A recent Baker Institute blog by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, the institute's fellow for Kuwait, outlined the possible challenges ahead for Qatar after a voluntary leadership change that is unprecedented in modern Persian Gulf history.

On June 24, Qatar"s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, announced he would step down and pass power to his son, 33-year-old Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. "Where change is likely is in the style rather than the substance of decision-making ... challenges do face the new leadership in Doha. Chief among these will be managing the strained relationships with neighboring Gulf states irked by Qatar"s maverick stance toward the Arab Spring," Coates Ulrichsen writes. "In Syria, too, Qatari policy arguably overreached itself, and Sheikh Tamim may need to recalibrate policy to better align Doha"s capabilities and intent. Analysts will also watch for any shift in Qatar"s policy toward the Muslim Brotherhood as this has left Qatar increasingly isolated within the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council and at odds with international partners."

Read Coates Ulrichsen's analysis in "Qatar's historic transition."