Anti-Doha alliance 'planned Qatar invasion' during 2014 Gulf dispute
A Saudi-led anti-Doha alliance had "complete plans" to invade Qatar during a 2014 dispute between Gulf states, the country's foreign minister has claimed.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain deployed troops along the border of the tiny Gulf emirate, Qatar's Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah told national TV on Sunday.
He said they openly planned to invade the country until they eventually pulled back from the frontier.
"In 2013 and 2014, I was an eyewitness to the former Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef withdrawing troops deployed at the border," Attiyah - who was foreign minister at the time - told Qatar TV.
"This is a fact that no one can deny," he said.
The latest bust up between Doha and Riyadh has seen Saudi Arabia lead a bloc of nations again to blockade Qatar.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and other states cut ties with Doha on 5 June and accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and being too close to regional-rival Iran.
Despite the land, air and sea blockade, Qatar's leadership has maintained willingness to engage in dialogue with the opposing parties.
"We in Qatar fear nothing but Allah... [the 2014 invasion threat] were not intentions [but] full detailed plans," he said.
"In Qatar, we have been subjected to severe injustices from an old age, although we always trust our brothers and seek to have our relations based on our principles. We are dealing with others with our principles," he said.
|Our brothers stabbed us during the night in the holy month of Ramadan, how can we ever trust them again? - former Qatari deputy minister|
After a failed coup in 1996, two leaders from the blockading countries said "do not be afraid, another hit will come", the Qatari official said.
Attiyah stressed that the 1996 crisis was similar to the one in 2014 - when Gulf states cut ties with Doha - "but the tactic differed".
He said the 2014 invasion attempt was designed to shock Qatar but "Doha has always insisted its sovereignty is a red line".
Speaking on the current crisis, Attiyah stressed that dialogue is the shortest and easiest way to resolve any dispute.
He said he hoped the blockading countries will listen to reason and respond positively to an invitation Kuwait's Sheikh Sabah al-Jaber al-Sabah to engage in talks.
Earlier this month, Qatar's former deputy prime minister said the blockade on Doha had only strengthened Qatar's resolve.
"Qatar has achieved a real miracle with its handling of the crisis and was able to adapt to it within weeks. They thought they the blockade would lead to the collapse of the Qatari economy," Abdullah bin Hamad al-Atiyyah said in an interview with The New Arab.
"But the opposite has happened, we are thankful for the crisis because we have learned a lot. Qatar will never be the same again even after this is settled. We must rely on ourselves," he said.
He added that the timing of the Saudi-led actions against Qatar were particularly hurtful as they coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"Our brothers stabbed us during the night in the holy month of Ramadan. How can we ever trust them again?"