World Reports: UAE behind Qatar media hack that set off diplomatic crisis

07:15  17 july  2017
07:15  17 july  2017 Source:   dw.com

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Reports in the US media claim that the United Arab Emirates arranged for the Qatari government's news sites to be hacked . The incident has sparked a diplomatic crisis and left Qatar largely isolated in the Gulf region.

Qatar has accused "neighbouring countries", of being behind the alleged cyber attack on Doha's state media which set into motion the current diplomatic crisis . Tags: Qatar , Saudi Arabia, UAE , Bahrain, hacking , Qatar News Agency.

plain© picture-alliance/Photoshot/Nikku plain

Reports in the US media claim that the United Arab Emirates arranged for the Qatari government's news sites to be hacked. The incident has sparked a diplomatic crisis and left Qatar largely isolated in the Gulf region.

The Washington Post, citing US intelligence officials, reported on Monday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had orchestrated the hacking of the Qatari government's news sites and social media, planting damning false stories about the Qatar's emir.

According to the Post report, unidentified US intelligence officials last week discovered new information revealing that UAE officials had discussed the planned hacks on May 23, just days before they occurred. The intelligence sources said it remained unclear whether the UAE carried out the hack itself or paid another entity to do so.

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The 2017 Qatar diplomatic crisis began when several countries abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017. and UAE media picked up the statement made by the hacked media in less than 20 minutes and "The Qatar -Iran Gas Field Behind the Diplomatic War in the Middle East".

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The Emirati ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, was quick to deny the report. In a statement, he wrote: "What is true is Qatar's behavior. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Gadhafi. Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors."

The US State Department made no immediate comment on the revelations.

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The hacking of Qatari media services in May saw the tiny Gulf state's EmirSheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, quoted as praising Hamas and describing Iran as an "Islamic power."

The report served as a pretext for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE to all accuse Qatar of supporting terrorist groups and to subsequently cut off diplomatic and transport ties. The move has left the Gulf kingdom effectively isolated in the region.

Qatar has always maintained that the quotes were fabricated, although those claims have been rejected by the boycotting countries.

The diplomatic stand-off has also had a bearing on US policy in the region, particularly in the fight against the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) group.

While all countries involved are allies with Washington, US President Donald Trump has sided with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, backing their assertion that Qatar enjoys links to Islamist groups. Nevertheless, Qatar continues to be the home for some 10,000 US troops and hosts the regional headquarters of US Central Command for the Middle East as part of the US' fight against IS.

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