Sixty-one year old Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, announced on Tuesday morning, June 25, he will hand over power to his son and Crown Prince Tamim (33), daily Al Sharq reported. The decision, which has been widely speculated in recent months, will likely not have any macroeconomic impact or changes in Qatar’s medium-term public spending program ahead of the 2020 World Cup. Tamim, moreover, has been involved in running the country for years under his father’s guidance. Outgoing Qatari Emir informed his family on Monday about his decision to abdicate.
But the key underlying change that will likely have a political impact both in Qatar and the region is the expected departure of the powerful PM and foreign minister Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani. Unconfirmed reports said that Al-Thani had his own aspirations to take the rein in Qatar. The PM had his own supporters or followers within the ruling family and had his own political agenda. Al-Thani has also been playing a key role in the region’s geopolitics, allegedly supporting the ‘Syrian uprising’ and financing several armed groups in Syria and other regional countries such as Lebanon.
It is worth noting that Qatar’s inflated geopolitical role in the region has also angered Saudi Arabia, the GCC’s powerhouse. The power change in Qatar might also initiate similar actions in other regional monarchies. The ailing 88-year old Saudi King Abdullah might follow suit with his much younger Qatari counterpart.
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