Lebanon is just the latest target in a Saudi campaign of intimidation that risks destabilizing the West Asia (Middle East), Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani who is also Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister said at a conference in London.
The minister echoed sentiments by Lebanese politicians that Saad Hariri’s shock resignation as Prime Minister was forced during his time in Riyadh, where he was kept under house arrest before making the announcement.
“Lebanon is a fragile country, and pressuring the Prime Minister to resign and leave a vacuum in a country – which is very sensitive for everybody – is a counter-productive policy,” Al Thani said at a round table discussion.
“This is a big country bullying a small country – we have seen it in Qatar and now we are seeing it repeated in Lebanon.
“Thanks to God and all the allies that contained the situation before it evolved and got worse … If it was not contained from the beginning, we would have a horrific impact.”
Al Thani’s comments came amid the continuing Qatar diplomatic crisis, which escalated after countries led by Saudi Arabia severed relations with and impose a blockade on Doha in June accusing it of funding "terrorism". Qatar has vehemently rejected the allegations as "baseless".
On June 22, the block, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, issued a 13-point list of demands, including the shutdown of Al Jazeera TV, limiting ties with Iran, and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country as a prerequisite to lifting the blockade.
Qatar rejected all the demands, denouncing them as attempts to violate its sovereignty.
“Some countries are just using terrorism as justification for political matters against Qatar - they see this is the only way they can get sympathy…we learnt from the blockade that we have to present our case very clearly and not to ignore any accusation which can be used against us,” the top Qatari diplomat said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said Qatar would not retaliate by cutting of gas supplies to the United Arab Emirates or other Saudi allies, because it “would not use the same approach they have used against our people”.