The last few decades have witnessed a significant evolution in international terrorism, characterized by changes in its nature and means. Terrorist groups are now using modern technology and communication to coordinate attacks across borders, and their motivations have shifted from primarily ideological to more diverse ones, such as religious extremism and political grievances.
The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region has been greatly impacted by the War on Terror, which began after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. Direct military intervention by Western powers, led by the United States, in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq has resulted in significant suffering, including the destruction of infrastructure, displacement of people, loss of life, and economic devastation. The War on Terror has also led to the growth of extremist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, who have carried out numerous terrorist attacks in the region, causing further destruction, victims, and destabilization of many countries, including Syria and Yemen.
Several Gulf countries have made significant contributions to countering terrorism. Qatar, for instance, has adopted a multifaceted approach, including cooperating with international partners and implementing national-level initiatives. The country has signed numerous counterterrorism agreements and conventions, including the Global Counterterrorism Forum and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Qatar has also established a National Anti-Terrorism Committee to coordinate counterterrorism efforts within the country and implemented measures to prevent terrorist financing, including laws and regulations to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Furthermore, it has taken steps to prevent the use of its financial system for illicit purposes.
In this conversation with H.E. Dr. Mutlaq Al Qahtani, Qatar’s Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution, shares his experience and insights on Qatar’s distinguished approach and major role in countering terrorism.