Qatar would be introducing national service for women for the first time with immediate effect, under a new law issued by the Gulf nation’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The nation has also extended the time served in the military by recruited men. While women aged over 18 will now be able to volunteer for national service under the law, men will have to serve for a year instead of three months.
It is the first time that women have been allowed to undertake national service, although some women already serve in the military in administrative roles.
It is not, however, yet known what roles women volunteering for national service would undertake.
• While the national service is compulsory for Qatari men aged between 18 and 35, for women it would be voluntary.
• The new law also allows for a National Service Academy to be established and states that men must apply for the service within 60 days of turning 18.
• Anyone caught trying to avoid military service could face up to three years in jail and a fine of up to 50,000 Qatari riyals.
• The decision to amend the rules comes at a time when Qatar is in the centre of a deepening diplomatic Gulf crisis.
• Since June 5, 2017, other Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt have cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding and supporting Islamist extremists and fostering ties with Iran.
• Qatar, which rejects the accusations, has conspicuously signed several military contracts with countries including the United States, France, Italy and Britain since the beginning of the crisis.