Qatar: Saudi Arabia is 'promoting regime change'

Qatar: Saudi Arabia is 'promoting regime change'
2 min read
18 October, 2017
Qatari foreign minister accuses Saudi Arabia of 'bringing back the dark ages' through its dispute with Qatar.
Sheikh Mohammed said that the Saudi-led blockade is harming the fight against IS [AFP]

Qatar's foreign minister on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia of attempting to engineer "regime change" in Qatar through its four-month blockade of the Gulf state.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told US broadcaster CNBC that Riyadh is attempting to topple Qatar's government.

"We see [Saudi] government officials talking about regime change... We see a country that is bringing back the dark ages of tribes and putting them together in order to create a pressure on connected tribes in Qatar," he said.

Since June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have been locked in a diplomatic dispute with Qatar, who the Arab states accuse of supporting terrorism.

The crisis has seen an ongoing blockade imposed on Qatar by the four states, who also issued a now-retracted list of demands on Doha to end the dispute.

Sheikh Mohammed said that the blockade aims to "disrespect and bully" Qatar rather than combat alleged support for terrorism.

"It is nothing to do with stopping financing terrorism or hate speech while they are doing the same by promoting incitement against my country, promoting a regime change in my country," he told CNBC.

He added that the punitive action taken against Qatar has hindered coalition efforts against the Islamic State group.

Qatar is home to the Middle East's largest US military base, where over 11,000 soldiers are stationed.

Due to the current airspace blockade, however, Qatari aircraft providing support to the US-led coalition against IS have had to use alternative routes.

In Bahrain, Qatari army officers involved in anti-IS campaigns were recently expelled from a US military base.