Qatar (/ˈkætɑːr/, /ˈkɑːtɑːr/ (About this sound listen), /ˈkɑːtər/ or /kəˈtɑːr/ (About this sound listen); Arabic: قطر Qatar [ˈqɑtˤɑr]; local vernacular pronunciation: [ˈɡɪtˤɑr]), officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر Dawlat Qatar), is a sovereign country located in Western 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. An arm of the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island country of Bahrain.
Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. Qatar has been ruled by the House of Thani since the early 19th century. Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani was the founder of the State of Qatar. Qatar is a hereditary monarchy and its head of state is Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Whether it should be regarded as a constitutional or an absolute monarchy is disputed. In 2003, the constitution was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum, with almost 98% in favour. In early 2017, Qatar’s total population was 2.6 million: 313,000 Qatari citizens and 2.3 million expatriates. Islam is the official religion of Qatar.
Qatar is a high-income economy, backed by the world’s third-largest natural-gas reserves and oil reserves. The country has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar is classified by the UN as a country of very high human development and is widely regarded as the most advanced Arab state for human development. Qatar is a significant power in the Arab world, reportedly supporting several rebel groups during the Arab Spring both financially and through its globally expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network. For its size, Qatar wields disproportionate influence in the world, and has been identified as a middle power. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first Arab country to do so.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt, among other Gulf states, cut off diplomatic relations with the country, accusing it of supporting and funding terrorism and manipulating internal affairs of its neighboring states, an escalation of longstanding tensions with Saudi Arabia.