Qatar (/ˈkæˌtɑr/, i/ˈkɑːtɑr/, /ˈkɑːtər/ or i/kəˈtɑr/; Arabic: قطر Qaṭar [ˈqɑtˤɑr]; local vernacular pronunciation: [ɡɪtˤɑr]), officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر Dawlat Qaṭar), is a sovereign country located in Southwest Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait in the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island kingdom of Bahrain. In 2013, Qatar's total population was 1.8 million: 278,000 Qatari citizens and 1.5 million expatriates.
Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. Qatar has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Qatar is an absolute monarchyand its head of state is Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. After Saudi Arabia, Qatar is the most conservative society in the Gulf Cooperation Council as most Qataris adhere to the strict Salafi interpretation of Islam. Sharia law is the main source of Qatari legislation according to Qatar's Constitution.
Qatar is the world's richest country per capita, with a high income, developed economy backed by the world's third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels (4.0×109 m3). Qatar is an influential player in the Arab world, supporting several rebel groups during the Arab Spring both financially and through its globally expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first Arab country to do so. For its size, Qatar wields disproportionate influence in the world, and has been identified as a middle power.
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