Qatar said Wednesday it has a legal process to challenge a blockade imposed by four Arab states since last year.
In June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.
“We have already begun moving internationally to seek arbitration or [go to] international courts or UN institutions” to end the blockade, foreign ministry spokeswoman Lulwah al-Khater said in a press conference.
“All options are available for us,” she said.
The statements came following a report issued by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that documented “violations” by the blockade states.
The report suggested that the measures taken to impose blockade are much more than a diplomatic tension but a well-planned economic warfare against Doha.
Saudi’s crown prince creates personal ‘Blackwater’ army
Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has created a specially trained 5,000-strong army called “Al-Saif Al-Ajrab,” with help from U.S. mercenary company Blackwater, according to a report by the Saudi-based news websites Sabq and Al-Marsad.A 5,000 strong forceThe force, which is comprised from 5,000 soldiers, was created under the orders of King Salman bin Abdulaziz who acceded to the throne in 2015.Fighters in Bin Salman’s force are handpicked after undergoing high-level military training and answer directly to the crown prince.The brigade, which acts as Salman’s own private army, derives its name from the sword used by the founder of the second Kingdom King Turky bin Abdullah bin Muhammed al-Saud. The Arabic Al-Saif al-Ajrab roughly translates to “the sword that has been rusted with blood.”Cooperation with UAEAfter King Salman bin Abdulaziz acceded to the throne in 2015, a close cooperation between Riyadh and the UAE developed, and a special force consisting of mercenaries was created.The force, which was created with help from Eric Prince, the founder of the mercenary company Blackwater, plays an active role in Yemen.It is said that the idea behind creating a special force that is directly linked to the Saudi Crown Prince was hatched following a meeting between Mohammed bin Salman and his close friend UAE’s Prince Zayed.Force used during the ‘princes operation’Following the operation that detained princes from the ruling Saudi family in November last year, several news stories surfaced reporting that former Blackwater workers were part of the special security force that carried out Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman’s operation.Additionally, it is said that the Al-Ajrab brigade was also part of the operation that resulted in the arrest of influential ruling family members such as the former National Guard Minister Prince Muteab bin Abdullah and Prince Waleed bin Talal, among many others.‘UAE, Saudi played role in assassination of Syrian opposition leaders’Eleven Saudi princes detained following protest
‘UAE, Saudi played role in assassination of Syrian opposition leaders’
The UAE is said to be behind a wave of assassinations that targeted the most prominent anti-U.S. Syrian opposition leaders between 2014- 2015, which paved the way for Daesh and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists to advance in opposition-held territories.After obtaining information about the whereabouts of the opposition leaders via its intelligence services, the UAE then passed on these tips to the Assad regime which carried out attacks that killed Jaysh al-Islam commander Zahran Alloush, Ahrar Al-Sham leader Hassan Abboud and 45 high-ranking group members, according to Abu Ali, a member of the opposition group.An attack that killed all leaders of Ahrar Al-ShamZahran Alloush, who was the leader of one of the biggest opposition groups in Syria, Jaysh al-Islam, was martyred on Dec. 25, 2015 following an airstrike on Eastern Ghouta.Ahrar al-Sham leader Hasan Abboud was martyred along with 45 high-ranking members of the prominent opposition groups following a chemical attack that targeted a meeting in their Idlib headquarters on Sept. 9, 2014.According to information divulged by Abu Ali, who served in the Islamic Front for two years between 2014- 2016, the UAE played a role in these assassinations, betraying Syria’s opposition with help from Saudi intelligence.Saudi roleAbu Ali stressed that Saudi Arabia initially played a crucial role in supporting the opposition against the Assad regime through a Saudi intelligence colonel named Abul Kassim who assumed an influential position during that stage. “Commander Alloush’s only communication device was a satellite phone that was given to him by the Saudis, who used it to track his movements before the attack that killed him was carried out,” said Abu Ali.“Following investigations carried out after the attack, it was revealed that UAE first pinpointed his position and then UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah Zayed tipped Bashar Assad’s brother Maher Al-Assad about his whereabouts,” he continued.“We also know that Muhammed Bin Zayed and his brother Abdullah played a role in the 2014 massacre of the Ahrar Al-Sham Emir Hassan Abboud and 45 of his friends,” concluded Abu Ali.Israel knew of the attack“Since 2015, we began to understand more clearly that some groups that were our allies during the war had a different goal. “After 2015, we also saw that some of the information we shared with some of our allies had reached Israel. We learned that information shared with us about the location of Alloush, among other confidential topics, had also reached Israel.“After the assassination, the cooperation between Israel, UAE, Russia and the Assad regime in the killing of Alloush became clear,” pointed out Abu Ali.PKK/Daesh brought to the scene“During the period that saw Ahrar Al-Sham become the target of sabotage, the PKK/PYD and Daesh terror groups were simultaneously becoming more active. That was the beginning of the decline of the resistance front. The phase of assassination and sabotage also began with the martyring of Liwa Al-Tawhid leader Abdulkadir Saleh in Aleppo’s Madraset al-Mashahd,” concluded Abu Ali.The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.Turkey-backed National Army formed in SyriaUS attempts to incite Syria’s Arab tribes against Turkish Army
The spokeswoman said the OHCHR would be used by Doha in the legal process against the blockade.
She voiced hope that the blockade states would engage in dialogue to help resolve the conflict.
The four states have threatened Qatar with additional sanctions if it failed to meet a list of demands, including one for the closure of broadcaster Al Jazeera.
Qatar, however, refused to comply, denying the accusations against it and describing the Saudi-led embargo as a “breach of its national sovereignty”.
None of the blockade states has yet commented on Doha’s statements on the OHCHR report, however, they have asserted that their moves target the Qatari government not citizens.