KSA attacked Qatar
There was a lot of anger yesterday after a Saudi Arabian minister launched an outspoken attack on Qatar during the opening ceremony of an international chess competition.
On Twitter, viewers vented their anger at Saudi General Sport Authority chairman Turki bin Abdul Mohsen Al Sheikh over remarks he made at the World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships being held in Riyadh, according to Gulf Times.
Qatar team’s participation had already been under a cloud after Saudi authorities left it to the last minute to grant them visas, that too after sustained pressure. Qatar had contemplated withdrawing from the tournament, but finally decided to compete after being granted visas.
However, the Saudi authorities also made an unjust demand that Qatar players not be allowed to compete under the national flag.
Onlookers were astonished when Al Sheikh used the opening ceremony to continue squabbling with Qatar. Al Sheikh, during his two-minute address, insultingly and repeatedly referred to Qatar as a ‘mini-state’ in an attempt to belittle its status in the region.
“A mini state in the region has tried to spoil it (the tournament), claimed they didn’t receive visas to enter Saudi Arabia, which welcomes everyone,” he said, according to Gulf Times.
He also tried to claim Qatar’s flags were allowed to be raised and he would not be “bothered by this state’s silly allegations”.
However, this was despite FIDE confirming the flag row had taken place.
Al Sheikh chose to hijack the event and use it to continue his country’s row with Qatar.
In a bizarre analogy, he said he had directed that any dealings with ‘this mini-state’ in sporting matters should be conducted by the manager of a fitness gym in Riyadh, which was ‘something that suits their size.’
He went on: “We want to focus on the development of our sport. We’ll not pay attention to the inconveniences which this state, or mini-state or the regime in it does,” he was quoted as saying by Gulf Times.
In addition to Qatar, Israeli and Iranian players were also not granted visas.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian women’s double world champion Anna Muzychuk, 27, refused to attend the event because of Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women as ‘secondary creatures.’
The row comes about seven months after Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt ad the UAE announced an illegal blockade on Qatar.