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Qatar-Military Capabilities of the Persian Gulf States





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During the decade after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War, all the gulf states set out to strengthen their armed forces by converting to the most modern weapons they could obtain and assimilate. By 1993 each state had at least a modest inventory of tanks and other armored equipment, air defense missiles, combat aircraft, armed helicopters, and missile-armed naval craft with which to deter an intruder. Kuwait is less prepared than the others, not having recovered from the losses it suffered in personnel and equipment during the Persian Gulf War. A fundamental constraint for all the gulf states has been the limited pool of qualified manpower and, in most countries, the problem of attracting recruits when better employment opportunities exist in the civilian sector. The emphasis on advanced weaponry is part of an effort to minimize the need for personnel. As stated by a senior Kuwaiti officer, the object is to obtain the best equipment technologically, "easy to maintain, understand, and operate . . . the greatest firepower for the smallest human effort." But integrating modern weapons into the gulf armies and ensuring their effective operation create other problems. Such problems include the necessity of continued reliance on foreign officers and foreign maintenance and training staffs at a time when all gulf states are trying to achieve greater self-sufficiency. Dependence on foreign personnel, moreover, implies a degree of loyalty and trustworthiness that may not be forthcoming in times of crisis.

Although in every case the gulf armies are much larger than the air forces and navies, the ground forces have traditionally been oriented toward counterinsurgency actions and the protection of the ruling families. Most of the armies are organized into one or more combat brigades; actual fighting strengths are generally lower than the brigade structure implies. Except for the officers and men who were briefly exposed to modern military operations during the Persian Gulf War--and in the late 1960s and first half of the 1970s during Oman's war with Dhofari guerrillas and their supporters in the PDRY--most have not faced actual combat situations.

In recognition of the great strategic importance of their air and sea defenses, the gulf states have all introduced modern combat aircraft and air defense missile systems, such as the United States Hawk surface-to-air missile (SAM). Several of the states have in their inventories or on order attack helicopters to help protect their oil facilities and oil drilling platforms in the gulf. All the gulf states have communications, control, and warning systems for the effective use of their fighter aircraft and antiaircraft missiles. But each air force is small, and, unless integrated with others, the overall effectiveness of the GCC in air defense is marginal. In spite of the attention the problem has received, there is no common network linking all air defense squadrons and SAMs to the Saudi Arabian air defense system and to the Saudi airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft. Technical difficulties, including the incompatibility of national communications systems and the reluctance to turn control of national air defense over to a unified command structure, account for this weakness.

Fast-missile attack craft acquired by all of the gulf navies with small but well-trained crews could inflict damaging blows to heavier fleets and discourage hostile amphibious operations. The sixty-two-meter corvettes belonging to Bahrain and the UAE are the largest vessels among the gulf navies. As the tanker war demonstrated, the navies lack minesweeping capability, and their shipboard defense weapons against air attack are also weak. Only Oman has available larger amphibious transports to convey troops and vehicles for defending islands or remote coastal areas.

Defense expenditures of the gulf states are among the highest in the world relative to population. According to an analysis covering 1989, prepared by the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Qatar recorded the highest per capita military expenditures of any country in the world, followed by Israel and the United States. Oman ranked fourth and Kuwait sixth. The UAE was eleventh highest; Bahrain, listed in twentyseventh place worldwide, had the lowest outlays relatively of the gulf states. Military spending as a percentage of central government expenditures also is high, amounting to more than 40 percent in Oman and the UAE, for example. In contrast, military spending in Bahrain is 13 percent of central government expenditure. Military expenditures as a percentage of the gross national product (GNP--see Glossary) are more moderate except for Oman, whose military outlays were more than 20 percent of GNP in 1989. Force ratios are also high in Oman and the UAE; both countries had about twenty men in uniform per 1,000 population in 1989. Their respective rankings were eleventh and twelfth highest in the world. Bahrain and Kuwait had manpower levels of about ten per 1,000 population, whereas the level for Qatar was fifteen per 1,000 in 1989.

In spite of the small personnel pools and the desire of all the gulf governments to train nationals to replace foreigners as quickly as possible, constraints found in traditional Islamic societies prevent the widespread recruitment of women to serve in the armed forces. Oman and Bahrain have allowed a few women to enlist. They receive combat-style training and learn how to operate small arms. In Bahrain, however, almost all the women have been assigned to hospital staffs. In 1990 the UAE introduced a five-month training course for female recruits with the assistance of a team of female soldiers from the United States. About 1,200 women applied; only seventy-four were accepted. Two top members of the first class were selected to continue with officer training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, in Britain. The other graduates of the first class were assigned as bodyguards of female members of the ruling families and as specialists in such fields as military intelligence.

Before the Persian Gulf War, some women served in support departments of the Kuwaiti armed forces, including engineering, military establishments, moral guidance, and public relations. In July 1991, noting that a large number of women had volunteered for service in the postwar military, the minister of defense said that some would be accepted for a training period of three to six months but would initially be unsalaried. A role would then be found for them. The minister cautioned that acceptance by Kuwaiti society was essential for the government to move ahead with this plan.

Data as of January 1993



BackgroundRuled by the al-Thani family since the mid-1800s, Qatar transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the Amir, who had ruled the country since 1972. His son, the current Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa al-Thani, overthrew him in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. As of 2007, oil and natural gas revenues had enabled Qatar to attain the second-highest per capita income in the world.
LocationMiddle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Area(sq km)total: 11,586 sq km
land: 11,586 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Geographic coordinates25 30 N, 51 15 E
Land boundaries(km)total: 60 km
border countries: Saudi Arabia 60 km

Coastline(km)563 km

Climatearid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Qurayn Abu al Bawl 103 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, fish
Land use(%)arable land: 1.64%
permanent crops: 0.27%
other: 98.09% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)130 sq km (2002)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)0.1 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 0.29 cu km/yr (24%/3%/72%)
per capita: 358 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardshaze, dust storms, sandstorms common
Environment - current issueslimited natural fresh water resources are increasing dependence on large-scale desalination facilities
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location in central Persian Gulf near major petroleum deposits
Population833,285 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 21.8% (male 93,805/female 88,040)
15-64 years: 76.8% (male 454,714/female 185,004)
65 years and over: 1.4% (male 6,792/female 4,930) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 30.8 years
male: 32.8 years
female: 25.4 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)0.957% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)15.61 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)2.46 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-3.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 96% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 2.46 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.38 male(s)/female
total population: 2 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 12.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.51 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 75.35 years
male: 73.66 years
female: 77.14 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.45 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Qatari(s)
adjective: Qatari
Ethnic groups(%)Arab 40%, Indian 18%, Pakistani 18%, Iranian 10%, other 14%

Religions(%)Muslim 77.5%, Christian 8.5%, other 14% (2004 census)
Languages(%)Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language

Country nameconventional long form: State of Qatar
conventional short form: Qatar
local long form: Dawlat Qatar
local short form: Qatar
note: closest approximation of the native pronunciation falls between cutter and gutter, but not like guitar
Government typeemirate
Capitalname: Doha
geographic coordinates: 25 17 N, 51 32 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions10 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah); Ad Dawhah, Al Ghuwayriyah, Al Jumayliyah, Al Khawr, Al Wakrah, Ar Rayyan, Jarayan al Batinah, Madinat ash Shamal, Umm Sa'id, Umm Salal
Constitutionratified by public referendum on 29 April 2003, endorsed by the Amir on 8 June 2004, effective on 9 June 2005

Legal systembased on Islamic and civil law codes; discretionary system of law controlled by the Amir, although civil codes are being implemented; Islamic law dominates family and personal matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa al-Thani (since 27 June 1995 when, as heir apparent, he ousted his father, Amir KHALIFA bin Hamad al-Thani, in a bloodless coup); Heir Apparent TAMIM bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, fourth son of the amir (selected Heir Apparent by the amir on 5 August 2003); note - Amir HAMAD also holds the positions of Minister of Defense and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
head of government: Prime Minister HAMAD bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani (since 3 April 2007); Deputy Prime Minister Abdallah bin Hamad al-ATIYAH (since 3 April 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the amir
elections: the amir is hereditary
note: in April 2007, Qatar held nationwide elections for a 29-member Central Municipal Council (CMC), which has limited consultative powers aimed at improving the provision of municipal services; the first election for the CMC was held in March 1999

Legislative branchunicameral Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura (35 seats; members appointed)
note: no legislative elections have been held since 1970 when there were partial elections to the body; Council members have had their terms extended every year since the new constitution came into force on 9 June 2005; the constitution provides for a new 45-member Advisory Council or Majlis al-Shura; the public would elect two-thirds of the Majlis al-Shura; the Amir would appoint the remaining members; preparations are underway to conduct elections to the Majlis al-Shura

Judicial branchCourts of First Instance, Appeal, and Cassation; an Administrative Court and a Constitutional Court were established in 2007; note - all judges are appointed by Amiri Decree based on the recommendation of the Supreme Judiciary Council for renewable three-year terms

Political pressure groups and leadersnone
International organization participationABEDA, ACC, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag descriptionmaroon with a broad white serrated band (nine white points) on the hoist side

Economy - overviewQatar has experienced rapid economic growth over the last several years on the back of high oil prices, and in 2008 posted its eighth consecutive budget surplus. Economic policy is focused on developing Qatar's nonassociated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors, but oil and gas still account for more than 50% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have made Qatar the second highest per-capita income country - following Liechtenstein - and one of the world's fastest growing. Proved oil reserves of 15 billion barrels should enable continued output at current levels for 37 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas are nearly 26 trillion cubic meters, about 14% of the world total and third largest in the world. The drop in oil prices in late 2008 and the global financial crisis will reduce Qatar's budget surplus and may slow the pace of investment and development projects in 2009.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$91.55 billion (2008 est.)
$80.73 billion (2007 est.)
$68.82 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$102.3 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)13.4% (2008 est.)
17.3% (2007 est.)
12.2% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$111,000 (2008 est.)
$99,100 (2007 est.)
$85,800 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 0.1%
industry: 74.9%
services: 25.1% (2008 est.)
Labor force1.119 million (2008 est.)

Unemployment rate(%)0.4% (2008 est.)
0.7% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)32.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $36.59 billion
expenditures: $27.14 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)15.2% (2008 est.)
13.7% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$13.98 billion (31 December 2008)
$9.718 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$36.58 billion (31 December 2008)
$22.6 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$59.43 billion (31 December 2008)
$30.52 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$76.31 billion (31 December 2008)
$95.49 billion (31 December 2007)
$61.56 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$2.18 million (2004)

Public debt(% of GDP)5.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
11% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - productsfruits, vegetables; poultry, dairy products, beef; fish
Industriescrude oil production and refining, ammonia, fertilizers, petrochemicals, steel reinforcing bars, cement, commercial ship repair

Industrial production growth rate(%)13% (2008 est.)

Current account balance$15.07 billion (2008 est.)
$10.45 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$55.73 billion (2008 est.)
$42.02 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum products, fertilizers, steel
Exports - partners(%)Japan 38.5%, South Korea 20.9%, Singapore 11.1%, India 4.5%, Thailand 4.4% (2008)
Imports$25.11 billion (2008 est.)
$19.82 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)machinery and transport equipment, food, chemicals
Imports - partners(%)US 12.1%, Germany 9%, Italy 8.9%, Japan 8%, South Korea 7.5%, France 6.2%, UAE 5.5%, UK 4.9%, Saudi Arabia 4.6%, Turkey 4.2%, China 4.2% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$9.998 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$9.752 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$57.37 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$33.09 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$3.627 billion (2008 est.)
$2.601 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$5.363 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$6.993 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesQatari rials (QAR) per US dollar - 3.64 (2008 est.), 3.64 (2007), 3.64 (2006), 3.64 (2005), 3.64 (2004)

Currency (code)Qatari rial (QAR)

Telephones - main lines in use263,400 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular1.683 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modern system centered in Doha
domestic: combined fixed and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership exceeds 200 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 974; landing point for the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and the US; tropospheric scatter to Bahrain; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and the UAE; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat (2008)
Internet country code.qa
Internet users436,000 (2008)
Airports5 (2009)
Pipelines(km)condensate 145 km; condensate/gas 132 km; gas 978 km; liquid petroleum gas 90 km; oil 382 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 7,790 km (2006)

Ports and terminalsDoha, Ra's Laffan
Military branchesQatari Amiri Land Force (QALF), Qatari Amiri Navy (QAN), Qatari Amiri Air Force (QAAF) (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 320,383
females age 16-49: 167,475 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 318,388
females age 16-49: 136,841 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 6,337
female: 5,059 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)10% of GDP (2005 est.)
Disputes - internationalnone

Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Qatar is a destination country for men and women from South and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly, but are subsequently trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers, and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation; the most common offense was forcing workers to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited; other conditions include bonded labor, withholding of pay, restrictions on movement, arbitrary detention, and physical, mental, and sexual abuse
tier rating: Tier 3 - Qatar failed, for the second consecutive year, to enforce criminal laws against traffickers, or to provide an effective mechanism to identify and protect victims; it continues to detain and deport victims rather than providing them protection; the government made little progress to increase prosecutions for trafficking in a meaningful way in 2007; workers complaining of working conditions or non-payment of wages were sometimes penalized (2008)
Electricity - production(kWh)15.11 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)13.73 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)1.208 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)129,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)1.043 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)15.21 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)76.98 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)20.2 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)56.78 billion cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)25.26 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.09% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 89%
male: 89.1%
female: 88.6% (2004 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)3.3% of GDP (2005)








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