The Qatari newspaper, “al Sharq” had published an interview with Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen last weekend, but it had never taken place and was fictitious. According to the report, von der Leyen is reported to have said on the sidelines of the NATO summit last week that Qatar was “subject to a conspiracy by its neighboring states” that threatened the security of the state of Qatar and its citizens.

Qatar’s calculation seemed to have worked out with the contrite Saudi reaction to von der Leyen’s interview. Only: The interview never took place, it was fictitious. The Qatari government apologized to Germany and blamed a freelancer for a private newspaper for the crazy story.

In Berlin, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defense denied that the interview had ever taken place and that the minister had spoken out in this way. This averted another crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia.