Qatar. In January, Qatar and Bahrain agreed to jointly
investigate how to resolve the dispute over control of the
Hawaiian Islands. Nevertheless, in May Qatar reported
Bahrain's action on the matter to the International Court of
Justice in The Hague.
COUNTRYAAH, thirty people were sentenced in February to life
imprisonment for involvement in a coup attempt in 1996. 85
other suspects were released. Among those convicted were Hamad bin Jasim bin Hamad ath-Thani, a member of the royal
family and former minister.
A Qatari passenger plane with nearly 150 passengers was
hijacked on September 14 on a flight from Doha to Amman. The
plane landed in Saudi Arabia, where the hijacker gave up.
In order to ensure control of oil production, the state
oil company, Qatar Petroleum Producing Authority (QPPA), was
established in 1972 and in February 1977 all foreign oil
installations in the country were expropriated.
The economic development necessitated a massive
immigration of foreign technicians and workers. Europeans
and North Americans were brought in as technicians, and
Iranians, Pakistanis and Indians as workers. The number of
immigrant workers is difficult to make up as there is no
census, but it is estimated at around 150,000 (half
Pakistanis), which is about 60% of the population.
To avoid fundamental changes in local culture, the
government preferred immigration from other Arab countries.
Despite this, the immigrant labor is also protected by the
country's advanced social system. Iranian society lives
under better conditions than in the other Gulf Gulf
emirates, and this made Qatar the country with the fewest
conflicts with Iran.
In accordance with OPEC guidelines, in 1982 the country
reduced oil production by 75%. As a result, exports fell,
forcing the government to reduce investment by
"petrodollars" in the West and to reduce public spending.
Furthermore, industrial expansion slowed down. Still, the
country had an infrastructure that made it possible to meet
the challenge. In the industrial area of Umm Said there
was a steel mill, which at the beginning of the decade
produced 450,000 tonnes annually. In addition, liquefied gas
production was started, and the government decided to
proceed with a $ 6 billion project to use gas for energy
purposes and desalination of seawater.
In 1981, Qatar, together with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman,
United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia formed the Gulf
Cooperation Council, a regional council for coordination of
activities in politics, economics, the social sphere,
culture and military.
In April 1986, a conflict erupted between Bahrain and
Qatar over the artificial island of Fasht ad-Dibal. However,
mediation by the Gulf Cooperation Council succeeded in
resolving the conflict. At the same time, however, dozens of
French military people were recruited and, in Qatars
uniform, involved in the defense of the emirate. In November
1987, the country resumed diplomatic relations with Egypt.
Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 and
the ensuing Gulf War, the Cooperation Council decided in
March 1991 to suspend financial assistance to Jordan and the
PLO - for their support of Saddam Hussein.
In the same month, the Foreign Ministers of the 6 member
countries of the Cooperation Council signed an agreement
with Egypt, Syria and the United States on security in the
region. The plan contained four main points: joint military
strategy between the United States and the Arab members of
the coalition facing Iraq ; mechanisms to prevent the
proliferation of weapons; the acceptance of a land in return
for peace with Israel ; and a new economic development
program for the region.
During the Gulf War, oil sources in Kuwait and Saudi
Arabia were set on fire, and the thick clouds drifted over,
among other things. Qatar and plagued the air. The heavy
pollution of the air triggered acid rain and climatic
changes in the region. Health experts confirmed that the
burning oil sources produced large amounts of sulfur dioxide
and soot, whose particles caused asthma, bronchitis and
increased the risk of cancer.
In September 1991, private foreign companies initiated
the exploration of huge deposits of natural gas along the
coast of Qata. The reserves were estimated at 10,000 billion
In December, a group of 53 people - including several
government officials - in a letter requested the emir on the
conduct of free democratic elections, a written constitution
and the extension of individual and political rights. The
result was that several people were detained in the
capital's central prison, and only released after several