The Doha-funded Al Jazeera television has claimed that a Saudi-led bloc was involved in a failed coup attempt in Qatar in 1996. A documentary aired by Al Jazeera late Sunday said that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt had collaborated to stage a coup against then ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa.
The documentary cited testimonies by alleged coup plotters, including Fahd al-Maliki, a former Qatari intelligence official, who was detained and pardoned last year. Al-Maliki claimed in the documentary that a committee has been formed by the four countries to orchestrate the alleged coup.
He alleged that the committee included then chief of staff of the UAE Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed (now Abu Dhabi Crown Prince), then Bahrain Crown Prince Hamad bin Issa (now Bahraini King), late Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, former Qatari police chief Hamad bin Jassim bin Hamad and Saudi intelligence officials. It claimed that after taking control over military and security installations, the coup plotters were to give the green light for militias to enter Qatar from across the Saudi border. But the planned coup d'état was discovered and thwarted. There was no comment from the four countries about the claim.
Last year, the Saudi-led bloc severed diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar, for its part, denies the accusations and contends that the blockade was in violation of international law.