Qatar rejects war on Iran as rift with Saudi widens
In a new turn of events, which has been construed as sign of a deepening rift between Doha and Riyadh, Qatar has flatly rejected the idea of taking part in a military conflict against Iran, with the Arab country’s defense minister highlighting that Doha will not “fuel a war” in the Persian Gulf region.
Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah, who also serves as the deputy prime minister, told an international security conference in Singapore on Sunday that Qatar would not be dragged into any conflict of that nature.
“Is it wise to call the United States and to call Israel to go and fight Iran? … Whether any third party is trying to push the region or some country in the region to start a war in Iran, this will be very dangerous,” the Qatari minister stated.
“Everyone should keep holding on to this and advance with this. In my own judgment, I think the United States is wiser than to enter in a war with Iran.”
The minister did not name any party but he could have been referring to Saudi Arabia, which has also led a blockade of Qatar with its Persian Gulf allies since June last year.
The assertion by Qatar’s top defense official has been seen by analysts as the continuation of a crisis in Doha’s relations with a Saudi-led group of regional Arab countries that cut off their diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, after officially accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism.”
Another excuse used by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates for cutting the ties was Doha’s close relations with Tehran.
Since that time, the Saudi-led group has been enforcing various restrictive measures, including economic sanctions, against Qatar while giving it a list of their demands to be met before the relations could be normalized.
Qatar has done none of these. Instead it has responded defiantly by dismissing the charges and courting new diplomatic and trading links.
The Qatar-based news network and TV channel al- Jazeera said in a report on Sunday that people living in Qatar were unlikely to forget the neighbors willing to lend a hand when they needed it most.