In a frank interview with Christiane Amanpour on ABC News this week, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al Thani has said his country is determined to stay involved in Libya until embattled leader Muammar al-Qaddafi exits.
When pressed as to how far Qatar was willing to go to make that happen, Al Thani, (inaccurately referred to in the ABC News article as Al-Thanisim), said that helping to arm and train Libyan rebels is a “possibility.”
Here are some excerpts of the interview.
Amanpour: What is in it for Qatar?
HBJ: It’s not a good position but it’s a position we decided to take after we see Qaddafi using heavy artillery against his people.
Amanpour: How does this end?
HBJ: I think the people of Libya and the international community will not accept any solution until (Qaddafi) leaves power.
Amanpour: How long can Qatar be involved in a military intervention?
HBJ: For us the decision is as long as necessary.
Al Thani also spoke about Yemen, as well as Qatar’s own (glacial) move toward democracy and the Emir’s role in the reforms:
“The people know that he did a constitution under no pressure,” al-Thani said. “There was no pressure to do a constitution. There is no pressure to do parliament. There is no pressure to do municipal elections. There is no pressure to do a free press in Qatar. And you know a free press bring a lot of headache for Qatar.”
(By “free press,” al Thani was referring to Al Jazeera, not local media)
What do you guys think about Qatar’s role in Libya? And Yemen? And the Arab Spring?