Saudi-led bloc 'called-off Qatar military action after Trump warning'

Saudi-led bloc 'called off military action against Qatar after Trump warning'
2 min read
20 September, 2017
A Saudi-led bloc considered taking military action against Qatar at the start of a diplomatic crisis with the country before US President Donald Trump urged for calm.
The White House was initially sympathetic to allegations against Qatar [Getty]

A Saudi-led bloc considered taking military action against Qatar at the start of a diplomatic crisis with the country before US President Donald Trump urged for calm, sources close to Trump have claimed.

Two unnamed sources told Bloomberg in a report published on Tuesday that the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates called off any aggression against Doha after Trump advised them it would trigger a greater crisis in the region.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Saudi-led bloc wanted to remove Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani from power.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of bankrolling Islamist extremists and being too close to Iran - Doha has denied the charges.

For more than 100 days Qatar has been subject to a boycott from the bloc that has shut Qatar's only land border, denied airspace to its national airline and suspended maritime links.

Reports of proposed military action against Doha during the early stages of the blockade have recently emerged.

Earlier this month, the emir of Kuwait said during a press conference with Trump that the threat of war against Qatar had been neutralised.

"What is important is that we have stopped any military action," Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who has been mediating the Gulf dispute, said.

The Saudi-led bloc later issued a statement, denying that a military option had been considered.

A recent email purportedly sent by the Emirati ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, revealed that Saudi Arabia came close to "conquering" Qatar in 2015.

Trump predicted a rapid end to the diplomatic and economic standoff between Qatar and its neighbours on Tuesday, during a meeting with the country's emir at UN headquarters.

Trump was initially sympathetic to allegations that Doha has been too cosy with proscribed groups, but the rest of the administration have been wary that Gulf disunity has only created an opening for Iran to expand its influence in the region.