Via You Have Been Upgraded, the Saudi-backed Al Arabiya channel has produced a video simulation showing a Qatar plane being shot down, a dramatization of what they say will happen if the air embargo against Qatar is violated.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 14, 2017
Tensions between Qatar and other regional powers especially Saudi Arabia are hardly new. And Saudi Arabia was emboldened after the U.S. President’s visit there in May.
Flights in and out of Qatar have become more difficult. Airlines like Etihad, Emirates, and Gulf Air stopped flying to Doha. And the severing of relations has created limits on Qatari-registered aircraft flying through the airspace of some of the countries involved.
Qatar does not have its own flight information region, it’s within the Bahrain region. The Doha terminal control area is from ground to 24,500 feet, and above 24,500 feet is the Bahrain Upper Information Region. Traffic is re-routing primarily via Iran.
The piece explains the blockade as a decision by ‘the anti-terrorism states’. The air blockade is arguably in violation of international agreements, yet the report suggests that not only is it legal but that “according to international law any state which forbids an airline from crossing above it possesses the right to deal with any airplane entering its realm.”
Indeed, a legitimate improper entry into a country’s air space may be ‘dealt with’. However it follows with a fairly tortured claim that international law provides a proactive right to shoot down an aircraft.
Choices in this case usually include either dispatching fighter planes to force it down… international law also gives each state the right to bring down any plane entering its atmosphere which is identified as an enemy target…
When showing the plane that’s being brought down by a missile in this illustration, Qatar Airways markings have been removed, however the implication is clear.
Once the missile scene finishes, a Qatar Airways plane returns to the screen.
Which makes Saudi Arabia look like a state sponsor of terrorism, and of course there’s been suggestion that elements of the Saudi government were complicit in 9/11 or at least aware and tolerant of the plotting.
A government proactively threatening to shoot down a civilian airliner is sickening. And even the accidental downing of a plane can have huge consequences for the world 30 years later.
No Qatar Airways plane is going to fly through Saudi airspace in violation of the blockade. But the threat is nonetheless a travesty.