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Saturday, October 28

At least he was frank in calling Syria "prey."

During the interview [former Qatar Prime Minister Haid bin Jassim bin Juber Al Thani] also said that “we [Arabian Gulf countries] fought over the prey [Syria], until the prey run away, and we are still fighting”. Syrian pro-government and opposition activists condemned Bin Jassim’s statement and blamed him for calling Syria a “prey”.
Yes but prey is exactly how the GCC governments -- and their allies -- viewed Syria and its government. 

SouthFront has transcribed some quotes from the interview in addition to providing video of the interview (1 minute 34 seconds), which was posted today at YouTube by Syriana. However, the transcript omits what I consider a key statement by bin Jassim:
I addressed the situation in Syria [during a discussion with then-Saudi king Abdullah].  The Saudi king said, "We are with you." The Saudi king said, "You lead the Syrian file and we will coordinate with you."
(I assume this conversation took place in 2010-2011.) Eventually cooperation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia about Syria fell apart, but the point of  bin Jassim's remark is that he's saying Qatar, by "leading the file" on the Saudi-Qatari operations in Syria, is in possession of detailed evidence that backs up his claim that "we" supported al Qaeda in Syria. This despite his rather muddled explanation of the situation, which may have more to do with the English translation of his remarks than his exposition in Arabic. 

In any case he also explicitly states that his government "took the responsibility" for coordinating GCC actions against Syria's government and that "we have all the evidences."     

Now who is the "we" he referenced?

FORMER QATARI PRIME MINISTER ADMITS QATAR, SAUDI ARABIA, TURKEY, AND UNITED STATES COORDINATED EFFORTS TO SUPPORT TERRORISTS IN SYRIA
October 27, 2017
SouthFront


On October 26, former Qatar Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim said during an interview to the Qatari national TV that Doha supported the Syrian opposition armed groups and even terrorists like the al-Nusra Front (the local al-Qaeda branch) in Syria in coordination with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US.
“Anything [weapons] that was sent [to Syria] would go through Turkey and was coordinated with the US, and the distribution of anything was via US forces. Turkey, we and our Saudi brothers… There could be a mistake and support was given to a fiction [al-Nusra Front], but not ISIS. They are exaggerating… Maybe there was a relation with the al-Nusra Front. Maybe I don’t know about this. But I can say that even if this was the case, it was decided that the al-Nusra Front was not acceptable. The support for it stopped,” Bin Jassim said.
Bin Jassim went on and revealed that Saudi Arabia changed its position on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recently. According to Bin Jassim, Saudi Arabia now wants Assad to stay in power.
The former Qatari prime minister stressed that even Qatar does not has any problems with Assad now. He even described the Syrian president as a “former friend”.
“You [Saudi Arabia] are now saying keep Bashar, ok let him stay we don’t have any problem, We have no quarrel with him. He was a friend of us … But you [Saudi Arabia] were in the same trench with us, if you changed your mind [About Bashar] tell us so. We will change our attitude too… I’m not against anyone changing his mind when he finds out that he was mistaken. But he should tell his partner that he is changing his mind because the current situation doesn’t work anymore. Now Bashar works or this or that” Bin Jassim added.
Bin Jassim’s statement confirms that the Syrian issue was one the main causes of the Saudi–Qatari crisis that broke out on June 5. Due to this, the crisis will not likely end before all the Arabian Gulf countries agree on a wide range of issues, including the Syrian issue.
During the interview, Bin Jassim also said that “we [Arabian Gulf countries] fought over the prey [Syria], until the prey run away, and we are still fighting”. Syrian pro-government and opposition activists condemned Bin Jassim’s statement and blamed him for calling Syria a “prey”.
[END SOUTHFRONT REPORT]

As to what bin Jassim was referring to when he said "They are exaggerating" -- I'd guess he's answering a claim made recently in public by someone or some persons who may have been cited by a Saudi official or former official.  

At any rate, bin Jassim's remarks reflect the self-incrimination that can occur when monsters in governments have a falling out. He may not have sung like a bird in the interview, but he sang. Now we need a look at those records in his government's possession.

As to whether there is any hard evidence that Al Saud now wants Assad to stay in power: I have seen nothing to indicate to me that the Saudis have stopped their machinations to have Assad removed, even if they've withdrawn financial support for some al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria. As to bin Jassim's claims about the matter -- he is a former PM, not a government spokesman.     

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