Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
|Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
تميم بن حمد آل ثاني
Sheikh Tamim in September 2014
|Emir of Qatar|
|Reign||25 June 2013 – present|
|Predecessor||Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|Deputy Emir||Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani|
3 June 1980 |
|Spouse||HH Sheikha Jawahir bint Hamad Al Thani (2005–present)
Anoud bint Mana Al Hajri (2009–present)
Noora bint Hathal Al Dosari (2014–present)
|House||House of Thani|
|Father||Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|Mother||Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned|
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (Arabic: تميم بن حمد ال ثاني ; born 3 June 1980) is the eighth and current Ameer (Prince) of the State of Qatar. He is the fourth son of the previous Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. He became Emir of Qatar on 25 June 2013 after his father's abdication. Sheikh Tamim has held a variety of government posts within Qatar and also worked to promote numerous sporting events within the country. As of 2013[update], Tamim is the youngest reigning monarch among the GCC countries and the youngest current sovereign worldwide.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal characteristics and views
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Titles, styles and honours
- 6 Criticism
- 7 Ancestry
- 8 References
Early life and education
Tamim bin Hamad was born on 3 June 1980 in Doha, Qatar. He is the fourth son of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and second son of Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, Hamad's second wife. Tamim was educated at Great Britain's Sherborne School (International College) in Dorset, and at Harrow School, where he received his A Levels in 1997. He then attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, graduating in 1998.
Sheikh Tamim was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Qatar Armed Forces upon graduation from Sandhurst. He became the heir apparent to the Qatar throne on 5 August 2003, when his elder brother Sheikh Jassim renounced his claim to the title. Since then he was groomed to take over rule, working in top security and economics posts. In 2009, he was appointed deputy commander-in-chief of Qatar's armed forces.
Sheikh Tamim promoted sport as part of Qatar's bid to raise its international profile. In 2005 he founded Qatar Sport Investments, which owns Paris Saint-Germain F.C. among other investments. In 2006, he chaired the organizing committee of the 15th Asian Games in Doha. Under his leadership, all member countries attended the event for the first time in its history. That year Egypt's Al Ahram voted Tamim "the best sport personality in the Arab world". Under his guidance, Qatar won the rights to host the 2014 FINA Swimming World Championships and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Tamim is a member of the International Olympic Committee and the National Olympic Committee chairman. He headed Doha's bid for the 2020 Olympics. The country will host the football World Cup in 2022. Qatar is expected to spend about $100 billion on infrastructure to prepare for the event.
Sheikh Tamim heads the Qatar Investment Authority board of directors. Under his leadership, the fund has invested billions in British businesses. It owns large stakes in Barclays Bank, Sainsbury's, and Harrods. The fund also owns a share of Europe's fourth tallest building, the Shard.
Tamim has also held a number of other posts including:
- Head of the Upper Council of the Environment and Natural Sanctuaries.
- Chairman of the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves.
- Chairman of the Supreme Education Council.
- Chairman of the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology.
- Chairman of the board of directors of Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and the Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA).
- Chairman of the board of regents of Qatar University.
- Deputy chairman of the Ruling Family Council.
- Vice president of the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment.
- Deputy chairman of the High Committee for Coordination and Follow Up.
- Member of "Sports for All".
On 25 June 2013, the then Emir of Qatar and Tamim's father Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani revealed his plans to step down as Emir in a meeting with his close relatives and aides. Tamim then became the Emir of Qatar after his father handed over power in a televised speech. He was the first ruler, in a succession of three Qatari rulers from the Al Thani family, to ascend to power without resorting to a coup. According to The Economist, of his previous sibling rivals to the throne, "One played too much, the other prayed too much."
The transition of power was expected to be smooth, as family members hold many of the nation's top posts.
Moreover, according to a diplomatic source close to the Al Thani family, Sheikh Tamim has "a strong personality" that allowed him to "establish himself within the ruling family" despite not being the family's first choice for Emir. Diplomats quoted by the BBC argued that Jassim, who served as crown prince for eight years, had hoped to expand his political powers. According to a report by Stratfor, Jassim had no allies among the military forces or secret police at the time of the 2013 political transition, and thereby few chances to overturn Hamad’s decree.
Tamim is described as friendly, confident, and open by those who know him. He is also described as savvy, careful, and calculating. In addition, he is considered to be a pragmatist, and to have "excellent relations" with the West including the United States and France.
In striking contrast with his father’s rule, who had prioritized Qatar’s international profile, a new focus on domestic affairs has characterized Tamim’s government so far. One of Tamim's first moves after coming to power was to streamline the bureaucracy by disassembling a number of parallel institutions, such as the Qatar National Food Security Program, which was incorporated into the Ministries of Economy and Agriculture. He also decreased the fiscal budget of several institutions, including Qatar Foundation and Qatar Museums Authority.
Since his accession to power, the government has expanded the roads around the capital, developed a new metro system, and completed the construction of a new airport. A new reform of the Qatari administration was launched towards increased efficiency and discipline. Moreover, the Foreign Minister post has passed to a non-royal (Khalid al-Attiya). This is a significant change in the direction of meritocracy given that during the previous administrations the prime minister, traditionally a royal, tended to double as foreign minister. Tamim also took credit for some initiatives directed at countering local sensitivities arising from the Arab Spring upheaval. He announced that the government would establish a directive to lower the price of foodstuffs sold by companies working with the country’s National Food Security Programme and anticipated social allowances and pension increases.
According to his inaugural speech to the nation held on 26 June 2013, Sheikh Tamim will continue to diversify the country’s economy away from hydrocarbons. On that occasion, he declared that people are Qatar’s “most important asset” and that their interests would be the government’s top priority.
In 2014 Tamim passed new cybercrime legislation, which was said to be part of an agreement among Gulf states to criminalize online insults of the region’s royal families; The cybercrime law outlaws the spreading of "false news" as well as digital material that violates the country’s "social values" or "general order." The legislation made it illegal to incite, aid and facilitate the publication of offensive material. The law has been criticized by those who say that it can be used to strip people of their human rights based on the misinterpretation of online chatter. Amnesty International called the law "a major setback for freedom of expression in Qatar," while other critics suggest that the new law will violate provisions of the country’s constitution that protect civil liberties.
In January 2016, Tamim shook up the cabinet put in place by his father. He named a new foreign minister, replacing Khalid al-Attiyah with Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, changed the defense minister and appointed a new female minister. Tamim also merged several ministries, including communication, transport and culture, and youth and sports. Journalists have speculated reasons behind the cabinet shake up. And many have come to the conclusion that the reorganization was either an economic move, meant to save the country money at a time where the falling price of gas has forced the country to scale back its workforce or for reasons of political stability. According to others the appointments show that the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is trying to make the government his own by bringing in a new, younger generation of ministers that are more loyal to him than to his father.
The young Emir's transition to power was welcomed by leaders across the World, who expected Tamim to continue the good work in the footsteps of his father and increase Qatar's role in vital international affairs including the Syrian crisis and Darfur agreement.
Analysts said he would likely be under immediate pressure to reduce Qatar's support for the rebels in the Syrian Civil War, which Tamim had previously supported. He would be tasked with overseeing substantial upgrades to the national infrastructure, which have recently gotten underway. While some view Tamim as more religious than his father, most analysts expect him to retain his father's largely pragmatic habits of governing – using Islam to further objectives where useful, but not pushing strictly Islamic agenda items such as outlawing alcohol.
In his inaugural speech to the nation, Tamim vowed that he would continue to pursue a central role for Qatar in the region but that he will not "take direction" in foreign affairs. He confirmed that he will commit to the highest possible level of integration with his Gulf neighbors.
In fact, during his first months in charge he has prioritized the Gulf. In late October 2013, only a few months after taking charge, Sheikh Tamim took a regional tour of the Gulf. Even before his accession to power, he formally represented his father at the annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Bahrain in December 2012 as well as in welcoming delegates to the Arab League Summit in Doha in March 2013.
Working in a government security post, he promoted stronger ties with Saudi Arabia, a neighbour and often contentious rival to Qatar. Tamim considers Qatar’s rivalry with Saudi Arabia unproductive, as has been the case in the so far unsuccessful attempt to build a cohesive Syrian opposition.
In October 2014 Sheikh Tamim met U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth II on his first official visit to the UK. Qatar and the U.K. anticipated a Qatari-British Economic Forum to explore mutual investment opportunities. Up to and during this meeting The Telegraph newspaper launched a campaign to urge Cameron to discuss Qatar’s funding of Islamic extremists with Tamim. The Telegraph’s "Stop The Funding Of Terror" campaign highlighted the role played by Qatar and other Gulf states, alleged allies in the war against Isil and al-Qaeda, in allowing the financing of terrorism. Stephen Barclay, the Tory MP, repeatedly called for transparency in Britain’s dealings with Qatar and said it was "essential" for Mr Cameron to raise the issue of terror finance "I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister is meeting with the Emir," he said. "As part of these discussions it is essential that the issue of financing Sunni tribes in Syria and Iraq is raised. The MP encouraged Cameron to brief parliament after the meeting claiming that, "There is clear evidence that Qatari nationals have been instrumental in the financing of Sunni terror groups and the Prime Minister should not avoid tackling this issue head on with the Emir."
Qatar has heavily invested in loans and aids to Egypt during the Muslim Brotherhood’s government. In August 2013, Qatar joined a U.S.-led attempt to mediate the escalating tension between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military. Speaking at Georgetown University during his first visit to the United States, Tamim reiterated that Qatar will not interfere in Egypt although he condemned what happened in Egypt after the 2013 uprising. Since Mohamed Morsi’s removal from office, the new government has turned down Qatari offers for financial aid. Qatar's continued support for the Muslim Brotherhood resulted in a diplomatic rift between Doha and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in 2014, culminating in the withdrawal of the latter three countries' ambassadors in March of that year.
Qatar called for a military intervention of the Arab countries to end the bloodshed in Syria in 2012. Analysts expected that he would have been under immediate pressure to reduce Qatar's support for the rebels in the Syrian Civil War, which Tamim had previously supported. In fact, Sheikh Tamim took a step back after taking charge, primarily in response to the irritation voiced by Western powers at Qatar’s operation to arm Syrian rebel groups which had been directed haphazardly. Recently, under the aegis of a joint initiative with Saudi Arabia and Turkey promoted by Sheikh Tamim, Qatar has provided Syrian rebels with new weapons and forged a new opposition coalition in Syria known as “Army of Conquest.” The Sheikh has also renewed his country’s support for the Syrian people’s demands for justice and freedom during a meeting with the chief of the Syrian National Coalition Khaled Khoja and his delegation in April 2015.
Tamim signed a military cooperation agreement with Turkey during an official visit to the country in December 2014. The agreement aims to promote cooperation in military training and the defense industry, and allows for the deployment of the Turkish Armed Forces to Qatar and the Qatari military to Turkey.
On 2 December 2015, Tamim signed a number of agreements with president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Cooperative agreements in education, maritime transport and correspondence pacts between intelligence agencies were signed. An agreement was also reached by Turkey to purchase liquefied natural gas from Qatar over a lengthy duration. The two leaders also announced the planned creation of a Turkish military base in Qatar; a first for Turkey in the Persian Gulf.
Sheikh Tamim visited with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on a visit to Washington, D.C. on 24 February 2015, according to a statement issued by the Office of the White House Press Secretary. Doha-based analysts described the task before him during the visit as one of balancing the need to maintain strong relations with the United States against the desire for Qatar to control its own foreign policy, which is sometimes at odds with the United States on key regional issues. He declared that the U.S.-Qatari “strategic partnership has deepened in recent years, in spite of the regional unrest” and reiterated his commitment to support a more comprehensive approach to the strategic challenges facing the Middle East.
Personal characteristics and views
According to a diplomatic source close to the Al Thani family, Sheikh Tamim has "a strong personality" that allowed him to "establish himself within the ruling family" despite not being the family's first choice for Emir. He is described as friendly, confident, and open by those who know him. He is also described as savvy, careful, and calculating. In addition, he is considered to be a pragmatist, and to have "excellent relations" with the West including the United States and France.
Political analysts expect Tamim to be more conservative and risk averse than his father. Because Tamim is very close to the Muslim Brotherhood, preserving a national identity grounded in traditional values is expected to be Tamim's first priority.
On 8 January 2005, Sheikh Tamim married his first cousin H.H Sheikha Jawahir bint Hamad bin Suhaim Al Thani, daughter of Sheikh Hamad bin Suhaim Al Thani (with whom he shares a great-grandfather, Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani). They have two sons and two daughters:
- H.E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 2006)
- H.E Sheikh Hamad bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 10 October 2008).
- H.E Sheikha Aisha bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 2010).
- H.E Sheikh Jassim bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 12 June 2012).
Sheikh Tamim has a second wife, Sheikha Anoud bint Mana Al Hajri, whom he married on 3 March 2009. She is the daughter of Mana bin Abdul Hadi Al Hajri, sometime Qatari Ambassador to Jordan. They have three children, two daughters and a son:
- Sheikha Nayla bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 2010).
- Sheikh Abdullah bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 29 September 2012).
- Sheikha Rodha bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 2014).
Sheikh Tamim also has a third wife Sheikha Noora bint Hathal Al Dosari, whom he married in March 2014. They have one son:
- Sheikh Joaan bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 27 March 2015).
Tamim participates in competitive sport. He was filmed playing badminton and bowled with former Egyptian military chief Mohammed Hussein Tantawi. He has a strong interest in history and his nation's heritage. He is fluent in English and French.
Titles, styles and honours
Emir of Qatar
|Reference style||His Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Highness|
Titles and styles
- Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (1980–1995)
- His Excellency Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (1995–2003)
- His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Crown Prince of Qatar (2003–2013)
- His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar (2013–present)
- Necklace of Merit (since his appointment as Heir Apparent, 5 August 2003)
- Member Distinguished Class of the Order of Khalifa (23 February 2004)
- Collar of the Order of Zayed (6 January 2005)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (16 November 2007)
- Member First Class of the Order of Nila Utama (16 March 2009)
- Grand Officer of the Order of the Legion of Honour (4 February 2010)
- Collar of the Order of Mubarak the Great (28 October 2013)
- OCA Award of Merit (Olympic Council of Asia, 2007)
- "Best Sport Personality in the Arab World" in 2006 (by vote in the popular Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram)
- Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahayan Medal (United Arab Emirates, 2004)
- Sheikh Essa Bin Salman Al Khalifa Medal (Bahrain, 2004)
Support to Islamists
Qatar has for many years supported a spectrum of Islamist groups around the region. Especially since the beginning of the Arab Spring upheaval in 2011, the country has provided diplomatic mediation, financial aid, safe heaven, and weapons to Islamist groups. The Qatar-based pan-Arab satellite television channel Al Jazeera, accused by Israel-supporters of having strong pro-Islamist biases, promoted the narratives of the Islamist parties and causes supported by Qatar, thereby contributing to the electoral success of some of these movements during national polls. For several years the channel has hosted a talk-show, “al-Sharīʿa wa al-Ḥayāh” ("Shariah and Life"), featuring the controversial Brotherhood-associated Egyptian cleric Yusuf al- Qaradawi.
With regard to Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar welcomed Brotherhood cadres since the 1950s. Sheikh Hamad was one of the first foreign leaders to visit Morsi after his electoral success in June 2012. Qatar provided a substantial financial boost to Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party, and Brotherhood opponents argued that Morsi’s narrow election victory was achieved through Qatari funding. After Morsi’s election, Qatar contributed a total of USD 5,5 billion dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood administration.
Allegedly, Qatar looked at the Brotherhood in Syria as a natural Islamist ally to deliver its policy aims in the region. The Financial Times reported that, according to official sources, Qatar provided Syrian rebels financial support for USD 1 billion dollars; people close to the Qatar government claimed that the real amount is close to 3 billion dollars. Furthermore, there have been rumors that Qatar is using its funding to develop networks of loyalty among rebels and allegedly to set the stage for Qatar’s influence in the post-Assad era.
Analysts claim that both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are engaged in proxy wars in Syria and Libya. Under Tamim’s leadership, Qatar has also provided assistance to the Taliban of Afghanistan. Tamim in particular played a role in the mediation with Taliban leaders, with whom he initiated contacts under his father’s government. He proposed and supported the idea of establishing a Taliban office in Doha. In June 2013, the Taliban opened their first official overseas office in the Qatari capital as part of the long-standing attempt to broker a long-term Afghan peace agreement. In June 2015, Qatar successfully mediated efforts to free four Tajikistan soldiers kidnapped in December 2014 in Afghanistan by a Taliban group.
The country’s support for Islamist causes and for organizations that oppose the absolute rule of the Gulf’s hereditary rulers provoked tensions with the GCC countries. In March 2014 Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar. Officially, the decision was motivated by Qatar’s refusal to ratify the agreements of non-interference in domestic policy within the GCC in December 2013. Some analysts observed that the diplomatic crisis was the peak of long-time degenerated relationships of Qatar with the Arab countries, who have rebuked Qatar for backing Islamists during Arab Spring revolts and are supportive of the new military-oriented Egyptian regime.
Also, there have been speculations that Sheikh Hamad’s abdication was motivated by the necessity of reinvigorating the leadership, but also to defuse criticism from Arab neighbors for Qatar’s support of Islamists. In particular, the contradictory nature of Qatar’s policies in support for Islamist groups and its active contribution to the American-led coalition to fight the Islamic state has been of recent interest.
Support to extremists and terrorists
Qatar has been publicly accused of supporting Islamic terrorism. According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal, American officials have confirmed that U.S. has uncovered Qatari connections in financing for al Qaeda and Islamic State.
The country has supported the US-designated terrorist group Hamas and pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. Sheikh Hamad was the first head of state to visit Gaza since Hamas took power in 2007. In January 2012, Tamim arranged meetings between Hamas and King Abdullah of Jordan. Moreover, since February 2012, Qatar has hosted Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal. Recently, Qatar has channeled guns and cash towards Khalid al-Attiyah, praised by the Qatari Foreign Minister as a “purely Syrian” group which suffered heavy losses while fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). However, according to The Daily Telegraph, “Ahrar al-Sham played a key role in transforming the anti-Assad revolt into an Islamist uprising.” “The Daily Telegraph” charged that the group fought alongside Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate, during the battle for Aleppo, and helped the jihadis to run Raqqa rather than opposing ISIL.
In December 2014 the U.S. Treasury Department added the Qatari academic and businessman Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi to its terror list after he “ordered the transfer of nearly $600,000 to alQa'ida via al-Qa'ida's representative in Syria, Abu-Khalid al-Suri, and intended to transfer nearly $50,000 more."
Finally, on the occasion of a meeting of the Arab League in February 2015, Qatar expressed reservations over Egypt’s unilateral military response to the ISIL execution of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. In response to Qatar’s protest, an Egyptian diplomat reiterated the accusation of Qatar allegedly supporting terrorists. Qatar insisted that the charge is false and recalled its ambassador to Egypt for consultations.
In a September CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour, Tamim stated "We don't fund extremists" … "If you talk about certain movements, especially in Syria and Iraq, we all consider them terrorist movement." In this quotation Tamim can be seen to argue that he and the west are united in considering ISIS a terror group and was quick to defend his country from accusations of ISIS funding. However, Tamim goes on to say that he doesn’t see eye to eye with the west in all of their terrorist designations: "I know that in America and some countries they look at some movements as terrorist movements. ... But there are differences. There are differences that some countries and some people that any group which comes from Islamic background are terrorists. And we don't accept that." It has been suggested that, in this quotation, Tamim was referring to Qatar’s financial and militaristic support for al Nusra, the Al Qaeda branch in Syria, which his government has been known to fund, mostly through ransom payments for victims of kidnapping.
Media disclosures have recently suggested massive violations of world soccer body FIFA's bidding rules by Qatar. Among the corruption allegations levelled towards Qatar’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup are substantial payments to soccer officials across the globe, vote swapping, and shady political deals between FIFA president Sepp Blatter and the Qatari leadership. During his visit at Georgetown University in February 2015, Sheikh Tamim denied all charges.
According to the German regional public service television channel “WDR” several of its reporters were detained for several days in Qatar for collecting evidence on the conditions of migrant workers. The Guardian has reported that Nepalese migrants building the infrastructure to host the 2022 World Cup died at a rate of one every two days in 2014. Human Rights Watch’s “2014 World Report” confirmed the precarious conditions of the migrant workers, who sometimes live in unsanitary conditions and are subject to arbitrary restrictions on the right to leave Qatar, exploitation and abuse by employers. In response, Qatar commissioned an investigation by the international law firm DLA Piper that resulted in laws that require contractors to provide improved living conditions and ban them from seizing passports. The Emir of Qatar reformed by law the kafala system the following year.Kafala reforms
During the 2016 May Day celebration in Bonn, Germany, an Amnesty campaigner named Bettina Hoffmann took the opportunity to call out Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who she says is indifferent to the struggle of the foreign workers. She said that Amnesty is concerned about the tens of thousands of Asian workers who are working on football stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar. Amnesty estimates some 70,000 laborers - many from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh - are quasi slaves in the Gulf state, which is ruled by Qatar's Emir. Hoffmann says the foreign workers must give up their passports, receive late wages if they receive wages at all, and are voiceless. The worst part, she says, is the response of the Emir, "The government of Qatar doesn't do anything to prevent it."
|Ancestors of Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani|
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Tamim bin Hamad Al ThaniBorn: 3 June 1980
Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
|Emir of Qatar
Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani