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Qatar’s PM: ‘We have a Plan B for Syria’

September 24th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

By Samuel Burke and Claire Calzonetti

After more than a year of unimaginable violence and a mounting death toll in Syria, the possibility seems lower than ever that real action will be taken to stop the slaughter.

The United Nations had been the only source of hope for a resolution, but back in May the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, caused a stir when he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that there was no “Plan B” in Syria. 

But Monday, Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, gave a glimmer of hope by telling Amanpour that there is indeed a “Plan B” for Syria.

“We believe that we can solve it peacefully,” Al Thani said. He is in New York for the yearly United Nations General Assembly, and he says Arab countries are working on a plan of their own.

U.N. focuses on Syria

Qatar is a tiny country, with big money and big power. With its oil and gas riches, Qatar holds real clout in the Arab world.

“You need to make safe haven areas, first of all,” Al Thani says.

That would require a no-fly zone.

“If the Syrians want to break that, that's another subject. We need somebody to have the teeth to tell them don't do that, because that will not be allowed.”

While Al Thani wouldn’t offer up specifics about who will participate in this Plan B, he said the support might be wider than expected.
“I believe there are a lot of Arab countries who will participate. And there are also European countries who will participate.”

Nonetheless, he said the region needs the United States to step up.

“We are in an election period, so maybe this isn’t a diplomatic way to say it, but I hope that after the election the American government looks at this matter in different way.”

Al Thani maintains he isn’t looking for military intervention and says Qatar is not providing weapons to the Syrian uprisings, but said his country is providing logistic help – citing humanitarian aide and medicines.
Qatar played a key role in the liberation of Libya as the first Arab nation to recognize the rebels and to support NATO’s mission there.

In fact, Libyans were so thankful they hung the Qatari flag over a Gadhafi compound in Tripoli.

But Al Thani says that was possible through work via NATO and the help of the United States.

Now Qatar's sights are on Syria.

And Qatar certainly isn’t lacking the money to send weapons to help the rebels.

“Money is not everything.” Al Thani says. “Will is more important than the money. A lot of countries have the money. But they don't have the will.
President Assad was recently quoted in the Al Hayat newspaper criticizing the tiny, wealth nation, saying, "Qatar uses the power of money and revolves in the orbit of the West to repeat the Libyan scenario."

Al Thani responded: “Qatar and the others interfere in Syria, because of his failure.”

Guide to U.N. meeting

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soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. ajay

    Al Thani said we can solve this peacefully!!! Really? And a peaceful solution is plan B? what world do you live in? Plan B is a peaceful solution but plan A was to arm the rebels and see if killing helps???

    September 25, 2012 at 12:53 am | Reply
    • Zainab

      Can you imagion that!.. They are repeating the same senario of Bosnia.. And wondef who will be their crowned alternative presidend with blessed of US

      September 25, 2012 at 1:32 am | Reply
  2. Mazi Nwonwu

    ...and Qatar is a democracy? since when can you export what you don't have?

    September 25, 2012 at 1:42 am | Reply
    • Ignat

      Mazi, you talk like we've got democracy in the US. Here's how it goes: candidate gets popular vote, vote goes up for approval by special interest groups, Zionists and friends in congress or (the Electoral College body) disapprove of said elected candidate, they pick the candidate that they wanted in the first place. It't all about who can make the most outlandish promises to Hymie. that's why every presidential candidate has to grovel before the Knesset to get residency in the White House. You all know it. Ha Ha Ha he he he.

      September 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  3. jason

    Dear young readers, Qatar is a democratic kingdom in the Persian Gulf. Although the king's family rule for decades, and no political parties are allowed, it does have a plan B for Syria.

    September 25, 2012 at 5:13 am | Reply
  4. coco

    Plan B is simply a way to show off about Qatar. It could be a strategical position in the negociation in order to influence on the international negociations. This is the ultimate goal of Qatar: how to take influence in the area as emerging country . However, I do not think so shia Iran power will let Qatar do it. Time will tell...

    September 25, 2012 at 8:58 am | Reply
    • Ignat

      If this becomes a war between Shia and Sunnah, then that will be the end of Iran and of the the meddling western influence in the region, and both of whom are playing good cop with Iran as the bad cop. Yet their ultimate goal is to consolidate Shia control in the region in what was previously predicted as the Shia crescent extending from Lebanon to through Iraq to Iran with the blessing of the US and Israel. But this plot will fail eventually and this twisted Shia form of Islam will cease to exist.

      September 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  5. rcott sichie

    the responders above are moons! assad is a butcher of his ownh people and syria itself. assad is DEAD.

    September 25, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
  6. rcott sichie

    cnn f-up. that is 'morons' not moons.

    September 25, 2012 at 9:45 am | Reply
  7. CDN

    Go out, it's not only u that no how to rule, same who need u b4 say no, so step down save future for ur self.

    September 25, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  8. elite pete 10

    26,000 that sure is a peaceful number.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:50 am | Reply
  9. George

    The rabbit dat stays in a hole must be ready to face the hunter's fire, i mean Assad the he goat

    September 26, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
  10. Big brother's watching you

    Tunisia is an exemple, Egypt is an exemple, Yemen is an exemple. And Qatar is ?

    September 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  11. Turkish Expat

    Time for the regional players to put up or shut up, try policing your own neighbourhood instead of expecting others to do it for you so you can blame them later if it doesn't turn out like you want.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply
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