Dubai security chief Khalfan tells Qatar 'blockade will end' if Doha surrenders 2022 World Cup

Dubai security chief Khalfan tells Qatar 'blockade will end' if Doha surrenders 2022 World Cup
Dubai security official Dhahi Khalfan has courted controversy again after telling Doha a Saudi-UAE blockade on Qatar will end if it gives up plans to host the 2022 World Cup.
3 min read
09 Oct, 2017
Khalfan has courted controversy again [AFP]
Dubai security chief Dhahi Khalfan is sometimes described as the Donald Trump of the Arab World.

Boasting almost 2.3 million followers on Twitter, he has a daily habit of firing off angry, controversial tweets to opponents, yet somehow still manages to avoid getting into trouble.

Khalfan is of course a "regime man" and probably the most important intelligence chief in the UAE.

This week his Twitter target was (again) Qatar, sending out a message to Doha saying a blockade on the country will end if it surrenders the 2022 World Cup.

"If Qatar no longer hosts the World Cup, the crisis will go from Qatar because the crisis was created to end it," he tweeted.

The message appeared to imply that the Saudi-led blockade was only enacted due to Qatar hosting the world's biggest football event.

The message also went on to attack Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani's father Hamad - who previously ruled Qatar - and the former Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani - both of whom are said to wield enormous influence behind the scenes.

"The cost to return is more than what the al-Hamdeen [two Hamads] have planned for," it read.

It comes after Saudi Arabia and the UAE made new efforts to scupper the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Both countries are believed to be piling pressure on FIFA to switch the games to another venue.

This weekend saw the release of a report by Cornerstone Global that alleged Qatar might give up hosting the World Cup due to the blockade.

Doha dismissed the report as being compiled by a group with an open "affiliation to the countries blockading Qatar" and said that companies constructing the eight stadiums for the games had found alternative suppliers.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt began a blockade on Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting "extremism" and being too close to Iran.
"If Qatar no longer hosts the cup, the crisis will go from Qatar because the crisis was
created to end it. The cost is much greater than what the two Hamads planned for"

Khalfan appeared to hint that a 13-list of demands issued to Qatar by the blockading countries could be dropped if it surrenders the World Cup.

The Dubai police chief might have been rebuked by his bosses as later he sent out another message saying Qatar "is no longer our concern".

Khalfan is known as a key figure in the UAE regime and has often tweeted fiery, strongly-worded messages to the Gulf state's opponents - from Iran to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In June, Khalfan accused Qatar of being close to Iran - a regional rival of Saudi Arabia and the UAE and a constant target of the intelligence chief on Twitter.

"Little brother, today you have to come apologise in front of your big brother. Know that your natural place is with Saudi Arabia and that your unnatural place is in [former Iranian ruler Ayatollah] al-Khamenei's grave," he once tweeted to Qatar.

Khalfan once backed Donald Trump's so-called "Muslim ban" in a series of Twitter messages that were aimed primarily at the Shia Muslim countries - Iran and Iraq - included in the list.

He also once described former Yemen dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh as "the manliest man" in the country.

This earned him a public rebuke from UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed whose nation is officially at war with Saleh and his Houthi allies. 

All is fair in love and war, he might say.