Arabs won’t fall for Saudi ‘brainwashing’ – Qatari FM rejects call to send troops to Syria
The official commented on the remarks of Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir in an interview with France 24 TV on Thursday.
“This statement [by the Saudi Foreign Ministry] is not worthy of an answer. Qatar refutes the brainwashing of the public opinion in the Arab world in such a way,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani said. Riyadh would not be able to manipulate public opinion with such statements since “Arab consciousness is much greater than what they imagine,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Saudi foreign minister issued a thinly-veiled threat to Doha, saying it must “send its military forces [to Syria], before the US president cancels US protection of Qatar, which consists of the presence of a US military base on its territory.” Failure to do so and the withdrawal of the US base from Qatar would result in the Doha government falling “in less than a week,” Jubeir said.
The new Saudi threats against Qatar followed remarks delivered by US President Donald Trump during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. Trump said that the “countries that are in the area, some of which are immensely wealthy,” should replace the US forces in Syria when the US withdraws. The US president reiterated his intent to pull the troops out “as soon as possible.”
“They [the wealthy states of the region] wouldn’t last a week. We’re protecting them,” Trump stated, urging them to “step up and pay for what’s happening.”
Qatar is currently housing the largest US military compound in the Middle East. Al-Ubeid base has been the center of the US-led operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). However, Qatar’s army is one of the smallest in the region, with only around 12,000 active servicemen.
Doha and Riyadh were engaged in a bitter row in June of last year, when Saudi Arabia and its allies – the UAE, Egypt, and Yemen – accused Doha of “supporting terrorism” and severed the diplomatic ties with the nation. Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar have seemingly calmed down since then, as the Qatari military took part in the joint Gulf Shield war games earlier this month.
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