Qatari Defence Minister: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain had planned to ‘occupy’ Qatar before the blockade

The plan involved Saudi troops crossing the land border into Qatar and military support from the UAE, proceeding 100km inland, and seizing the Qatari capital.

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Qatar’s Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah

The Qatari Defence Minister Khalid al-Attiyah has alleged that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain had a two-phase plan to occupy Qatar before the blockade.

“There is intelligence evidence documented by heads of states that proves a planned military invasion of the State of Qatar,” Attiyah stated in an Al Jazeera documentary broadcast on Sunday.

“This plan was set into two phases, imposing the siege to create an overall state of panic, which would have a direct impact on the Qatari street, then executing a military invasion,” the minister said.

“There was a premeditated intention for an invasion, not just a siege.

Moreover, the minister said US President Donald Trump backed down from supporting the Saudi-led siege after recognizing the facts and a broader perspective.

How the former US Secretary of State helped prevent the occupation of Qatar.

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

According to the investigative news outlet The Intercept, former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was a key figure in preventing Qatar’s occupation that may have played a key role in his dismissal.

The plan involved Saudi troops crossing the land border into Qatar and military support from the UAE, proceeding 100km inland, and seizing the Qatari capital.

Moreover, the attack would have involved Saudi forces circumventing the Al Udeid Air Base, home to the US Air Force Central Command and around 10,000 American troops, to seize Doha.

The United States’ Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. (Master Sergeant Andrew J. Mosele)

After Tillerson was informed of the plan by Qatari intelligence officials, he pressed Saudi Arabia’s King Salman not to execute the attack and encouraged Defense Secretary James Mattis to explain the dangers of such an attack invasion to his counterparts in the kingdom.

Tillerson’s pressure caused the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), to back down, concerned that the invasion would harm Saudi Arabia’s long-term relationship with the US.

Saudi de facto ruler and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images)

However, Tillerson’s intervention reportedly enraged The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ), subsequently lobbying the White House for Tillerson’s removal.

Abu Dhabi crown prince, and the UAE’s de facto ruler, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ)

Since 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE have imposed a blockade on Qatar. The Saudi-led coalition said it launched the blockade against Doha in a bid to stem Qatar’s alleged support of terrorism in the region – a charge that Qatar has denied.

Saudi-led bloc ‘wanted to occupy Qatar’ – Qatari defence minister

Did the Saudi-led bloc plan to occupy Qatar? Qatari Defence Minister Khalid al Attiyah says that was the case.

Posted by TRT World on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

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