FOCUS – Morocco to deploy cyber security experts to Qatar during 2022 World Cup (NEWS)

Qatar, the first country in the Middle East to host the Football World Cup, has joined various nations regarding security aspects in the wake of the major sporting event.

Multiple media reported on Saturday that Morocco would have agreed to deploy a team of cyber security experts to Qatar during the 2022 Football World Cup.

Qatar has requested Morocco’s help to secure the major sporting event, according to Qatari site Doha News, indicating that the Director General of National Security (DGSN) chief Abdeltif Hammouchi was present in Doha on Friday. Organized the International Homeland Security and Civil Defense Exhibition 2022 (MILIPOL).

+ “Qatar and Morocco plan to develop their judicial cooperation” +

The same source said senior Qatari officials who met Hammouchi included Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani and Director of Public Security Saad bin Jassim Khulaifi.

Moroccan officials also visited Lusail Stadium, where the 2022 World Cup final is to take place, to visit the command post of the reserve rooms and cyber security facilities for security monitoring of the stadium.

+ Other security collaborations

Qatar has also partnered with other countries on security issues, including Turkey, France and the United Kingdom.

Last year, Turkey confirmed that it would send some 3,000 elements of its riot police units to Qatar for the World Cup, after talks with Qatari authorities that took place since 2017.

According to Doha News, Ankara has indicated that it may increase the number of officers with a general coordinator of Turkish law enforcement, 40 security advisers and sniffer dogs.

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For their part, the French armed forces agreed last year to send security personnel and equipment to Qatar, including a Basalt anti-drone system to help detect and identify incoming drones.

According to Doha News, France has announced that it will send one of its Air Force’s four E-3F Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), which can monitor hundreds of targets.

Last year there were also meetings between Qatari and British defense officials who discussed security at the major global sporting event. Both the countries also conducted joint exercise “Watan” to test the security preparedness for the World Cup.

On Saturday, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the Telegraph that Britain’s Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy would provide anti-terrorism police to Qatar for the duration of the World Cup.

Wallace told British media that the Allied states would “join forces to police the air in the sky”.

“I am delighted that our joint squadron with the Qatari Typhoon Air Force will patrol the airspace during the tournament,” he said.

+ Morocco-Qatar relations

Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhnouch visited Qatar last February.

The visit coincided with the 8th session of the Qatar-Morocco Joint Higher Committee and significant Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed.

The MoUs cover the areas of Islamic trade as well as tourism and trade cooperation. The visit came after a meeting between Qatari and Moroccan officials regarding expanding judicial cooperation.

With 80 Moroccan companies operating in Qatar in several sectors, including hospitality and fashion, trade remains an important element in the relationship between the two countries. Bilateral trade experienced a significant growth of QAR 754 million (over 2.044 billion dirhams) in 2021 as against QR 330 million (over 813.467 million dirhams) in 2017.

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Diplomatic ties between Qatar and Morocco were also strengthened during the Gulf Council crisis in 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a land blockade in Qatar, claiming it supports terrorism.

Rabat offered to mediate between the countries of the region, while maintaining a neutral position. Qatari media Doha News concludes that they offered to send food to Qatar “in accordance with Islamic precepts that call for solidarity and mutual assistance among Muslim peoples”.

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