Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, left, and his son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, right, await France's President Francois Hollande prior to a welcoming ceremony earlier this month.
Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, left, and his son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, right, await France's President Francois Hollande prior to a welcoming ceremony earlier this month. AFP/Getty Images
Qatar's monarch, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, handed over the reins of power this morning to his 33-year-old son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
"'The time has come to turn a new page in our country's journey and see a new generation assume responsibility,' Sheikh Hamad said in an address to the nation. The outgoing ruler and his son, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, later stood side by side as citizens lined up to pledge their allegiance.
"Sheikh Tamim, 33, assumes leadership of a country of 1.9 million people that has developed into a regional power during his father's 18-year reign. The emirate bought stakes in Barclays Plc (BARC), the U.K.'s second-biggest bank, and Volkswagen AG (VOW), Europe's largest carmaker. It supported uprisings in Syria and Libya and has lent $8 billion to Egypt since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak."
CNN says the move is significant for two reasons: This is the first time in modern history that a transition in the region has happened peacefully and second, the new monarch is now the youngest in the region.
Our friends at the Parallels blog will have more on this story.