Saudi, UAE accused of orchestrating Gulf crisis
January 20 2018 12:03 AM


*Sheikh Abdullah says the move was aimed at usurping Qatar's wealth

A controversial member of the Qatari royal family, who was allegedly held against his will in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of orchestrating a months-long Gulf crisis in order to seize Qatar's wealth, Al Jazeera reported.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali al-Thani was previously portrayed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the main opposition figure to the Qatari government amid the major diplomatic dispute.
In an audio recording from January 15 obtained by Al Jazeera, Sheikh Abdullah said he was put under "tremendous pressures" which led him to decide to "put an end to his life".
"The [Gulf] crisis is based on interests and the desire of both Mohamed bin Zayed and Mohamed bin Salman to usurp the wealth and riches of Qatar," he said, referring to the Abu Dhabi and Saudi crown princes, respectively.
"I urge my fellow Qataris to defend your position, beware of them," he added. "They may lure you with money to destroy your own country."
In his audio message, threatening suicide, Sheikh Abdullah said: "Due to the pressures on me, my confinement, and inability to return home (Qatar) or join my family, namely my two daughters, I have decided to end my life with the aim of preventing any harm to others."
Majed al-Ansari, a professor at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera that the recording came as "no surprise".
"We know that [Sheikh Abdullah] has been pressured in the past couple of months," he said. "He hasn't been as visible as he was in the beginning of the crisis, which tells us basically that he wasn't co-operating with his captors."
On January 14, Sheikh Abdullah had released a video statement, saying he was a "prisoner" in the UAE, and that if anything happened to him, "Sheikh Mohamed" is responsible.
While he did not specify, Sheikh Abdullah appeared to be referring to Abu Dhabi's crown prince. On Wednesday, he flew to Kuwait where he was transferred to a hospital shortly after his arrival in a wheelchair.
A day earlier, Abdullah's brother, Sheikh Khalid, told Al Jazeera that his sibling's health had deteriorated due to exhaustion and pressure he was exposed to under Emirati authorities. Sheikh Khalid had added that his brother was in stable condition and should be leaving the hospital soon.
The Saudi-led group of countries accuse Qatar of supporting "terrorism", an allegation Doha strongly denies.

Last updated: January 20 2018 01:05 AM

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