The Gulf States and Egypt planned to attack Qatar before imposing their blockade in 2017, a senior Qatari official revealed in an Al Jazeera documentary broadcast on Sunday.
“There is intelligence evidence documented by heads of states that proves a planned military invasion of the State of Qatar,” said Defence Minister Khalid Bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah.
The minister explained the details of the crisis between the Saudi-led alliance and Qatar immediately prior to the start of the siege. He said that US President Donald Trump backed down from supporting the Saudi-led siege after he recognised the facts and a wider perspective.
“There is a strategic alliance between the US and Qatar based on mutual respect and common interests,” Al-Attiyah pointed out.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Doha in mid-2017 and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the country over allegations of supporting terrorism and meddling in the internal affairs of other states. Qatar has denied these charges consistently and has reiterated several times that it is open to dialogue aiming to end the crisis.
In 2017, Trump sided initially with the Saudi-led coalition. Then he backtracked and praised Qatar’s efforts to combat terrorism, calling Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani a “friend of mine”.
According to David Schenker, the US State Department’s top official for the Middle East, the blockade could end within weeks. “I don’t want to get into the whole diplomacy in it but there is some movement. I would like to say that it’s going to be a matter of weeks,” he said earlier this month.