'Gulf crisis was created to take FIFA World Cup away from Qatar'
October 10 2017 12:39 AM
Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan, head of Dubai Security
Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan, head of Dubai Security

Doha

*Confession by a top Emirati official unmasks hidden agenda of siege nations

A top Emirati security official has said the only way for the Gulf crisis to end is for Qatar to give up hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, his comments coming amid the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Doha and four other Arab countries.

Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan, head of Dubai Security tweeted on Sunday: "If the World Cup leaves Qatar, the crisis will go away ... because the crisis is created to break it."

Observers have pointed out that this was the most explicit confirmation of the blockading countries' hostile attitude towards Qatar's ambitious efforts to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

They also said Lt. Gen Khalfan's remarks were an open confession that the siege nations fabricated the present crisis with a view to making things difficult for Qatar to organise the World Cup.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all cut diplomatic ties and began a boycott of Qatar on June 5 , over allegations that Doha supports extremists and has warm ties to Iran.

Qatar has long denied funding extremists and restored full diplomatic ties with Iran.

"The cat is now out of the bag," a Doha-based observer said, adding "a person like Khalfan could not keep the secret for long and his words have now unmasked the hidden agenda of the siege nations". The Emirati official is known in the region for his outspoken tweets.

Several analysts had opined that one of the underlying reasons for the Gulf crisis was 'unadulterated envy' that sprang from the failure of the blockading nations to live up to the expectations of their own peoples and the incredible progress that Qatar has made in the last two decades. "Winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup was a huge achievement for Qatar and some countries found it hard to digest," they added.

In the last few days, lobbying firms backed by the four nations opposing Qatar in the diplomatic dispute have been increasingly targeting the upcoming soccer competition in their criticism. Khalfan's confession followed the surge in the attack by the public relations agencies employed by the siege nations.

The tournament had not come up in the demands previously made by the boycotting countries. Qatar has earmarked about $200 bn for infrastructure projects in preparation for hosting the Fifa world cup.

After realising that his tweet has come under massive attack for his candid confession of the siege nations fabricating the Gulf crisis to deprive Qatar of the opportunity to host the most prestigious sport event on planet Earth, Khalfan returned to Twitter yesterday night to write that his tweets were his 'personal analysis'.

"My personal analysis of the financial pressure Doha faces in hosting the games had been misunderstood," he explained.

As the crisis has dragged on despite mediation by Kuwait, the United States and European nations, Qatar's opponents have begun targeting its hosting of the FIFA cup. They've pointed to allegations of corruption surrounding Qatar's winning bid, as well as the conditions that labourers working in Qatar face in building infrastructure for the games.

However, FIFA ethics investigators found that there was no "evidence of any improper activity by the bid team".

Asked about Khalfan's comments, FIFA said : "We do not comment on speculation."

Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee, the body responsible for organising the tournament said last week the boycott poses "no risk" to the competition being held.

"We are aiming to make sure that this World Cup leaves a legacy for the people of the Middle East (and) is an opportunity to transform our region towards a sustainable and stable future," he said.



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