Saudi-led alliance waging 'bloodless war' against Doha, says Qatar defence minister

Saudi-led alliance waging 'bloodless war' against Doha, says Qatar defence minister
2 min read
30 June, 2017
The defence minister of Qatar has said that Saudi Arabia and its allies are waging a "bloodless war" against Doha by imposing a harsh economic and political embargo.
Attiyah will meet with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara on Friday [Getty]

Saudi Arabia and its allies are waging a "bloodless war" against Doha by imposing a harsh economic and political embargo, the defence minister of Qatar has said.

Khaled bin Mohammed al-Attiyah made the comments to The New Arab on Friday ahead of a meeting with Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik.

"The countries imposing the blockade have declared a bloodless war. What else do you call closing land, sea and air borders to harm people and damage the social fabric of the Gulf?" Attiyah said.

"Not even cattle and camels have been spared from this oppression," he said, referring to thousands of Qatari-owned livestock stranded on the closed border with Saudi Arabia.

Speaking about a recent trip to Washington, in which he signed a multi-billion deal for the purchase of F-15 fighter jets, Attiyah said that Qatari-US relations were "strategic and focused on combating terrorism".

He said that it was "completely unthinkable" that the US would shut down the Al Udeid military base in the emirate.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain announced the suspension of political, economic and diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing the emirate of supporting extremist groups – an accusation Doha strongly denies.

Attiyah will meet with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara on Friday, as Turkey resists pressure to shutter a military base in the emirate's unresolved row with Gulf neighbours.

Ankara has set up a military base in Qatar that is set to give Turkey a new foothold in the Gulf.

"Relations between Qatar and its brothers in Turkey are historical and continuous," Attiyah said, adding that the number of soldiers that will be deployed to the base "depends on the type and size of the joint exercises and tasks".

A bill was fast-tracked through the Turkish parliament this month as the crisis broke out giving Ankara a mandate to send up to several thousand troops to the base.

An initial contingent of 23 soldiers and five armoured vehicles arrived in Qatar on June 22.

Last week Riyadh and its allies issued 13 demands to Qatar, including the shutdown of the Turkish military base, or face further sanctions.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit back at the Saudi-led demands, saying that asking for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Qatar was a "disrespect to Turkey."

Turkey has also provided food and other aid via hundreds of planes and a cargo ship, although Ankara's attempts to mediate between the sides have so far come to nothing.