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Al-Attiyah to Asharq Al-Awsat: Qatar will join Ground Operations if Riyadh Requests That - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Khalid Al-Attiyah

Khalid Al-Attiyah

The Qatari Minister of State for Defence Khalid Al-Attiyah confirmed his country’s preparedness for ground intervention in Syria “side by side” with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “if Riyadh requested that”. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Qatar’s position is a “foregone conclusion”, and Qatar has said since October last year that if the Syrian people requested protection in the form of ground intervention, it would fulfil the request.

Al- Attiyah’s remarks coincided with the arrival of the first Arab and Islamic armed forces willing to participate in the “Thunder of the North” exercise which will be launched on the 26th of February and will last two weeks, at the King Khalid Military City in Hafr Al-Batin, north east Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia confirmed yesterday that the “Thunder of the North” exercise will involve 20 countries in addition to the Peninsula Shield forces.

Meanwhile, the Saudi foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir announced yesterday that Switzerland has offered to take care of Saudi interests in Iran and added that Riyadh “appreciates that” and “accepted this limited role, in order to facilitate the procedures for Iranian pilgrims to perform the rites of Hajj and Umrah (the major and minor pilgrimages)”.

Al-Jubeir called on America and Russia to use their influence in the Syrian crisis and talk to the Syrian regime about humanitarian aid and stopping military strikes on innocent people and civilians. He continued by saying that when the “Syrian problem began years ago, Assad made use of shabihas (armed militia in support of the Ba’ath Party government of Syria) to kill children, rape women, kill innocents and destroy houses. He was not able to control his people so he sought help from his army and failed- he therefore sought help from the Iranians who sent the Revolutionary Guards and he failed in that also. Finally, he sought the help of Russia and Moscow will fail to save Assad”.