Thursday, 18 January, 2018

United Arab Emirates Hacked Qatar, Sparking Gulf Crisis

Melinda Barton | 18 July, 2017, 06:29

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, cutting diplomatic and transport ties with the tiny Gulf monarchy, accusing it of financing extremist groups and allying with Gulf Arab states arch-foe Iran.

"I just want to say that the Post story is completely untrue", the Emirates' minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, told the BBC. The hack also involved the planting of damning false stories about Qatar's emir. "You will see in the next few days the story will die".

Qatar said those reports were fabricated and posted by hackers, though it hasn't identified the source.

Qatar has been ostracised by its neighbours since reports revealed its emir making comments praising Hamas and calling Iran an "Islamic power". UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba denied the report in a statement, saying it was "false", the Post said. It continued: "What is true is Qatar's behaviour". Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi.

Speaking at the Chatham House worldwide affairs think tank in London, Mr Gargash repeated claims - denied by Qatar - that the country funds extremists.

The statement cited the government's communications director, Sheikh Saif bin Ahmad al-Thani, as saying it was "especially unfortunate that this shameful act of cyber terrorism is being attributed to a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council". It added that the "crime" against its state news agency by a Gulf nation was a violation of worldwide law.

Gargash's speech in London appeared to question Qatar's future in the GCC.

"This is our message: You can not be part of a regional organization dedicated to strengthening mutual security and furthering mutual interests, and at the same time undermine that security and harm those interests".

When asked whether Qatar's membership was at stake, Gargash did not answer directly and repeated his remarks.

During his trip to Saudi Arabia in late May, Donald Trump implored the leaders of the Muslim world to crack down on the perpetuators - and financiers - of terrorism within their midst. They then broke relations with Qatar and declared a trade and diplomatic boycott, sending the region into a political and diplomatic tailspin that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned could undermine USA counterterrorism efforts against the Islamic State.