Qatar PM calls for arming Syrian rebels

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al-Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar

From Michael Peel and Abigail Fielding-Smith, the Financial Times:  The oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar backed arming Syrian rebels on Monday, echoing fresh calls from opposition figures for a military response to the relentless regime bombardment of anti-government strongholds.

As Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar’s prime minister, said opponents of President Bashar al-Assad should be given weapons to defend themselves, several heavyweight domestic foes of the Syrian leader set up a group to support what one called a “military revolution. . . .”

“Military intervention requires many, many things – not least the certainty of the United Nations, and as you know, we’re nowhere near that,” said Lady Ashton, Europe’s top foreign policy official.

Western countries and others who want Mr Assad to go shy away from intervening both because of the lack of a UN mandate and because of concerns that the impact of a full-scale civil war in a country at the political and geographic heart of the Middle East will rip through the entire region.

However, Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad said that after Russia and China vetoed UN Security Council action against Mr Assad this month states opposed to his regime needed to do what “whatever is necessary” to helps the Syrian opposition, including “giving them weapons to defend themselves. . . .”

From Reuters:  "I think we should do whatever is necessary to help them, including giving them weapons to defend themselves," the prime minister [Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani] said during a visit to Norway. . . .

"Since we failed in the Security Council to do something, I think we have to try to do something to send enough military help to stop the killing," he said.  (photo: AP)

Image: ap%202%2027%2012%20Hamad%20bin%20Jassim%20al-Thani.jpg