The Luxurious Lifestyle of the $335 Billion Qatari Royal Family
Qatar is ruled by the al-Thani dynasty, who are ethnic Tamimis. The family’s ascension to power was the product of British and Ottoman imperial politics, unlike most other Arab rulers who are believed to be either direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad or have held their kingdom for generations.
There is an undeniable connection between their ascent and the founding of an independent Qatar. There were other families in the region with more links, power, and/or longevity; thus, the British identification of the al-Thanis as rulers of Qatar was far from guaranteed.
Politically, Muhammad bin Thani outmaneuvered the British to establish a place for his family as a first among equals, a status that has been repeatedly claimed by Muhammad bin Thani’s offspring.
The al-Thani family now controls most of the government’s most important agencies and reaps a disproportionate share of the country’s wealth. As the family, which at times has comprised over half the citizenry, is the principal source of political resistance to any reigning emir, both nomination and distribution are crucial means of preventing internal factionalism and strife.
In addition, in 1996, the current Emir was given the agency to choose his own successor thanks to a constitutional amendment made by the previous Emir, Sheikh Hamad. With this new law in place, one major family bargaining chip is gone.
When Shaikh Jassim bin Muhammad Al-Thani was trying to win the favor and protection of Saudi Arabia in the early 20th century, he had his family convert to Wahhabism as a diplomatic gesture. However, the family’s political influence has always been separate from their religious beliefs.
The Royal Family’s Endless Riches
Qatar’s ruling royal family, now headed by Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, may trace its ancestry back many generations to the Banu Tamim tribal confederation. Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is now the Emir…