Qatar Rejects Normalising Ties with 'Criminal' Assad

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Qatar's foreign minister ruled out on Monday the possibility of re-opening an embassy in Damascus, in line with some other Gulf countries, calling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a war criminal.

"Normalisation (of relations) with the Syrian regime at this stage is the normalisation of a person involved in war crimes, and this should not be acceptable," said Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani at a Doha press conference.

Al-Thani said the reasons why Assad -- who was elected unopposed in 2000 and has stayed in power during nearly eight years of civil war -- was excluded from the international community are still in place.

He added that Damascus under Assad should not be allowed back into the Arab League -- its membership was suspended in 2011 -- as "the Syrian people are still under bombardment... by the Syrian regime".

His comments come after Gulf neighbours the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced late last month they reopened their Damascus embassies.

The UAE's foreign minister Anwar Gargash tweeted that his country was doing so in part because of the influence of Iran and one of Qatar's strongest allies, Turkey, in Syria.

Tehran has been a staunch supporter of Assad's government and has expanded its military footprint in Syria throughout the course of the conflict.

That move also emphasised the foreign policy differences between the three Gulf states.

For the past 19 months Qatar has been in a deep diplomatic dispute with the UAE and Bahrain, in part over the direction of Doha's regional foreign policy in recent years.

Qatar has been instrumental in the Syrian civil war supplying weapons to rebel groups, according to institutions such as the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Syria's opposition leader Nasr al-Hariri has pleaded with Arab leaders not to rebuild relation with Assad as his government now controls almost two-thirds of the country following military backing from Russia and Iran.

Comments 7
Thumb s.o.s 14 January 2019, 13:58

Qatar supports Iran and Turkey.... last time I checked Erdo and Khamenei were no better than Bashar, both are mass murdering ethnic minorities. Can't wait for the 2022 World Cup to be cancelled.

Thumb chrisrushlau 14 January 2019, 17:02

Qatar is representing the belief that Arab glory consists in Arabs' ability to communicate telepathically with their leaders, so that democracy is not necessary. In fact, democracy is a grave insult to Arabs, said Qatar's Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera explains the seeming contradiction in its support for democracy in non-Sunni states as follows, "Everybody knows that if you're not a Sunni, you're not really an Arab." It made no reference to non-Arab states and their basis for legitimacy. Qatar's Ministry of Truth denounced Al Jazeera's remarks as an attack on the dignity of the Emir, El Secondo. El Secondo's younger brother, Junior, runs Al Jazeera. AFP says democracy could break out in the Arab world any minute if something isn't done.

Thumb whyaskwhy 14 January 2019, 21:37

As usual I see you have been dipping into the free samples from Kizballas fire sale....what does democracy have to do with any Islamic driven country in the middle east ya Abbas or even Iran?

Missing mohammad_ca 14 January 2019, 19:58

Comparing Erdogan to ASSad is unfair and crazy

Missing mohammad_ca 15 January 2019, 03:15

Again comparing Erdogan To ASSad is wilful stupidity in your part.

Thumb liberty 15 January 2019, 05:45

There are 250,000 turks in jail as a result of the so called coupe. Erdogan proved he is a tyrant and a dictator.

Thumb whyaskwhy 14 January 2019, 21:40

Qatar is at another stumbling block it helped create and now has no clue how to fix. They came to money quickly and had plans of grandeur without any experience they got into a global conflict and now they seem to be reminded by the world how insignificant they truly are.