of the doctrine. Whatever the outcome of the constitution, Qatar is not likely to become a Western-style democracy. It is more likely to be something much closer to the realities of its life and social environment, something resembling a 'tribal democracy'.