Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, the former ruler of the tiny Gulf nation of Qatar, who was deposed by his son in a bloodless palace coup, died on Sunday. Despite his desire to get back the power after his ouster, he would not return to the homeland until 2004. After the palace coup, Qatar’s former ruler kept a low profile until his death.
Qatar’s former emir died, announced the royal court on Sunday. The former 84-year-old ruler’s death caused the changes in the Qatar’s life. State TV quickly cut from its regular programming, airing Koranic recitations late into the night. In fact, former emir couldn’t get back into state power after the palace coup in 1995, but now the whole country is mourning.
The current leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is the grandson of Sheikh Khalifa. To honour his deceased grandfather, the acting emir of Qatar declared three days of mourning in the energy-rich nation that juts into the Persian Gulf off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. Khalifa lost his power in 1995, while he was on vacation in Switzerland, his son, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, became a ruler after the palace coup, bloodless and quiet.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani in 1980
Hamad, then the head of the Ministry of defence, said at the time that seizing power was necessary because of “difficult circumstances” facing the country. It worth to note that the ousted Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani himself had come to power by dethroning his cousin in 1972.