Qatar’s former deputy prime minister, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, has accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of preparing to invade Qatar with own army of mercenaries, according to Spanish daily ABC.
Attiyah said that the UAE hired a “Blackwater-linked” security company to train thousands of mercenaries to overthrow the Qatari emir. The alleged goal of the move was to put in power a ruler subservient to the Saudi-led bloc.
The UAE allegedly started preparing this operation even before Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt started their diplomatic campaign against Qatar and imposed sanctions on the country accusing it of supportint “extremism”.
The UAE reportedly failed to implement its plan because US President Donald Trump rejected it when it was submited for consideration to him.
The New Arab website provided more details on the issue (source):
An unnamed official source told the daily that the soldiers for hire were trained at Emirati military base in Liwa in the west of the country by ACADEMI – a US security service company formerly known as Blackwater.
“We estimate that Blackwater trained about 15,000 employees, most of them Colombian and South American,” the source said.
Blackwater military contractors killed 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians and injured 20 in a notorious 2007 massacre in Baghdad that prompted the firm to change its name.
Reports first emerged in 2015 that the UAE was sending mercenaries to fight in Yemen, choosing not to send its own citizens to take part the war against the Houthi rebels.
The country has been accused of transferring running secret prisons in Yemen where torture was said to be widely used against detainees.
“The UAE has not only utilised private security contractors to bolster its own ability for self-defence but has used them to engage in foreign wars and, potentially, domestic repression,” said security expert David Isenberg.
According to a recent email purportedly sent by the Emirati ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, Saudi Arabia came close to “conquering” Qatar before the start of the blockade.
Sources close to Trump said in September that the Saudi-led bloc considered taking military action against Qatar at the start of the crisis before the US President urged for calm.
Kuwait’s emir, who has been leading efforts to mediate an end to the spat, has said he stopped the bloc from taking military action against Qatar.