Qatar Names New Cabinet

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Correction Appended

DOHA, Qatar -- The new emir of Qatar, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, on Thursday signaled continuity in international affairs and change on the domestic front with the appointment of a new cabinet, one that will be headed by a longtime secret policeman.

While there was no immediate official announcement of the cabinet from the government's Qatar News Agency when it was appointed on Wednesday, Qatari newspapers on Thursday published a complete list of the members. It will be led by Sheik Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, holding the roles of prime minister and interior minister. His age was not announced, but he is a 1984 graduate of Durham Military College in Britain, according to his official biography, which would make him about 50.

In addition to running internal state security for many years, the new prime minister has been in charge of his country's antiterrorism efforts.

The new emir, 33, took office Wednesday after his 61-year-old father, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, abdicated after 18 years in power. In a televised speech Wednesday, Sheik Tamim repeatedly referred to the former emir as "his highness the father."

"He left office in a unique, rather unprecedented step," he said. "He left Qatar a nonstop construction site. Crime is virtually nonexistent. He transformed Qatar from a state struggling to survive to a state with a sovereign and confident stature."

"His highness the father decided to leave his reign while he can give his best. He handed all the banners to me as an expression of confidence."

The departing prime minister, Sheik Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, for many years also held the portfolio of foreign minister and was a central architect of Qatar's aggressive, interventionist foreign policy. The new emir suggested that he would continue his father's foreign policy, and the appointment of the longtime deputy foreign minister, Khalid al-Attiyah, as foreign minister suggested as much. He is close to the previous emir and deeply involved in many of Qatar's international mediation efforts.

But a new prime minister whose second portfolio is the Interior Ministry, which controls the police and internal security affairs, was widely read as a signal that the new emir would be refocusing on domestic affairs. There has been no suggestion of any internal security threat, and dissent in wealthy Qatar, which has only 250,000 citizens, is nearly unknown.

Sheik Abdullah, the new prime minister, had been the minister of state for internal affairs since February 2005. In recent years, he was widely viewed as the de facto minister of interior.

The Qatari cabinet also includes one woman, Hessa Sultan al-Jaber. She is one of few to hold such a position anywhere in the region and is the minister of communication and information technology.

Correction: June 27, 2013, Thursday

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the year that Sheik Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, the new prime minister and interior minister, became the minister of internal affairs under the previous emir, and erroneously attributed a distinction to Hessa Sultan al-Jaber, the minister of communication and information technology. Sheik Abdullah had been minister of state for internal affairs since February 2005, not 1995, and Ms. Jaber is not in fact the first woman in a Qatari cabinet; another woman was named to the cabinet in 2003.

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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