Dubai: A Saudi daily said that it had obtained a secret document that proved there was conspiracy between the regimes in Qatar and Iran through the “Qatari hunters” case in Iraq.
A group of Qatari hunters, including members of the Qatar ruling family, were abducted by Iraqi militias on December 16, 2015. They were released following much mediated negotiations and the payment of a ransom on April 21, 2017.
However, Al Riyadh daily on Tuesday said the hunting trip had been coordinated between Qataris, Iranians and the Popular Mobilisation Forces (Hashd) in Iraq following news that Saudi Arabia was planning to execute Nimr Al Nimr, a prominent Shiite leader, alongside 46 people put to death after courts convicted them of terrorism offences.
According to the plan, the “kidnapping” of the Qatari hunting party that included two Saudi nationals would be used to exert pressure on Saudi Arabia to halt Al Nimr’s execution.
“The kidnapping was never about ransoms and cash, but rather about putting pressure on Saudi Arabia,” the daily said.
Several human rights groups, funded by Qatar, and former US President Barack Obama stepped in to halt the execution while Iran threatened to use force. However, Saudi Arabia went ahead with the execution and Iranians attacked its diplomatic missions in Tehran and Meshhad.
Al Riyadh said the document showed that Iran’s ‘supreme leader’ Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was overseeing the dossier of the “kidnapped” Qatari hunting party.
Following the failure of the pressure card by Iran and Qatar for the release of Al Nimr, Doha decided to go public with its support for Al Nusra terrorist group by paying $500 million (Dh1.83 billion) for the release of the Qatari hunters and for the simultaneous evacuation of people long besieged in four towns, two predominantly Shiite in northern Syria and two predominantly Sunni in southern Syria.
The deal came as a shock to the international community that refuses negotiations with terrorist groups.