On Tuesday, Qatar’s top diplomat, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, was sworn in as the new prime minister of the country, replacing Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani.
As a member of the ruling family, Sheikh Mohammed’s appointment was made by Qatar‘s ruling Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The appointment of a new prime minister and the reshuffling of the cabinet were welcomed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who praised Qatar’s enduring partnership with the United States.
Sheikh Mohammed has been the public face of Qatar as it faced a 3 1/2-year economic boycott by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt, which was lifted in January 2021. Qatar, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, has been supporting Islamist groups across the region, leading to conflicts with its Gulf Arab neighbors who view such groups as a threat to hereditary rule.
However, relations between Qatar and its neighboring countries have been improving over the last two years.
The rulers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt visited Qatar as it hosted soccer’s World Cup last year. Moreover, the UAE has begun quietly allowing internet users in the country to access the websites of Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab broadcaster, and the Qatar News Agency, which have been long complained about due to their editorial coverage.
Sheikh Mohammed’s appointment as the new prime minister of Qatar and the reshuffling of the cabinet may signal a continuation of Qatar’s efforts to improve its bilateral relations with its neighboring countries. As Qatar continues to navigate the geopolitical landscape of the region, its relationship with the United States is likely to remain an essential aspect of its foreign policy.