“The Lekhwiya Force” is the official nickname of Qatar’s Internal Security Forces. Lekhwiya (also sometimes written as Lakhwiya) is a Qatari word that is roughly the equivalent of brothers-in-arms and was originally used to refer to the tribesmen who traditionally provided law and order.
The modern Qatari Internal Security Force (ISF) was established in 2004 and has a fairly wide-ranging law enforcement and public safety remit including:
- Assisting and supporting concern state agencies in maintaining security and stability.
- Responding to terrorist acts and any other acts that may jeopardize internal security.
- Ensuring the safety of dignitaries, leader, and guests of the Qatar.
- Work and coordinate stakeholders to combat smuggling crimes.
- Dealing with riots.
- Securing conferences, meetings and other events.
In executing these duties the ISF often collaborates with other agencies such as the Ministry of Interior, Civil Defence, Coast Guard, and national Police traffic and patrol units.
The ISF Special Operations Group are the guys who get called in to help deal with tough situations and when any other elements of the ISF need support.
The Special Operations Group’s main duties include dealing with riots or occupation / sit-in types of protests; providing security to conferences, sporting events, and state occasions; and securing important facilities and installations in a national emergency. The unit has alos provided humanitarian aid and assistance after natural disasters in Lebanon, Pakistan and Iran.
The mdembers of the Special Operations Group wear the same sky blue beret and blue DPM camouflaged uniform as the rest of the ISF and utilises an impressive armoury of small arms, vehicles air-craft and boats.
Information about the exact nature and extent of their training and capabilities is not in the public domain – specific questions about the number of members in the unit or the size of their budget are met with the response of “we have enough”.