Dubai official's comment that Qatar is "eighth emirate of UAE" may escalate Gulf rift tensions
Agence France Presse reported Tuesday that a top UAE official called Qatar its "eighth emirate," in a move that is likely to escalate already heightened Gulf tensions between Doha and its neighbors.
Dubai security official General Dahi Khalfan called for "reclaiming Qatar" on his Twitter account, saying "Qatar is an integral part of the UAE. We must put up signs on our borders with Qatar stating: 'You are now entering the UAE's eighth emirate.'"
Khalfan, who is second-in-command of Dubai's security apparatus and who has more than 600,000 followers on Twitter, has already received intense criticism from social media users in the region, with one Kuwaiti user comparing Khalfan's statement to the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's justification to invade Kuwait.
Khalfan's commentary may heighten already tough tensions between Doha and its Gulf neighbors, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE pulled their diplomatic envoys from Qatar in March in protest of Doha's support of the Muslim Brotherhood.
After the British withdrew their colonial presence from the region in 1968, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE were collectively known as the Trucial States, but their union ended three years later.