Counter-Terrorism: The Cleansing

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October 1, 2008:  A significant advance in battling terrorism has been the declining corruption in some Moslem countries. The most recent Transparency International Corruption Perception Index saw Qatar (in the Persian Gulf) moved up to 28th place (tied with Spain) and a rating of 6.5. Last year, Qatar had a rating of 6.0. The highest rating is 9.3 (Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden), while the lowest is 1.0 (Somalia, although Iraq and Myanmar had 1.3 ratings.)

These ratings are achieved by surveying local business people. The Transparency International poll is a largely voluntary effort, that has been around since 1995. It is accurate enough to be used for risk management analysis (an essential tool for banks, exporters and potential investors).

Qatar is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf with 1.5 million people and lots of oil (and the highest per-capita income in the world). It's also an absolute monarchy, and the king is eager to turn the country into a banking and commercial center. He knows the oil won't last forever. So the instituted a program to suppress corrupt practices and encourage honest business and government operations. Partly because the Qataris are so well off financially, the program is working. Old customs die hard, but arrest, prosecution and prison awaits those who oppose the king.

Qatar also gave women the vote (some government officials are elected), and more equal treatment in legal and commercial transactions. This has been condemned by Islamic conservatives, as has the kings support of American military operations in the region. There has only been one terrorist bombing (in 2005, by an Egyptian worker) in Qatar since September 11, 2001.

 


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