Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani is currently a sought-after man in Germany. With Qatar, the Emir governs a country that has a resource that is important during the Russian war of aggression: liquefied natural gas (LNG). But the emir who is supposed to free Germany from Putin’s gas noose is controversial.

The federal government signed an energy partnership with the Gulf state on Friday to reduce dependence on Russian gas. During his visit to Germany, the Emir also wanted to meet Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The sheikh has governed the very rich Gulf state since 2013. When he took over the leadership, he was just 33 years old. Since then he has greatly expanded the influence of the small peninsula. The sports fan brought the soccer World Cup to the country and is an important mediator for the West in dealing with the Taliban. When they seized power in Afghanistan again last summer, the emirate also helped evacuate foreigners and local Afghan workers. At the time, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked Sheikh Tamim for his support.

Despite his moderate demeanor, the Emir is a controversial figure. For example, he is said to have connections to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. A number of neighboring countries led by Saudi Arabia even imposed a complete blockade on Qatar for several years. Egypt also joined. Among other things, the states had accused the emirate of supporting terrorism and having too close ties with Shiite Iran. The conflict was only settled last year with mediation from the United States.

Qatar has also been repeatedly criticized for systematic human rights violations and the exploitation of migrant workers who help build the World Cup stadiums, for example. The government in Doha rejects the allegations and refers to numerous reforms that would have improved the situation of foreign workers. Only around 300,000 locals live in the country – but almost ten times as many foreigners.

Sheikh Tamim was educated in Great Britain and attended, among other things, the famous Sandhurst Military Academy. He then held various positions in the emirate, including as President of the National Olympic Committee and Deputy Chief of the Army. The pious Emir, who always wears a mustache, followed the leadership style of his father and predecessor, Sheikh Hamad.

Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who is now visiting several countries in Europe on his trip, has three wives and twelve children.