Former Qatari PM’s bombshell on Syria revisited
The former Qatari prime minister’s bombshell in a recent interview with the Financial Times largely went unnoticed but Arab observers are calling for explanations about the Saudi role in the Syria crisis.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani suggested that the 2012 crisis in Syria, which has claimed about 400,000 lives so far, was a political game and not a revolution as claimed by the West and its allies.
The London-based tycoon who still maintains close links with current Qatari rulers blamed Saudi Arabia for the worsening situation after the US gave the green light to the kingdom to intervene in Syria.
“I will tell you one thing and that is maybe the first time I say this: when we started being involved in Syria we had a green light that Qatar would lead this because Saudi Arabia didn’t at that time want to lead,” Sheikh Hamad said.
“After that there was a change in policy and Saudi Arabia didn’t inform us that they wanted us in the back seat. We ended up competing and it was not healthy,” he added in the FT interview published on April 15.
According to the paper, the Persian Gulf Arab countries’ Syria policy is closely associated with Sheikh Hamad, who was often seen as relishing the rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The FT reporter pushes him on another debacle in Libya, pointing out that the same policies were followed in the African country, where Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have backed opposing sides in the war.