On Tuesday, Qatar’s top diplomat, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, became the new prime minister, succeeding Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani. As it is common in Gulf Arab countries, politics in Qatar is mostly confined to the ruling family, and these leadership changes are rarely shared with the public.
Sheikh Mohammed has served as Qatar’s foreign minister since 2016 as well as was instrumental in resolving a three-and-a-half-year economic boycott imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and also Egypt as it happened in January 2021. Meanwhile, Sheikh Khalid has served as Prime Minister along with interior minister, who’s work is dedicated to domestic security, since 2020, and who has now been replaced by Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani .
The ultra-rich Qatar had been giving a hand to Islamic groups in the region before and after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising, which strained relations with its Gulf Arab neighbors, who perceived such groups as a danger to their hereditary rule. However, with time they have become closer as a result of visits to Qatar by the rulers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, who also attended the hosting of the 2022 soccer World Cup.