Former Germany foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said if the Gulf crisis escalated in 2017 Qatar could have faced military invasion.
“I know in what situation we were in those days and I think everybody should be happy that there was no further escalation,” Gabriel told Al Jazeera.
“I don’t know if they had real plans [to invade Qatar] but our experience is that, step by step during an escalation of a conflict, that at the end it could end in military conflict and our US colleagues had the same feeling. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that it was dangerous and we succeeded with all our partners, with Qatar as well as with the Emirates and the Saudis, to de-escalate,” he added.
Gabriel said former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson worked hard “to avoid the escalation of the Gulf crisis to the extent of military conflict”.
In September 2017, the British newspaper the Times revealed that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “on the verge of war” against Qatar if President Donald Trump, who persuaded Riyadh to abandon plans, had not intervened.
The newspaper said that Trump persuaded Saudi Arabia not to engage in war with Qatar, under the pretext that “such a step would serve only Iran”.
GCC members Saudi, the UAE and Bahrain launched an air, sea and land blockade on neighbouring Gulf state Qatar in June 2017. The four states accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and cosying up to regional foe Iran. Doha denies the charges and says the boycott aims to curtail its sovereignty.