Lara Deauville — Express.co.uk Sept 21, 2017
SAUDI ARABIAN warplanes were fuelled and ready to launch a massive military strike against Qatar until Donald Trump intervened and called a halt to the offensive.
The Saudis, backed by allies in the Gulf region, were ready to blitz their neighbour amid claims Qatar openly backed terrorism.
A major strike would have sparked a major regional conflict with the potential to destabilise the Gulf and spill over into a full-blown war, Pentagon experts feared.
Qatar is the world’s richest nation per capita is the controversial host nation for the 2022 World Cup.
President Trump was forced to intervene after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain imposed a blockade on tiny Qatar.
The Saudi allies closed air and shipping routes and expelled all Qatari nationals, prompting the most serious crisis in the Gulf in decades.
However, the stakes were raised when Pentagon experts spotted the Saudi air force was readying an attack.
The Saudi air force has more than 200 strike aircraft alone, including 62 American F-15s and 48 British/European-built Typhoons.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have Sunni-majority nations, were seen as wanting to change the Qatari regime which has been aligning itself with Shia majority nation Iran.
President Trump is believed to have intervened with telephone calls to leaders of all the states involved – talking the Saudis into keeping the warplanes grounded.
He persuaded all involved that any military action would not only potentially escalate but would distract from united efforts to combat Iran.
Kuwait emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed ai-Sabah said: “Thank God, what’s important is that we stopped any military action.”
Qatar has refused to meet a list of demands issued by the four allied states.