Sunday, August 8, 2010

State Department: US "Strives for Increased Cooperation" with Qatar on Counterterrorism

The State Department has issued its annual terrorism report. As with most government reports of this nature, there is much to be read between the lines (and much, much more that will never be read at all), though perhaps it is noteworthy in this instance that the State Department kicks things off by suggesting frustration with Qatar's cooperation on certain terrorism issues, specifically the all-important "information sharing." That notwithstanding, the account (pasted below) cites some positive developments, and is blessedly short on bad happenings.


While Qatar and the United States cooperated on some counterterrorism issues, the United States continued to strive for increased cooperation – and particularly information sharing – with the Qatari government. There has not been a terrorist attack in Qatar since the March 19, 2005 suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack at an amateur theater playhouse that killed a British citizen. Cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities continued to improve during and after the investigation of this case. Press reports indicated that up to 19 people of various nationalities, including one Qatari, were apprehended during the ensuing investigation. There were no reports of criminal prosecution in the case; however, many of the third country nationals who were apprehended were deported subsequent to the investigation.

The Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities was responsible for overseeing all domestic and international charitable activities, including approving international fund transfers by charities and monitoring overseas charitable, development, and humanitarian projects. The Authority reports annually to Qatari government ministries on their oversight and humanitarian activities.

Cooperation with U.S. authorities on counterterrorist finance continued to develop. Qatar’s Financial Information Unit (FIU) resides in the Qatar Central Bank. Local banks worked with the Central Bank and the FIU on counterterrorist finance and anti-money laundering issues.

Qatar was one of two countries in the Gulf with an attorney general independent of the Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Justice and equivalent to a ministerial level position. The Attorney General independently controlled and oversaw public prosecutions and appointed attorneys within the Public Prosecutors Office.

The United States provided law enforcement and counterterrorism training under various programs. Exchanges and training have had helped sustain a good relationship with Qatari law enforcement agencies and improved their counterterrorism capabilities.

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