BATTLE ROYAL ON THE GULF

AFTER BUMPING OUT HIS FATHER, QATAR'S SHEIK SHAKES UP THE REGION WITH REFORM

A visitor is led through splendid rooms of marble and teak, thick carpets and crystal chandeliers. This is the Diwan--seat of power in the oil sheikdom of Qatar--and the guest arrives at the inner sanctum to find hushed courtiers awaiting the moment His Highness, the Emir, will favor the chamber with his presence.

But when Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, 44, enters through a side door, he ignores formalities, proffers a friendly handshake, and talks frankly with a journalist for two hours--acts normally taboo in cloistered Arab monarchies. He breezily inquires, "Can you come to lunch Saturday?"

Change is stealing into...

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