According to a diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan allegedly asked the United States to “bomb” the Qatari channel before the US invasion of Afghanistan .
The WikiLeaks organization published a diplomatic cable describing an exchange in 2003 between Mohammed ben Zayed bin Sultan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (the wealthiest kingdom of the United Arab Emirates) and the American diplomat Richard Haass.
In this conversation, Mohammed ben Zayed bin Sultan – who is also the Minister of Defense of Abu Dhabi – “laughingly recalls” a meeting between his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan (the leader of the United Arab Emirates until 2004 ) And the Emir of Qatar Hamad Al-Thani shortly after the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
“Hamad [Al-Thani] complained about a report he received detailing how Mohammed ben Zayed had asked US General Tommy Franks to bomb Al Jazeera. According to Mohammed ben Zayed, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan replied mocker [to Hamad]: “You reproach him?”, Describes the diplomatic cable. A request that would have been formulated before the American intervention in Afghanistan.
During this conversation between the Abu Dhabi Defense Minister and Richard Haass, the first urges the second to take similar steps to act on the media coverage of the war in Iraq. In this context, he stresses “the importance of restricting the Al-Jazeera [Qatar] chain”.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 28, 2017
Notably, in November 2001, Al Jazeera’s offices in Kabul were destroyed in an American bombing, while the chain had communicated to Washington its location in the Afghan capital. The Pentagon had nevertheless denied targeting the media premises, while being unable to explain why they had been affected, reported the Guardian .
In April 2003, a US missile hit the offices of the Qatari channel in Baghdad, killing one person. A spokesman for the US military said that Al Jazeera “was not and would never be a target”.
Like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates broke off their diplomatic relations with Qatar in early June , accusing their neighbors of sponsoring terrorism and coming closer to Iran, the regional rival of the Saudi kingdom. The Gulf countries closed their land and sea borders with the emirate and imposed an ultimatum calling on them to break diplomatic relations with Iran and close Al-Jazeera.