Qatar. According to
Countryaah website, Qatar continued to play an important role in US
military planning for operations in the Middle East and
Central Asia. In December, the United States was granted
permission to utilize air bases in Qatar and a major
military exercise was carried out at the end of the year.
A Jordanian journalist was sentenced to death for
espionage in October for allegedly providing Jordan with
sensitive information about Qatar and the US military.
The sister of Qatar's governing emir Sheik Hamad bin
Khalifa ath-Thani was appointed deputy chairman of the
Family Affairs Council in November. Hassa bint Khalifa
ath-Thani thus became the first female minister in the
Persian Gulf countries.
In July, the emir decided on a minor reorganization. In
June, he announced that elections would be held for a newly
formed parliament within two and a half years.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Bahrain highlighted
their dissatisfaction with Qatar, which is the home of the
free-to-air Arabic TV channel al-Jazira. The channel's
office was closed and Saudi Arabia, which never allowed
al-Jazira to operate in the country, called its ambassador
home in September after a televised debate over a Saudi
peace plan for the Middle East.
In May, Qatar sold its stake in the debt-laden Gulf Air,
which was owned by neighboring Bahrain, Oman and Abu Dhabi.
Qatar has its own Qatar Airways.