Saudi newspapers slam Qatar blocking Saudi’s Hajj flights



Tue, 22 Aug 2017 - 11:50 GMT


Tue, 22 Aug 2017 - 11:50 GMT

Saudi Newspapers - Creative Commons

Saudi Newspapers - Creative Commons

CAIRO – 22 August 2017: In the wake of Qatar’s notorious rejection of Saudi Arabian air carriers’ landing at its airports to fly its nationals to the Kingdom for pilgrimage, Saudi Arabian newspapers' headlines lashed at the Qatari regime on Tuesday, which they accused of being “unnecessarily head-hardened.”

A Muslim pilgrim prays atop Mount Thor in the holy city of Mecca ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage October 11, 2013 - Reuters

On Monday, and in response to Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani’s mediation to reopen Salwa border crossing for Qatari pilgrims, Saudi Arabia dispatched air carriers to the emirate to jet off Qatari pilgrims, which was met with refusal by the Qatari authorities.

Okaz: Qatar’s ill intentions surface

Okaz newspaper said that Qatar’s decision implies Qatar’s ill intentions, and proves its involvement in terrorist crimes that have long ridden the security and peace of the region.

Saudi Arabian airlines - AFP

“Doha has found itself in a rather embarrassing situation; it did not anticipate the Saudi Arabian move,” Okaz added, saying that the current Qatari leadership will bear the brunt of responsibility in front of Allah for contributing to curbing pilgrimage for its nationals.

Al-Youm: Doha pursues the policy of “political blackmail”

Under the headline of “Mediator of goodness reposes to Doha’s insult,” Al Youm Newspaper hailed Sheikh Abdallah Al-Thani’s initiative, lamenting what Qatari Foreign Minister has previously announced about Sheikh Abdallah Al-Thani’s visit that it was motivated by his personal interests.

Instead, Al-Youm said that was primarily intended to ease border restrictions for Qatari pilgrims, and to assure the fraternal relations shared between the people of the two nations.

Last week, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met in Jeddah with Sheikh Abdullah, a Qatari royal family member, marking the first visit of a Qatari royal family member to Saudi Arabia since a political standoff erupted 11 weeks ago when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar.

The Jeddah meeting was followed by another one on Thursday between Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, currently in Morocco on a private vacation, with Sheikh Abdullah in Tangier, Morocco.

The decline of the Saudi Arabia’s bordering at Qatari national airports represents another manifestation of the political blackmail that has recently been adopted by these rulers to politicize Hajj, despite the Kingdom’s repeated insistence on its keenness to refrain from thrusting political disputes into a religious realm, Al- Youm added.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) meets Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassem Al Thani (L) in Tangier – Courtesy of CC via Al-Arabiya

The newspaper also condemned the “mudslinging campaign” that was launched against Sheikh Al-Thani’s mediation, adding that it demonstrates once again Doha’s long-simmering policy of feuding Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries fighting terrorism since they are still pressuring Doha to abide by the “list of demands,” which includes the pull-away from Iran.

On June 5, Arab countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab of Emirates have severed ties with Qatar, with a complete trade and air boycott, after evidence of its support for terrorism surfaced.

Geizira: Qatar’s autonomy hurt by Iranian blatant interference

On another vein, Geizira newspaper wondered, “Who are the true rulers of Qatar?" Implying that Qatar’s autonomy has been strongly damaged, and that the emirate’s recent suspicious decisions have not come from the minds of its Qatari rulers.

Geizira condemned the curbing of Saudi Arabian air carriers from entering airports, saying that “the decision was purported to have been aiming at preserving Qatar’s sovereignty as if it has not been already compromised.”

Saudi Arabia is currently bracing for the once-in-a-year pilgrimage season, whose rituals are regularly performed in Mecca and Medina.



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