'No Alternative to Qatar Airbase' says US Defence Secretary

Cheryl Sanders
July 17, 2017

The Washington Post has cited us intelligence officials who claim the UAE orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post false quotes attributed to Qatar's Emir.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt - followed by a handful of other Muslim countries - abruptly cut off all diplomatic and trade ties with tiny Qatar on 5 June, alleging that the state interfered in the affairs of its Arab neighbours and funded terror organisations.

Qatari media was immediately banned in several Arab states, despite an official hack announcement issued by Doha within an hour of the initial attack.

Dr Al Kitbi said this media campaign is funded by Qatar and meant to divert the attention from its support and funding of terrorist and terrorism.

The officials said it remains unclear whether the UAE carried out the hacks itself or contracted to have them done.

News agencies and channels with close ties to the UAE, Saudi and Egyptian governments reported the emir's quoted comments with startling speed soon after the alleged hack took place.

However, Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, has rubbished the report as false, claiming that the UAE had no role in the hacking of Qatar websites.

What is true is Qatar's behavior.

The goal of the hacking was to embed false news stories of an incendiary nature that led to the current Gulf crisis. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas [terrorist organizations, outlawed in Russia] and Qadafi.

Qatar said at the time that it had been hacked by unknown entities. His visit had yielded little except for a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Qatar to fight "terrorism". "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors", the statement said.

Mr Gargash told the BBC that Qatar's denial had been contradicted by its agreement to review a list of 59 individuals and 12 organisations who the UAE has accused of supporting terrorism and wants arrested or expelled.

Yet the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or with Qatar, he added.

A senior UAE official said worldwide monitoring was needed in the standoff between Qatar and its Arab neighbours, adding he saw signs that the pressure exerted on Doha "was working".

Other reports by iNewsToday