Morocco is lending police and spies to help Qatar manage security at the 2022 World Cup

By Soufiane Khabbachi
Posted on Monday, 6 June 2022 13:48

Abdellatif Hammouchi, head of Morocco's DGSN-DGST unit, visited the stadium where the 2022 World Cup final will be held in Doha (rights reserved)

For the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar, a cooperation agreement has been signed between the host country and Morocco, which provides for the sending of several thousand agents to help manage security.

Preparations for the next World Cup, which will take place from 21 November to 18 December in Qatar, have entered their final stretch. According to projections, the country, which has a population of less than 3 million, is expected to welcome around 1.5 million fans, a flow of people equivalent to 50% of its population.

A real logistical challenge, therefore, but also a security one. Doha is throwing serious resources at the problem, and multiplying partnership agreements. The Qatari authorities have asked Morocco for support in terms of intelligence and security.

A Moroccan police delegation took part in a conference dubbed ‘The last mile of the Qatar FIFA-2022 World Cup’, which was held on 22 and 23 May in Doha, and which brought together the security representatives of the 32 qualified countries. The summit resulted in the creation of an ‘International Police Cooperation Centre’, which will act as a platform to facilitate the exchange of information between Qatar and the participating countries on issues related to fan management and the supervision of police operations.

Policing, dog-handling, close protection

The first bases of cooperation were laid as early as 2020, during a working meeting between a Qatari delegation and the Moroccan General Directorate of National Security (DGSN), with the aim of establishing the exact potential of mobilisation of human resources, as well as their nature. According to our information, the fields of action retained are policing, dog-handling police and close protection.

Although the national press estimated a figure of about 6,000 men, a senior Moroccan security source, who confirmed the mobilisation of Moroccan agents, remained evasive about their exact number, only mentioning “several thousand” units.

The Qatari delegation benefitted from a seminar organised at the Royal Institute of Police in Kenitra. The topics discussed included “the security arrangements necessary for the organisation of matches according to Fifa standards, the supervision of the public and the fight against peri-sport violence, crowd management, the close protection of high-level personalities and the management of police reinforcements deployed in the security arrangements”, the same source said.

In addition, the second semi-final of the CAF Champions League that was held on 13 May in Morocco provided an opportunity for Qatar to inquire, in detail, about the various security arrangements deployed by the kingdom. Casablanca hosted the match between the Moroccan team (Wydad Athletic Club) and the Angolan team (Atletico Petroleos de Luanda).

Abdellatif Hammouchi in Doha

As proof of the smooth running of operations between the two parties, the head of the DGSN and the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST), Abdellatif Hammouchi, visited Qatar from 24 to 26 May. According to our source, the “first cop of the kingdom” participated in the 14th edition of Milipol Qatar, an international event organised by security professionals. During his visit, he also inspected several sports facilities.

This multiplication of security partnerships comes at a time when a controversy has arisen over revelations made by Amnesty International in April 2022 concerning local security agents, with the NGO comparing the latter’s mission to “forced labour”, given their conditions of exercise.

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