Qatar calls UN to back arming Syrian opposition, no-fly zone
A Qatari top-level government official calls the United Nations to provide an international, legal umbrella for a no-fly zone on Syria and accept financial-military support to the opposition members
Ahram Online, Agencies , Friday 12 Oct 2012
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (Photo: Reuters)
The Qatar Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khaled bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah urged the United Nations on Friday to approve providing the Syrian opposition with financial and military supplies, as well as examining possibilities of imposing a no-fly zone on the war-torn state to protect civilians.
During his visit to the Japanese capital Tokyo, Al-Attiyah pointed out that the Qatari support to the opposition groups had basically encompassed food and medicine during the 19-month uprising against the ruling regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.
The Syrian-Qatari relations are currently witnessing severe deterioration due to the anti-Assad position adopted by the government in Doha.
The website of Qatar-based satellite news network Al Jazeera was apparently hacked in September by Syrian government loyalists for what they said was the television channel's support for the "armed terrorist groups and spreading lies and fabricated news".
A Syrian flag and statement denouncing Al Jazeera's "positions against the Syrian people and government" were posted on the Arabic site of the channel in response to its coverage of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad which began in March last year.
"They suddenly saw money in their hands after a long period of poverty and think they can buy history and play a regional role," Al- Assad told Al-Ahram al-Arabi, which put excerpts from the interview on its website, accusing Qatar of arming the opposition.
Assad said Qatar "uses the power of money and revolves in the orbit of the West by providing weapons and money to terrorists to repeat the scenario of Libya," where Muammar Gaddafi's regime was toppled in a bloody revolt last year.
"The Qataris were the quickest to fuel the violence," he said.
The emir of Qatar, on the other hand, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani called for an Arab intervention force to be sent to Syria to halt the escalating conflict during his visit to the UN General Assembly in September.
"It is better for Arab countries themselves to intervene out of their humanitarian, political and military duties and do what is necessary to stop the bloodshed," al-Thani told the General Assembly.