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Qatar Leads Anti-Corruption Efforts in the Middle East

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder (Left) meeting with Dr. Ali bin Fetais Al Marri (Right).

In February 2001, the then Vice President Al Gore hosted the first Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity in Washington DC. He did this in partnership with: the G-8, the United Nations, the OECD, the OAS, the European Union, NGOs including Transparency International, and other organizations – like the Global Coalition for Africa, involved in the global war against corruption. Corruption is a complex economic, political, and social challenge that threatens democracy, sustainable development, the rule of law, the welfare and health of people worldwide. Its destructive influence extends to the spread of transnational organized crime, terrorism, and other illicit areas that pose threats to societies’ security and well-being.

The influence of corruption is a particular challenge in many areas around the world, including the Middle East. The United States has partnered with the Gulf nation of Qatar in promoting the rule of law and strengthening the fight against corruption. One of the notable Qatari figures in this partnership against corruption is Dr. Ali bin Fetais Al Marri, who is the Qatar Attorney General and UNODC Regional Advocate on the Prevention of Corruption. Dr. Al Marri is also a member of the United Nations Law Commission and the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Rule of Law and Anti- Corruption Center in Doha and Geneva (ROLACC).

In 2009, Dr. Al Marri partnered with the then Attorney General Eric Holder in hosting the sixth Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity in the Qatari capital, Doha. Three years later, Attorney General Holder also joined Dr. Al Marri and other international counterparts in Doha to launch the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery. The goal of the forum was to reaffirm commitment to the Asset Recovery Action Plan developed under the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition.

Another area of close partnership between the United States and Qatar is the fight against terrorism, with emphasis on terrorist financing. As an active participant in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Qatar is an operative in all Defeat-ISIS Coalition working groups and facilitated United States military operations in the region. It hosts roughly 10,000 United States service members on two military installations critical to Coalition efforts. The United States and Qatar continued to increase Counter-Terrorism partnership in 2019, building on the progress made after the United States Secretary of State and Qatari Foreign Minister signed a CT MOU in July 2017.

Technical assistance offered by the United States to Qatari law enforcement and judicial agencies increased during 2019. The US Departments of: Justice, State and Treasury, along with the FBI, led or participated in several capacity-building initiatives involving: the MOI, the ISF, the SSB, the Public Prosecution, the Central Bank, and other Qatari agencies. A DOJ resident legal advisor has been stationed in Qatar since April 2018, providing technical assistance to Qatar’s CT efforts and building prosecutorial capacity. At the US-Qatar Counter-Terrorism Dialogue in November 2019, the two governments declared their fulfillment of the MOU predominantly complete and committed to set shared priorities for 2020.

During the past 15 years, Dr. Al Marri and multiple Senior US officials have held meetings to further strengthen the partnership between the two countries in various fields such as combating corruption and counter terrorism efforts. The most recent visit was by the State Department Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism ambassador, Nathan A. Sales. He discussed with Dr. Al Marri issues of common interest and ways to enhance cooperation between Qatar and the US, specifically in the fields of combating terrorist financing and money laundering going forward.

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