Country Profiles: Qatar
Brief summary on Qatar.
Official name: State of Qatar
Official language: Arabic
Land area: 4,437 sq mi/11,493 sq km
Dominant religion: Islam
Current leader: Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
Qatar is a small country on the western part of the Arabian Peninsula. It occupies a tiny peninsula of its own which juts into the Persian Gulf. It is bordered by both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to the south.
Qatar has one of the largest percentages of foreign-born residents in the world – over 70 percent! Most foreigners come to work in the tiny country’s huge oil industry but a significant number of people from Southeast Asian countries, particularly the Philippines, work as domestic workers for wealthy Qatari families.
Qatar is one of the world’s leading producers of oil and natural gas and the oil industry constitutes a huge majority of the country’s economic activity. With its small population, Qatar is one of the world’s richest nations in terms of average income per person.
From 1916 to 1971, Qatar had been a British protectorate. Although the country ran most of its own affairs its defense and foreign policy was mostly the responsibility of the United Kingdom. It was granted independence in 1971. During the 1991 Gulf War Qatar allowed the United States and other members of the coalition to use its air bases to launch attacks against Iraq.