Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani

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Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, 1952–, emir of Qatar (1995–2013). The son of Emir Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, Hamad is credited with having turned a country of desert nomads into a modern, industrialized nation. He graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England (1971), then joined Qatar's armed forces, rising to become commander in chief. He assumed a role in planning Qatar's economic and social policies in the 1980s, and was running the country's day-to-day affairs, including development of its oil and gas resources, by the 1990s. In 1995, while his father was abroad, Hamad deposed him in a bloodless coup. As emir, Hamad established the country's sovereign wealth fund, which has invested Qatar energy revenues in major businesses worldwide. He also helped underwrite the Al Jazeera news network, which is based in Qatar. He abdicated in favor of his son Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in 2013.