Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani
: تميم بن حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني
; born 3 June 1980) is the Emir of Qatar
. He is the fourth son of the previous Emir, Hamad bin Khalifa
. Tamim has held a variety of government posts within Qatar and has been at the forefront of efforts to promote sports and healthy living within the country. As of 2018, Tamim is the youngest reigning monarch among the GCC countries
He is the monarch of Qatar, which is an absolute monarchy
Early life and education
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.
On 5 August 2003, he was appointed deputy commander-in-chief of Qatar's armed forces.
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".
Sheikh Tamim with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
, 10 December 2013
On 25 June 2013, Tamim's father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
, revealed his own plan to step down as Emir of Qatar 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".
He became crown prince on 5 August 2003, after his brother Sheikh Jassim had stepped down.
Diplomats quoted by the BBC argued that Jassim, who served as crown prince for eight years, had hoped to expand his political powers. In 2003, Sheikh Jassim stepped down from the position of crown prince. According to Qatar News Agency
Jassim sent a letter to his father saying, “The time is appropriate to step down and prepare for a successor”.
In the letter, Jassim stated, “I did not want, as I have told you from the start, to be appointed as crown prince”, and noted he had only accepted the position in October 1996 because of "sensitive circumstances".
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 rules an authoritarian regime in Qatar, as he holds all executive and legislative authority, political parties are forbidden, and elections are not free and fair.
The citizens of Qatar have limited political and civil rights.
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 post of foreign minister 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 made additional changes to his cabinet. He named a new foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani
moving the previous foreign minister, Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah to the position of Minister of State for Defense Affairs.
Tamim also merged several ministries, including communication and transport, culture, youth and sports. Journalists have speculated reasons behind the cabinet changes. Some 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.Eurasia Group
indicated in a report that the cabinet change aimed to increase efficiency in government operations and would not negatively impact political or economic stability.
According to others the appointments showed that Tamim was trying to make the government his own by bringing in a new, younger generation of ministers that were 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 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.
Under his leadership, Qatar has condemned hate speech
based on religion, belief and race.
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.
Despite this, Tamim worked within the GCC to support the Syrian opposition.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with Ukrainian former President Petro Poroshenko
in Qatar, 20 March 2018
Sheikh Tamim has maintained a strong relationship with the Indian government. On 25 March 2015, he visited India
and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi
. He said that the government "trusts" the Indian economy so they would invest in India.
Last time Sheikh Tamim met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on 23 September 2019, at the residence of the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Talks during the meeting dealt with the bilateral relations and ways of developing them in various aspects of cooperation, especially in the political and economic areas, to serve the interests of the two friendly people.
During COVID-19 crisis, on 26 May 2020, Sheikh Tamim spoke on phone with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said he appreciated the contributions made by the Indian community living in Qatar. In particular, he praised those working in the healthcare sector for their huge contribution during the present situation. In turn, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warmly appreciated the personal care taken by the Amir for ensuring the welfare of the Indian citizens in Qatar during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 27 April 2021, Sheikh Tamim held a telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Modi and discussed ways to fight the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
Sheikh Tamim immediately ordered to send urgent medical assistance to India.
Qatar heavily invested in loans and aid to Egypt during the Muslim Brotherhood
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 coup
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 has continuously denied allegations of support for the Muslim Brotherhood,
with the Foreign Minister stating in 2017: "In Egypt, when the Muslim Brotherhood assumed power, some linked this to Qatar's support, even though nearly 70 percent of the assistance program provided by Qatar was during the era of Essam Sharaf
, during the period of the military council
In June 2016, former president of Egypt Mohamed Morsi
was given a life sentence for accusations of passing state secrets to Qatar.
Qatar called for a military intervention by 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.
However, Qatar has continued to provide support to Syrian opposition groups, with Tamin declaring in a speech to the UN
in September 2020 that Qatar would continue to support efforts to achieve justice and hold accountable perpetrators of atrocities, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Syria.
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
In August 2018, Qatar pledged $15 billion investment in Turkey, during currency crisis amid a diplomatic standoff with US. The investment package was announced after Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, on 15 August 2018.
In October 2014, Sheikh Tamim met UK Prime Minister David Cameron
and Queen Elizabeth II
on his first official visit to the UK. Qatar and the UK 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. 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.”
In July 2018, Sheikh Tamim and UK Prime Minister Theresa May
signed a letter of intent
between the governments of Qatar and the United Kingdom. Both agreed to exchange information and intelligence on terrorism, to cooperate in the areas of law enforcement related to terror activities, security of the transport sector, including airports and aviation, as well as to fight financial crime
In July 2014, Tamim renewed the defence agreement with the U.S. and confirmed Qatar's cooperation with the U.S. in the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base
Sheikh Tamim visited 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.
Sheikh Tamim has been a personal friend of U.S. President Donald Trump
prior to the latter's presidency. He has visited the United States several times since Trump's inauguration and has held bilateral meetings at the White House
in Washington, D.C.
In July 2017, the US and Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding to combat the financing of terrorism, making Qatar the first country in the region to sign the executive program with the United States to fight terrorism financing.
In July 2019, Sheikh Tamim visited the US to meet President Donald Trump
and discuss the latest regional and international developments.
A state dinner to welcome Tamim was organized at the White House
with “who’s who of people in business”, including Robert Kraft and Christine Lagarde 
The meeting concluded with an enhanced economic partnership between both the countries, with Qatar agreeing to do business with major US companies, including Boeing
and Chevron Phillips Chemical
Personal characteristics and views
Sheikh Tamim is described as friendly, confident, and open by those who know him. He is also described as savvy, careful, and conservative.
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 expected 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 Islamic traditional values has been Tamim's first priority.
Sheikh Tamim married his first wife (his second cousin) Sheikha Jawahir bint Hamad Al Thani on 8 January 2005 (with whom he shares a great-grandfather, Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani). They have four children, two sons and two daughters:
- Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 15 January 2006)
- Sheikh Hamad bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 20 October 2008).
- Sheikha Aisha bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 24 August 2010).
- Sheikh Jassim bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 12 June 2012).
Sheikh Tamim married a second wife, Sheikha Al-Anoud bint Mana Al Hajri, on 3 March 2009. She is the daughter of Mana bin Abdul Hadi Al Hajri, former Qatari Ambassador to Jordan
They have five children, three daughters and two sons:
- Sheikha Naylah bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 27 May 2010).
- Sheikh Abdullah bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 29 September 2012).
- Sheikha Roda bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 2014)
- Sheikh Alqaqaa bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 3 October 2015)
- Sheikha Moza bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 19 May 2018).
On 25 February 2014, Sheikh Tamim married a third wife, Sheikha Noora bint Hathal Aldosari. They have three sons and one daughter:
- Sheikh Joaan bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 27 March 2015).
- Sheikh Mohammed bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 17 July 2017)
- Sheikh Fahad bin Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 16 June 2018)
- Sheikha Hind bint Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (born 5 February 2020)
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.
Alleged Support for Islamists
Some countries and regional analysts have claimed that Qatar has 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 and medical initiatives, and warnings to Islamist groups.
There have also been claims that the Qatar-based pan-Arab satellite television channel Al Jazeera
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.
However, Al Jazeera maintains that it was under pressure because “it is the most transparent, balanced and unbiased of all Arab channels". The channel previously hosted a talk-show, “al-Sharīʿa wa al-Ḥayāh” ("Shariah and Life"), featuring the controversial Brotherhood-associated Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi
There have also been claims that Qatar supports the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar allegedly provided a financial boost to Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party
, and Brotherhood opponents allegedly argued that Morsi's narrow election victory was achieved through Qatari funding.
After Morsi's election, Qatar contributed a total of US$5.5 billion to the Muslim Brotherhood administration.
Qatar has repeatedly denied that it supports the Muslim Broterhood, saying it supports “the legitimate peoples and governments elected whatever the ideology of the ruling group as long as it works on the prosperity and welfare of its people.”
Tamim himself has also repeatedly denied that Qatar supports extremists.
There have been rumors that Qatar looked at the Brotherhood in Syria as a natural Islamist ally to deliver its policy aims in the region. The Financial Times
claimed in a report that Qatar provided Syrian rebels financial support of US$1 billion, saying that “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, although these rumors are unconfirmed.
Analysts claim that both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are engaged in proxy wars
Tamim in particular played a role in the mediation with Taliban leaders, with whom he initiated contacts under his father's government. The United States requested the establishment of 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.
Qatar hosted the historic signing of a peace deal between the US and the Taliban
in February 2020 which called for the full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
Beginning in September 2020, Qatar has hosted the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to end decades of war in the country.
Qatar has also provided aid through loans and investments to the democratically elected Ennahdha Party
and to parties in Yemen and Morocco.
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
and United Arab Emirates
withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar. Officially, the decision was motivated by Qatar's alleged 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 allegedly backing Islamists during Arab Spring revolts and are supportive of the new military-oriented Egyptian regime.
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.
During the 2016 May Day celebration in Bonn, Germany, an Amnesty campaigner named Bettina Hoffmann took the opportunity to protest Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who she claims 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 FIFA World Cup in Qatar
. Amnesty estimates some 70,000 labourers - 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 who seems to be indifferent to the dangerous conditions of the workers.
Two laws protecting workers' rights, which included clauses on maximum working hours and rights to annual leave, were passed by Sheikh Tamim in 2017.
The next year, Sheikh Tamim passed Law No. 13 of 2018, abolishing exit visas for roughly 95% of the country's migrant workers. The remaining 5% of workers, which amount to approximately 174,000 people, still require their employer's permission to exit the country. While stating that more needs to be done to protect the rights of Qatar's workers, at the same time Stephen Cockburn of Amnesty claimed that the Emir had taken an "important first step towards meeting the authorities' promise to fundamentally reform the exploitative sponsorship system".
In November 2017, Qatar and the International Labour Organization started a technical cooperation programme to improve working conditions and labour rights.
The ILO opened its first project office in Qatar on 30 April 2018
to support the implementation of the programme.
Following the adoption on 30 August 2020 of Law No. 19 of 2020, migrant workers can now change jobs before the end of their contract without first having to obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their employer. This new law, coupled with the removal of exit permit requirements earlier in the year, effectively dismantles the “kafala” sponsorship system and marks the beginning of a new era for the Qatari labour market.
In March 2021, Qatar additionally implemented a monthly minimum wage of 1,000 riyals
275) for all workers, making it the first country in the region to do so.
A sketch of Tamim entitled Tamim al-majd
(Tamim the Glorious
) by advertiser Ahmed al-Maadheed became extremely popular as a nationalistic symbol in Qatar following the beginning of the 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis
In January 2019, a Reuters investigation revealed that a team of former US government intelligence operatives working on behalf of the United Arab Emirates had hacked the iPhones of activists, diplomats and foreign leaders, including Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Beginning in 2016 the spying tool, codenamed ‘Karma’, enabled the UAE to monitor hundreds of individuals identified as potential critics of, or threats to, the Emirati government and its ideology. The hacking unit using the tool, known as ‘Project Raven’, was based in Abu Dhabi and composed of local security officials and former US intelligence operatives working for the UAE's intelligence services. Ex-Project Raven operatives described how Karma was able to remotely gain access to iPhones, including that of Sheikh Tamim's, by uploading numbers or email addresses into an automated targeting system. According to Reuters the phones of Sheikh Tamim's brother as well as several associates were also hacked by the Project Raven team.
Ancestors of Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
9. Aisha bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi
5. Aisha bint Hamad Al Attiyah
1. Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
12. Abdullah bin Ali Al Missned
6. Nasser bin Abdullah Al Missned
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Last edited on 11 June 2021, at 11:47
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