Qatar’s defiant defence minister, Khaled Al-Attiyah said the country was prepared to defend itself if necessary, amid ongoing political escalations in the Gulf.
Qatar is prepared to defend itself if necessary, Qatar’s Minister of State for National Defence Khaled al-Attiyah said in an interview with Sky News on Sunday night.
“I hope we do not reach the stage of military intervention, but we are always on the alert … We are ready to defend our country,” he said, warning that Qatar has historically proved that it is not an easy country to “swallow”.
Speaking on the day of the deadline set by a Saudi-led bloc, al-Attiyah said the demands imposed “are considered an infringement on the sovereignty of the country,” noting that Qatar feels that it was “stabbed in the back” by its neighbouring Arab brothers.
The defence minister also said the Saudi-led bloc is attempting to seek regime change in Qatar.
“In 1996, there was a violent coup attempt, and in 2014 there was a soft coup attempt, and in 2017 there is a soft coup attempt,” he said, adding that a coup attempt is “is exactly what happened.”
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade following a crackdown. On 23 June, they sent via Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator between the conflicting nations, a list of 13 demands to Qatar.
Their demands include Doha ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the closure of Al-Jazeera television, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate.
Qatar appeared defiant but ready for “further dialogue” on Monday as it handed its response to the demands, after Saudi Arabia and its allies extended the 10-day deadline for Doha to accept the demands by 48 hours.
The extension was in response to a request by the Kuwaiti emir.