ABU DHABI ø Qatar has stepped up training of its security forces following threats of an Al Qaida-inspired attack.
Gulf Arab diplomatic sources said the training of the Emiri Guard Command has been facilitated by the
United States, which maintains a significant military presence in the
In 2003, Qatar was plunged into the regional Islamic insurgency when an
Al Qaida-inspired Chechen leader was assassinated in Doha. Two Russian
security officers were arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
The Emiri Guard Command has been responsible for the protection of
Qatar's royal family and political leadership, Middle East Newsline reported. The command has ordered an
electronic warfare system to protect the emir's personal jet against
enemy heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles.
"The training seeks to form an indigenous Qatari force that can respond
to a range of terrorist scenarios," a Gulf Arab source said. "The very
relaxed attitude that this country had toward security has ended."
Qatar has been one of several Gulf
Cooperation Council states that intensified training of its security
forces in 2004 amid the threat of Islamic insurgency attack.
The sources said the intensified Qatar training began about a year ago
amid an alert of an Al Qaida plot in GCC states. They said Qatar increased
monitoring of its foreign Muslim labor force, particularly those from
On July 18, the Qatari Armed Forces demonstrated their new skills during
an exercise to mark the graduation of 29 cadets. The cadets completed a
15-week basic training course in security and protection of VIPs.
Qatari officials said the training at the Al Husseinia shooting range
included weapons use, detection of explosives and booby-traps, wireless
transmission and the use of helicopters in search and rescue operations.
They said several units of the military and security forces participated in
the course, conducted by the Emiri Guard Command.
A Qatari government statement said the demonstration simulated an
operation to rescue a VIP motorcade from an ambush. The statement said that
within seconds a special team counter-attacked and secured the convoy.
[In an unrelated development, Yemen said it has defeated the Shi'ite
insurgency in the north, which began on June 18 near the Saudi border and
led by former parliamentarian Hussein Badreddin Al Houthi. Yemeni military
forces were said to have captured the last insurgency strongholds on
In Saudi Arabia, authorities announced the capture of a leading Al Qaida
insurgent. The insurgent was identified as Fares Ahmed Jamaan Al Zahrani,
No. 11 on a list of the 26 most wanted fugitives sought by the Interior
Ministry. Only 11 insurgents on the list still remain at large.