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Monday, May 10, 2021

Qatari men report for first day of mandatory national service

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Qatar’s first batch of recruits began their first day of mandatory national service training this morning at a temporary camp in Al Shamal.

The 2,000 enrollees were drafted into the military to be taught how to use certain types of weapons and military vehicles, after Qatar’s Emir signed legislation last month governing a new conscription law.

Under the new legislation, Qatari men between the ages of 18 and 35 years old must train with the country’s armed forces for three to four months.

The passage of Law No. 5 of 2014 came a month after the Ministry of Defense first began signing up trainees, and outlines tough penalties for those who try to dodge service.

Many in the local community have expressed enthusiastic support for the new legislation, saying it would infuse discipline into the young male population.

Other Qataris have called it “collective punishment” and complained of a confusing enlisting system.

Minister of State for Defense Maj. General Hamad bin Ali Al-Attiyah was quoted last month as saying that the service would help make Qataris “ideal citizens” and that there would be no exceptions, state news agency QNA reported.

However, since then, delays have been granted to students. And exemptions were okayed for graduates of military colleges, officials holding military ranks and men who are found physically unfit or are their families’ sole breadwinners.

First impressions

Speaking to Doha News, conscript Abdul Aziz Al Bakri, who is in the first batch of trainees, stated that “despite today’s overwhelming support, we weren’t pushed as we should have been.”

Al Bakri mentioned that today’s training comprised of an introduction to the daily schedule, routine exercises and familiarization with the camp and its surroundings.

On Twitter, recruits also shared details about their simple meals, required supplies and the fact that they had to get buzz cuts.

Screenshot 2014-04-01 18.06.29

According to a tweet posted by a recruiter, conscripts are required to stay permanently on camp premises for the first six weeks, and would then be allowed to leave on weekends only.

Reaction

Meanwhile, the larger Qatari community expressed enthusiasm as the conscription law took effect.

Under the hashtag #الخدمة_الوطنية_قطر (national service), several locals on Twitter said they saw today’s event as a golden opportunity for Qataris to serve their country with a new sense of patriotism and discipline.

https://twitter.com/shtbyy/status/450935964631044097

https://twitter.com/ayshaalkuwari/status/450707742777286656/

Translation: “And tomorrow, a new (brick) is added to the rest, giving a true meaning to patriotism.”

Translation: “Qatar’s national service is a pride for every participant and strengthens the meaning of loving a country and is an expression of cohesion between the citizens and their leaders.”

A similar sentiment was echoed in interviews that Al Rayyan TV conducted last week:

At the time, conscript Yehia Al-Nuami told the channel:

“We need a culture of discipline, camaraderie and obedience. I believe we are in great need of that at the moment.”

However, several Qatari females have expressed feeling left out of the equation. On Twitter, some suggested that national service be made mandatory for them as well.

Translation: “I call for all those holding the Qatari document and sons of Qatari mothers to join the national service. Our sons and daughters are all part of this country.”

Female locals are currently not required to enroll in the program, but may be subject to compulsory service starting next year, said Major General Mubarak Mohammad Al Kumait Al Khayarin, Commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force and Head of National Service, according to QNA.

Al Khayarin added however, that women would not have to pursue military training, but instead be assigned social, cultural and medical roles.

Meanwhile, in response to an April Fools’ Day fake news story by ILoveQatar.net stating that expats would also be required to enlist in Qatar’s Armed Forces – and could be awarded iPhones or No Objection Certificates (not both), several residents said they would be interested in doing so (to varying degrees of seriousness):

Law details

Qatari recruits will be required to train in the military for at least three months if they are college graduates, and four months if they have high school diplomas or have dropped out of school.

As for those who are currently employed, they would continue to receive their full salary while serving in the armed forces, and those without jobs would be paid an amount that has yet to be determined, Al Khayarin previously said.

According to the Gulf Times, once the training period is finished, nationals would be subject to two phases of reserves. The first would continue for around five to 10 years, with the recall period being no longer than 14 days.

The second reserve phase would last until the recruit becomes 40 years old, with the length of service depending on demand.

Thoughts?

15 COMMENTS

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sadam
sadam
7 years ago

as an expat ..i would really love to volunteer..

A_qtr
A_qtr
7 years ago
Reply to  sadam

lol what happened to your original comment… not so sadam-ish of you

sadam
sadam
7 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

i’ve been a reservist in my native country, this ain’t a real-military-300ish-getting-thrashed-by-your-drill-sergeant camp. it’s more like a Fitness camp disguised as a military camp; they’ve come up with an idea to make it mandatory to all its male citizens to stay fit and be disciplined.which is actually a good thing.

Huzz
Huzz
7 years ago

With all this new hardware turning up in a few years I would give it a go. Flying something would be cool.

greg
greg
7 years ago

“Other Qataris have called it “collective punishment” and complained of a confusing enlisting system.”
Solution: All men go to the army

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
7 years ago

Who trained the trainers? The top left picture and the
screen grab from the video have two uniformed service members with their hands
in their pockets! Sorry, but it’s all in the details!!!!

MarkDoha
MarkDoha
7 years ago

Full credit to HH, this is a bold and positive initiative. He’s a Sandhurst graduate, so knows the discipline and self-control this will instil in Qatar’s young men.

Mr. B
7 years ago

This is a key stage in the development of a nation-state. If done right, armed forces can break traditions of tribalism, nepotism, and their accompanying corruptions and make a far more efficient state. Military service is a great equalizer. If done wrong, however, it can reinforce and entrench those traits if, for example, only people with the right connections or names are allowed to be in the higher ranks.

It’d be interesting to see if Doha News can find out more about how the soldiers are trained and the daily routines they have.

BBCA
BBCA
7 years ago
Reply to  Mr. B

3 months? Having a hard time understanding how that is effective. There is not much tactical knowlege that can be gained in 3 months in addition to all the “Spoon and fork” lessons that should be learned in military service.

Net-guy
Net-guy
7 years ago
Reply to  BBCA

The Qatar Emir has started a great service for his country.

Duty, Honor, Country.

As Mr.B mentions, the effect stands to be really great if done right.

Yes for a traditional military, 3-4 months is not enough. However, this seems to fall into a category of the military that is very similiar to a National Guard. Where initial training may last only a few months, the follow on or “weekend warrior” would keep it enforced.

Time will tell, how the Qatari military works out the “kinks” and the lessons learned as they move into a new era.

I wish the best of luck to the new recuits and the veterans that will train them.

BBCA
BBCA
7 years ago
Reply to  Net-guy

Cool thought. you know in all honesty I truly do wish the best for these guys. Their population is so few that I want to see them take this military service seriously. There is something to be said about a nation that takes pride in defending its own sovereignty. Trust only goes so far when you are paying other to protect with is truly only valued by yourself. Qatar is a wonderful example of what some westerners who know nothing of the Arab world should be introduced to. I just want to see the desire from them to protect what they have built. 3 months seemed like more of an inconvenience to them driving their Land Cruiser to the mall like a mad man. If they are in fact doing the one weekend a month and 2 weeks a year thing seriously there after their 3 months initiation then that would definitley render more respect from me.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.

Collective conditions to make sure the citizens are loyal to the leaders. Nation states have been adopting this practise for the last 2000 years.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
7 years ago

Is this why the roads were so calm this morning?

DB
DB
7 years ago

No wonder the roads seemed safer this morning.

BBCA
BBCA
7 years ago

Hahahahah! I’m still laughing. This is still a joke! 3 months? LOL!

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