Emir of Qatar: Send Arab troops to Syria

Jan. 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM

DOHA, Qatar, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Arab troops should be used to "stop the killing" in Syria, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, ruler of the oil- and gas-rich state of Qatar, told CBS News.

In an interview to be broadcast Sunday on "60 Minutes," the emir, a former ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, said he supports protesters in the Arab world who are seeking "justice and dignity." He is the first Arab leader to suggest a military intervention in Syria, where an estimated 5,000 people have been killed in an ongoing government crackdown on large protests.

Asked directly about sending troops, the emir responded: "For such a situation to stop the killing ... some troops should go to stop the killing."

Qatar, where the 250,000 citizens have the largest per-capital income in the world thanks to the world's third-largest natural gas deposits and large oil reserves, is one of the few Arab countries that has not been rocked by protests. The state owns al-Jazeera, the Arabic-language broadcaster that has played an influential role in the "Arab Spring."

"The top people in the Arab countries" have often been critical of al-Jazeera, the emir said.

Assad agreed to an Arab League peace plan for Syria that included a monitoring team in the country. But dissidents say the killings continued while the monitors were there.

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