Qatar's emir puts son in line to control military

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

ABU DHABI Qatar's ruling family has decided to increase direct supervision over the military in wake of an attempted coup last year.

Qatari Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani has appointed his son, Crown Prince Tamim Bin Hamad, deputy chief of the armed forces. The emir issued the appointment by a royal decree, the official Qatari news agency said on Tuesday.

Tamim, who is in his twenties, was named crown prince in August after the abdication of his older brother, Jassem, Middle East Newsline reported. The appointment placed Tamim as heir apparent to the throne and the most powerful among the emir's sons.

Gulf diplomatic sources said the appointment was part of a reshuffle of the military and security forces begun earlier this year. The reshuffle was decided after Qatar and the United States foiled a coup by mid-level Qatari army officers in 2002 who opposed the U.S. military presence in the emirate.

Qatar has undergone several bloodless coups in its history. Jassem was said to have been deemed as insufficiently motivated to rule the emirate.

Qatar does not have a defense minister, but the sources said Tamim might eventually assume the post. The emir has assumed the role of chief of the military.

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