Throughout history tiny Qatar (pronounced "cutter" or "gutter") has
at times been overlooked or forgotten. Today, however, this small
country, located on a peninsula that juts into the Arabian Gulf, has
become an important strategic partner of the United States.In recent years Qatar has gained international stature in part
because of its vast reserves of oil and natural gas. Since coming to
power in 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has made Qatar
one of the more liberal Gulf states. Though the country is by no
means a democracy in the Western sense, Qatar appears to be moving
slowly in that direction. One day Qatar may provide a successful
example of democracy for the Arab world.
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