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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Qatar’s Emir names second-in-command, and a new head of the Diwan

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Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has named two individuals to some of the nation’s most powerful political positions, according to the state news agency.

The moves were announced on Tuesday, the same day as the 43rd opening session of the Advisory Council, and are the first changes the Emir has made to his inner circle since he shook up the government’s senior ranks shortly after assuming power last year.

Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz Al Thani.
Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz Al Thani

For the first time, Sheikh Tamim has named a Deputy Emir – his half-brother Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani.

Prior to being named Deputy Emir today, Sheikh Abdullah was chief of the Emiri Diwan, Qatar’s seat of government.

Replacing him is Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz Al Thani, who Sheikh Tamim previously named as director of the office of the Emir in June 2013.

‘Stability’ factor

The new Deputy Emir, 26, is US-educated, reportedly holding a bachelor’s degree in international politics from Georgetown University. Over the past several months, Sheikh Abdullah has already been wielding considerable power.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani
Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani

The Emir appointed him vice-president of the Qatar Investment Authority – the country’s sovereign wealth fund – in July 2013.

And in April, he was named by royal decree as the person who would handle the Emir’s duties while Sheikh Tamim was out of the country, QNA said at the time.

Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, told Bloomberg yesterday that Sheikh Abdullah has been “groomed” for a leadership position and brings considerable experience from his past position.

“He probably brings a certain amount of stability to the leadership,” Shaikh was quoted as saying.

The role of Deputy Emir appears to have been vacant since Sheikh Tamim – who had held the positions of both Deputy Emir and heir apparent – replaced his father and became Qatar’s ruler in June 2013.

No Deputy Emir was named during two rounds of appointments to Qatar’s new Cabinet and other senior government posts shortly after Sheikh Tamim took power.

Similarly, there has been no reports of Sheikh Tamim naming an heir apparent.

Separately, the Emir also gave a wide-ranging speech to open the new session of Qatar’s Advisory (Shura) Council.

Along with highlighting several previously announced initiatives, the Emir laid out several new directives and updates, including:

  • Directing the prime minister to resolve “issues” involving workers’ housing;
  • Calling for a reduction in real estate prices (the key driver of the rising cost of living here). He added it is “necessary to control the prices of consumer goods”;
  • Reassuring the council that according to the government’s assessment, the recent decline in global oil prices would not affect Qatar’s extensive construction and development projects; and
  • Stressing that “Supporting … and strengthening” relations within the Gulf Cooperation Council is “at the forefront of our foreign policy priorities.” The comments come amid ongoing tensions within the GCC that resulted in the postponement of a meeting between Gulf foreign ministers this week, as well as Bahrain and the UAE pulling out of an international handball tournament that’s to be hosted by Qatar; and
  • Promoting austerity as a virtue while denouncing financial mismanagement: “Waste, extravagance, mishandling of state funds, lack of respect for the budget, reliance on the availability of money to cover up mistakes are all behaviors that must be disposed of, whether oil prices are high or low … Reasonable spending is an economic matter … (and is) also related to the type of society that we want and the type of individual that we rear in the State of Qatar.”

Thoughts?

11 COMMENTS

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Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

Excellent. A smart emir with smart decisions. Another milestone

KingOfKings
6 years ago

lol, What is so smart about appointing your half-brother to be second in command?
I hope you can share with us as to why this is a smart act. If anything I consider it the most typical act, given the political laws and general environment.

sadam
sadam
6 years ago

No News for NOC? Oh well…

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  sadam

Amazed? Surprised?

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago

Austerity as a virtue….best of luck with this one. You will not have very happy locals.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Not for the locals silly, just the expats.

Shaiju
6 years ago

السلام الأميري‎..

Mr. B
6 years ago

Qatar may be right in the long run that the Islamists are the future of politics in the Middle East, but it seems the Emir has realized he can’t be as independent as his father in foreign policy. More than that, one would be hard-pressed to find a foreign adventure Hamad embarked upon that went well.

Focus on Doha and spend a few years being quiet. Qatar needs time out of the spotlight.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Mr. B

Is the Islamists are the future of politics in the Middle East then the Middle East is looking at another 100 years of stagnation on top of the last 500. Pity the ordinary people in the Middle East that suffer at the hands of these bigots.

Mr. B
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The region’s stunningly bad education systems almost guarantee that Islamism will flourish whenever giving political breathing space. Only the iron clamps of jack-booted elites can keep them under wraps, as Sisi, Mohammed bin Zayed, and Bouteflika have done.

One exception would be Tunisia, but they’re also pretty much the only Arab nation with an education system that gets close to decent.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Blah blah blah..still abusing human rights, slave trading and have an absolute disgrace of a driving environment…and 26 years old bring a wealth of experience..sure..if he indeed did complete a degree, only an undergrad one at that, he would have been out of uni for a whole 5 years…sure wealth of experience? In what driving like a moron in a LC, annoying residents of knightsbridge and drinking and partying with hookers in Thailand….what a laugh of a country, the world only entertains the clowns because of its wealth, no other reason.

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