Category: International Relations

West Virginia National Guard to Partner with Qatar

19 April 2018 – West Virginia’s National Guard has been selected to partner with Qatar as part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.

The United States and Qatar enjoy a strategic defense alliance, and Al-Udeid Airbase in Qatar is the largest overseas U.S. military facility in the world, with over 10,000 active service members.

Al-Udeid is the logistics, command, and basing hub for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) FORWARD as well as the home of U.S. Special Operations Command Central Command (SOCCENT) and U.S. Forces Central Command (AFCENT).

The NGB State Partnership Program has been successfully building relationships for over 20 years that includes 73 unique security partnerships involving 79 nations around the globe. SPP links a unique component of the Department of Defense – a state’s National Guard – with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship.

The Governor met with HH the Emir to discuss the new partnership:

“Gov. Jim Justice met with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani last week to discuss myriad opportunities between the state, the WVNG, and Qatar for future military, economic development, agricultural, and cultural endeavors, among other things. The Governor and the Emir immediately developed a relationship and recognized the significant opportunity for a partnership together.”

“Gov. Justice looks forward to the West Virginia National Guard taking a lead role in West Virginia developing a long and enduring partnership with Qatar.”

Through the partnership with Qatar, the WVNG will seek to increase military and diplomatic cooperation, develop and expand defense capabilities and mutually beneficial training interactions. In addition, the two entities will work to increase interoperability of forces and deter and disrupt criminal and terrorist activities in the region.

Mike Hall, Governor Justice’s Chief of Staff said of the announcement

“We fully expect the Qatar-West Virginia partnership to play a major role in promoting peace and stability in the region.”

The U.S.-Qatar defense relationship does in fact play a vital role in regional stability and American national security:

American forces wage tens of thousands of aerial sorties against extremist groups from the safety and operational security of the strategically positioned Qatar Peninsula. The short flight time from Al-Udeid Air Base to enemy positions in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan enable American airpower to stage assaults with minimal preparation time.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently praised the strategic alliance’s successful history:

“Qatar and the United States maintain excellent military-to-military relations. We are grateful to Qatar for their longstanding support of America’s present and continuing commitment to regional security, a commitment that includes information sharing and counterterrorism training.”

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia also met with Qatari Minister of Defense, Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah to discuss the partnership:

 
 

 
 

The West Virginia National Guard Partnership will be an important part of the strategic defense relationship, increasing the trust, interoperability, and mission success of each country’s fighting forces.

 

 

 

 

(Cover Image Source: WVNews – Gov. Jim Justice)

 

Fact Sheet: Preserving Security in the Region

Fact Sheet: Combatting Extremism at its Source

 

 

 

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Mohammed Barakat discusses US-Qatar Economic Partnership on the John Fredericks Show

On April 13, The John Fredericks Show covered the Qatar business roadshow in Miami. Fredericks spoke with Mohammed Barakat, the Managing Director of the U.S.-Qatar Business Council.

“It’s… fascinating the amount of business that the U.S. does with the government of Qatar, which is not on anybody’s radar screen. It’s like the best kept secret in America.” -John Fredericks

Barakat and Fredericks discussed the scope and details of the U.S.’s economic relationship with Qatar. Barakat discussed the scope of the trade between Qatar and the U.S. and the substantial number of jobs created.

“The total jobs that Qatari investment into the United States has created just recently is about one million jobs… Creating a million jobs is nothing to sneeze at.” -John Fredericks

“The orders between Qatar Airways and American aircraft manufacturing is keeping major, major cities where they have these factories alive and growing… Every $1 billion of exports will actually contribute to 5,744 jobs in the United States.” -Mohammed Barakat

Mohammed Barakat noted that the strength of Qatari internet infrastructure and economic development made Qatar a uniquely desirable site for establishing new business.

“[In] Qatar, almost 98% of the country is covered with fiber optics – you can set up anyplace high speed or ultra-high speed internet in many places. You have free zones… available for you to establish a company or offices, you can hire skilled employees from anyplace in the world.” -Mohammed Barakat

 

 

John Fredericks Show with Mohammed Barakat

 

 

 

 

READ THE LATEST QATAR NEWS

 

 

 

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President Trump Meets With Qatari Amir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani

 

Meeting Transcript

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  It’s a great honor to have the Amir of Qatar with us.  He’s a friend of mine — knew him long before I entered the world of politics.  He’s a great gentleman.  He’s very popular in his country.  His people love him.  We’re working on unity in that part of the Middle East, and I think it’s working out very well.  There are a lot of good things happening.

Also, we have a gentleman, on my right, who buys a lot of equipment from us.  A lot of purchases in the United States, and a lot of military airplanes, missiles — lots of different things.  But they’ve been great friends in so many ways.  We’re working very well together, and I think it’s working out extremely well.

So, Amir, thank you very much for being here.  Appreciate it.

AMIR AL THANI:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.

AMIR AL THANI:  I’m very happy and honored to be here, and thanks for this invitation.  Our relationship between Qatar and the United States has been more than 45 years.  It’s a very strong, solid relationship.  Our economic partnership is more than $125 billion, and our aim and goal is to double it in the next coming years.

Our military cooperation is very solid, very strong.  As everybody know, that the heart of fighting terrorism is from Al Udeid Base.  And, thank God, it’s been a very successful campaign against the terrorist groups around our region.

Lately, before I come here, I was in Tampa.  I visited the CENTCOM, and we met with the generals.  And it was a very important visit, and it shows how strong our cooperation is between the armed forces.

Of course, we speak today and we see the suffering of the Syrian people.  And me and the President, we see eye to eye that this matter has to stop immediately.  We cannot tolerate — with a war criminal, we cannot tolerate with someone who killed more than half a million of his own people.  And this matter should end immediately.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you.  And Tamim and I have been working for a number of years now — actually, even before the fact — on terrorism.  And we’re making sure that terrorism funding is stopped in the countries that we are really related to — because I feel related.  But those countries are stopping the funding of terrorism, and that includes UAE; it includes Saudi Arabia; it includes Qatar and others.

A lot of countries were funding terrorism and we’re stopping it.  It’s getting stopped and fast.  Very important.  And you’ve now become a very big advocate, and we appreciate that.

AMIR AL THANI:  Thank you, President.  I want to make something very clear, Mr. President:  We do not and we will not tolerate with people who fund terrorism.  We’ve been cooperating with the United States of America to stop funding terrorism around the region.  We do not tolerate with people who support and fund terrorism.

I would like to also thank the President for him being involved personally in solving the GCC crisis.  He’s been very helpful.  He’s been supporting us during this blockade.  And I would like to also thank the American people for being very supportive.  And his role is very vital to end this crisis in our region.

Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

END

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INTERPA Conference Kicks Off in Doha

On April 2, the Qatari Prime Minister, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani witnessed the opening of the seventh Conference of the International Association of Police Academies and Colleges (INTERPA) in Doha. The three-day conference, titled “New Trends in Combating Terrorism and Extremism,” is being attended by multiple senior Qatari security leaders and INTERPA President Yilmaz Colak, as well as researchers, academics, and security professionals. The conference covers a variety of security topics, including political violence, terrorism, crowd control, and rehabilitation and reintegration programs.

 

Speeches at the INTERPA conference focused heavily on regional and international security cooperation in the form of information-sharing, training, and promotion of best practices. In addition to speeches, multiple security officials and researchers presented academic papers at the conference on topics related to new security and counterterrorism trends. Some of the topics presented on included how computer networks influence terrorist and counterterrorist activity, how the radicalization process has changed in the information age, the psychology of radicalization, and the role of families in counterterrorism.

 

(Source Image: Ministry of Interior – Qatar)

 

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Qatar Fund for Development Assists Mosul Reconstruction

Qatar’s Fund for Development (QFFD) recently signed an agreement that would provide a $3 million grant to assist in the rebuilding of Mosul’s (and surrounding regions’) water handling capacity, infrastructure, and safety. It will be administered in conjunction with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Qatar Red Crescent.

The agreement was signed by the Executive Director of QFFD, Misfer bin Hamad Al Shahwani and UNICEF’s regional director to the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere. The grant is aimed at rebuilding water infrastructure and increasing women and children’s access to adequate and safe water services.

The grant will improve water sanitation and hygiene facilities in area schools and develop a Water Safety Plan for the region. Additionally, it serves to strengthen in the administration and capacity of the Water Directorate in the governorate of Nineveh to provide water resources to the wider region.The grant is part of Qatar’s broader commitment to rebuild Iraq. After a global donor conference, Qatar agreed to donate $1 billion to help Iraq in rebuilding out of a total $30 billion pledged by regional neighboring states.

Director Al Shahwani stated:

“The project also aims at providing children and their families with access to adequate and safe water services, and access to sanitation services in health and education facilities. In addition, it is designed to strengthen the role of the Water Directorate in Nineveh Governorate and build on its capacity to provide integrated water resources”

 

UNICEF Regional Director added:

“The generous contribution from Qatar Development Fund is critical for UNICEF’s efforts to assist children in Iraq, allowing us to increase access to clean water and improve water and sanitation facilities, including in schools and communities affected by the violence in the country”

 

 

 

FACT SHEET: COMBATTING EXTREMISM AT ITS SOURCE

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Human Rights in the Gulf: A Conversation with Dr. Ali Smaikh al-Marri

The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) hosted the chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Dr. Ali Smaikh al-Marri. The NHRC was established in 2002 and functions as an independent non-governmental organization. The committee was accredited and awarded an “A” status by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (ICC).

The discussion was moderated by QAI’s Executive Director, Paul Hamill. The discussion focused on two main issues: the impact that the GCC blockade has had on the rights of Qatari citizens and the work being done by the Qatari government to ensure the rights of migrant workers in Qatar.

 

Human Rights Violations due to Blockade

Dr. Ali al-Marri highlighted the extent to which the Qatari population has been impacted by the blockade imposed on Qatar by neighboring GCC countries. He expressed that since the imposition of the blockade, his organization had received over 4000 complaints by Qatari citizens in regard to their rights being violated.

Dr. al-Marri also expressed that due to the blockade, families were being separated, property rights were being infringed upon, and freedom of movement had been severely impacted. Dr. al-Marri also highlighted the findings from the recent report published by the UN Human Rights Commission. The report concluded that as a result of the blockade the rights of Qatari citizens and residents were being violated.

 

 

 

 

Migrant Rights

Dr. Ali al-Marri highlighted that his organization, as early as 2004, had been urging the Qatari government to improve the status of migrant rights in the nation. He stated that as a result of both internal and international pressure, the state implemented drastic reforms and has made remarkable strides in improving the lives of migrants and curtailing the violation of migrant rights.

 

 

 

Q&A

Dr. Ali al-Marri addressed multiple questions from the audience regarding the status of Women’s Rights, the involvement of the US in the GCC crisis, and his organization’s firm commitment to preserving & enhancing the state of Human Rights in Qatar.

 

 

 

 

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Qatar’s Foreign Minister Addresses UN Human Rights Council

Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, addressed the 37th regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva addressing the blockade imposed on Qatar and human rights violations in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.

He called, “upon the Human Rights Council and all its mechanism bodies to take up their responsibilities and stop the unilateral measures taken by some states against the population of Qatar and put an end to this racist course of action.”

The dispute between Qatar and regional states began in June of last year over unfounded allegations of supporting “terrorism.”  In November 2017, the UNHCR released a report addressing the human cost of the blockade. The report concluded that the blockade violates human rights.

The FM stated that, “Victims must be compensated and perpetrators be held accountable.”

FM Sheikh Mohammed also called on the international community to end the violence and killing of civilians in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. As of Feb. 18, the day bombardment began, 550 civilians have been killed so far.

The FM specifically stated that, “There is a legal and moral responsibility of the international community to find a solution of the Syrian conflict based on the UN resolutions.”

 

 

FACT SHEET: CEASING THE ILLEGAL BLOCKADE

FACT SHEET: COMBATTING EXTREMISM AT ITS SOURCE

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Upholding Diplomacy in the Face of Regional Conflict

Munich Security Conference 2018 – HH The Emir of Qatar’s Opening Statement

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, addressed a distinguished audience of global leaders and organizations in Munich. At the Munich Security Conference, the Emir addressed several issues that have the potential to threaten both regional security in the Middle East and international security as a whole:

He stressed that although the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria is coming to an end, “the real battle, laying the foundation for peaceful coexistence, has yet to begin.”

Sheikh Tamim praised the model of conflict resolution pursued by European nations through the European Union:

He specifically stated that, “We can mirror efforts of the European Union, its ability to find common ground to rebuild and prosper.” The emir stressed the need for a regional organization in the Middle East that has the capacity to work through fundamental differences in order to alleviate the suffering of peoples that currently exists in countries such as Yemen and Syria.

The emir specifically stressed that extremist ideologies are not specific to the Middle East or any one particular religion. He stated that a continued pattern of state failures has perpetuated the injustices and suffering of peoples in the region. This, the Emir stated, has laid the groundwork for extremism in the region and has allowed it to flourish.

Additionally, the emir praised his nation’s resilience in the face of “a futile crisis manufactured by [regional] neighbors, some of whom are major regional players, once believed to be stabilizing factors on the world stage.”

He added that, “by diffusing the impact of the illegal and aggressive measures imposed on [his] people, Qatar preserved its sovereignty.” He stressed that even small states, employing diplomacy and economic planning, can counter external pressures from larger states.

The Emir stressed that in the face of regional tensions with neighboring GCC countries, Qatar has maintained its initial stance of pursuing diplomacy rather than pursuing reactionary counter measures. He stated that despite the intensity of regional pressure and a complete naval, air, and land blockade the state of Qatar has not missed one shipment of its primary export, Liquefied Natural Gas.

 

 

“Fact Sheet: Ceasing The Illegal Blockade”

“Fact Sheet: Combatting Extremism At Its Source”

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A Bilateral Consensus: Shared Values Between Qatar & the U.S.

Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States, Sheikh Meshal Hamad Al-Thani shared his views on the John Fredericks Show live from the Embassy of Qatar in Washington D.C.

The ambassador discussed and highlighted several key views regarding the bilateral relationship between Qatar and the United States. The ambassador stated that he wanted to celebrate the 45 years of relations that the two states enjoy and expressed his desire to strengthen the three main pillars of the relationship: Military Cooperation, Economic Interests, and Shared Political and Cultural Values.

Additional topics that Ambassador Al-Thani was asked about dealt with the origin of the current political conflict between Qatar and other GCC nations and the way forward. The ambassador stated that Qatar is willing to come to the negotiating table and desires to deescalate the situation, given that the nation’s independence is non-negotiable. He highlighted that unity within the GCC was paramount in combatting terrorism and ensuring continued stability within the region.

 

Military Cooperation

The main topic discussed regarding military cooperation was the recent Strategic Dialogue that was hosted by both Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Mattis, along with their Qatari counterparts, Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Defense Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah.

The ambassador highlighted the fact that 11,000 U.S. soldiers were stationed in the largest foreign American military base (Al-Udeid military base) that is home to US CENTCOM headquarters. Following Saudi requests to have the previous military base moved in 2003, Qatar gladly opened its doors and took part in funding the creation of the base. The ambassador also stated that in response to President Trump’s desire for allies to share the burden, Qatar has decided to expand the military base and continues to actively conduct counter terrorism operations in conjunction with American personnel.

 

Economic Interests

Ambassador Al Thani highlighted the government of Qatar’s commitment to invest $45 billion in America’s infrastructure, firms, and jobs and shared recent economic developments between the two states. He highlighted the recent $80 billion agreement between Boeing and Qatar Airways to acquire additional civilian aircraft to be used by the airline. Furthermore, he shared the nation’s desire to acquire an additional twenty-four F-15’s for the Qatari Air Force. This past June, Qatar and the U.S. signed a $12 billion agreement that would provide 72 of the aircraft to the Qatari military.

 

Shared Political & Cultural Values

 John Fredrick highlighted the fact that major American universities (Georgetown, Cornell, North Western, Texas A & M, et. al.) were present in Qatar and that a majority of the American population was not aware of this aspect. The ambassador responded that Qatar admires and shares American values and because of this chose to partner with American universities in order to promote American culture, both domestically and within the region.

The ambassador stressed that American values regarding education are crucial in combatting extremism. He highlighted the fact that admission to these universities is not only reserved for Qatari’s and American’s, but open to any resident of the region.

 

 

FACT SHEET: THE U.S. – QATAR STRATEGIC DIALOGUE

 

FACT SHEET: A BEACON FOR ACADEMIA – QATAR’S EDUCATION CITY

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Key Quotes On Qatar

Key Quotes on Qatar

“We are grateful to Qatar for their longstanding support of America’s present and continuing commitment to regional security, a commitment that includes information sharing and counterterrorism training… a united Gulf Cooperation Council bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts, particularly on countering terrorism, defeating ISIS/Daesh, and countering the spread of Iran’s malign influence. It is thus critical that the GCC recovers its cohesion as the proud Gulf nations return to mutual support through a peaceful resolution that provides for enhanced regional stability and prosperity.”

 Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense

“As a result of the memorandum of understanding our countries signed in July, the United States and Qatar have increased information sharing on terrorists and terrorist financiers. We have participated in counterterrorism technical training and taken steps to improve aviation security. We look forward to building on this foundation and implementing next steps.”

 Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State

“As the Gulf dispute nears the eight-month mark, the United States remains as concerned today as we were at its outset. This dispute has had direct negative consequences economically and militarily for those involved, as well as the United States. We are concerned by the rhetoric and propaganda employed in the region, playing out daily in Arab mainstream and social media. It is critical that all parties minimize rhetoric, exercise restraint to avoid further escalation, and work toward a resolution. A united GCC bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts, particularly on counterterror – countering terrorism, defeating ISIS, and countering the spread of Iran’s malign influence.”

 Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State

I think as a follow-on to our trip over there last week, there has been some, I think, positive movement. The Qataris have continued to move forward on the MOU that the U.S. and Qatar entered into to address many of the terrorism, terror financing, counterterrorism concerns that people have, and they have been very aggressive in implementing that agreement. So we’re – I think we’re satisfied with the effort they’re putting forth. I think they also have indicated a willingness to sit with the four parties and negotiate, discuss the demands. I think they have indicated they think it’s important that the sovereignty and dignity of all five countries be respected in those discussions.

And so what – I hope the four countries will consider as a sign of good faith lifting this land blockade, which is really having the most, I think, negative effects on the Qatari people. And that would be a good – I think a good sign if the four countries would do that. And I’m hopeful they’ll consider that seriously.

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State (21 July 2017)

The base in Qatar is critical. It is the headquarters of the United States Central Command – that’s the four-star headquarters – it has responsibility for US military operations from Egypt to Pakistan, it also what we call our command air operations center which really is the nerve center for all our aviation operations which again extends from Egypt to Pakistan – it’s a very critical base.

General Joseph F. Dunford  Jr. USMC, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (22 July 2017)

I applaud the leadership of his highness the emir of Qatar for being the first to respond to President Trump’s challenge at the Riyadh Summit to stop the funding of terrorism.

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State (11 July 2017)

 

The agreement which we both have signed on behalf of our governments represents weeks of intensive discussions between experts and reinvigorates the spirit of the Riyadh summit. The memorandum lays out a series of steps that each country will take in coming months and years to interrupt and disable terror financing flows and intensify counter terrorism activities globally. Together the United States and Qatar will do more to track down funding sources, will do more to collaborate and share information and will do more to keep the region … safe.

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State (11 July 2017)

 

Our partners should remember that Qatar – at our request – welcomed delegations from the Taliban and Hamas, and that Qatar is now home to our military headquarters for our operations throughout the Middle East.

David Petraeus, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency, Former US CENTCOM Commander (03 July 2017)

 

As for the countries that accuse Qatar of financing terrorism, they have the same problems as Qatar, more so, they are on top of the list in that area,” he said. “There are financial institutes in these countries involved in financing terrorist organization and financing terrorist operations in western countries.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, Foreign Minister of Qatar (02 July 2017)

 

The United States supports and highly values Kuwait’s efforts to mediate the dispute among Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We share the view that there is a strong need to resolve this dispute as soon as possible through diplomatic dialogue.

Lawrence Silverman, US Ambassador to Kuwait (02 July 2017)

 

Qatar FMInternational law should not be violated and there is a border which should not be crossed. Regarding the demands and our position, we have been from the beginning very clear on this. We are not going to accept anything that infringes on our sovereignty or anything that is imposed on Qatar.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, Foreign Minister of Qatar (01 July 2017)

 

The longer the crisis around Qatar continues, the deeper and stronger the lines of conflict will become. We hope that there soon can be direct discussion among all those involved because a further escalation will serve no one.

Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister for Foreign Affairs (27 June 2017)

 

Behind the smokescreen, we believe that the blockading nations are seeking to isolate and punish Qatar for our independence and to retaliate against us for supporting the true aspirations of the Arab people.

Meshal Hamad Al Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States (11 June 2017)

 

We’ve had good cooperation from all the parties to make sure that we can continue to move freely in and out of Qatar, where we have both an important air base, as well as the headquarters for the United States Central Command.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman (13 June 2017)

 

I believe that (Qatar’s) Prince Thani inherited a difficult, very tough situation, and he’s trying to turn the society in the right direction.

Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense (13 June 2017)

 

I think this incident has proven really that Qatar is a reliable source of energy. Given whatever happened in the last week or two weeks, you know Qatar petroleum has issued a statement just yesterday, clarifying and making sure that people are aware that all the shipments, everything that we have in hydrocarbon and energy sector is working smoothly. We have not missed a single shipment during this time and we have been doing this for the last 20 years so this is as I said that’s still business as usual in the oil and gas industries.

Ali Shareef Al Emadi, Qatar Minister of Finance (12 June 2017)

 

We continue to be grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support for our presence and their enduring commitment to regional security.

Captain Jeff Davis, Pentagon Spokesman (06 June)

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