Not 'Russian hackers'? WaPo report accuses UAE of orchestrating Qatar media hack

17 July, 2017, 23:14 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Anwar Gargash

Senior UAE officials discussed the plan on May 23, according to newly analysed information collected by USA intelligence agencies, the report said.

A banner aired on CNN bluntly stated that "Russians planted false story behind new Mideast crisis", citing sources.

A new report by the Washington Post, citing U.S. intelligence, says there is evidence that the United Arab Emirates coordinated the hacking of Qatar's state media agency (QNA), which led to the blockade of the Gulf monarchy.

UAE Ambassador Yousef al Otaiba denied the report in a statement, saying it was "false", the Post said.

The UAE government has responded by describing the Washington Post article as "false".

With a small but vociferous band of protesters banging on the doors outside, the minister calmly explained the crisis had moved on to a new stage - one that could be prolonged as the quartet of nations holds firm on their demands for Qatar to stop support for extremists.

The United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister warned Qatar on July 17, 2017 it could not belong to the Gulf Cooperation Council if it undermined regional security, calling for a "change of behaviour" but not "regime change". But the Trump administration shares most Arab governments' fixations with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, so after Trump's visit, they likely assumed their offensive against Qatar would be well-received. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbours", the statement said.

The leaked emails revealed that Otaiba regularly communicated with a pro-Israel neoconservative think-tank called the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

The four states - the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain - imposed sanctions on Qatar on 5 June, cutting diplomatic and transport ties with the tiny Gulf monarchy, after accusing it of financing militant groups and allying with their regional arch-foe Iran. This was followed nearly immediately by a trade embargo and the closing of all air, land and see borders to Qatar, effectively leaving Qatar in its current isolated state. They presented Qatar with a list of 13 wide-ranging demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face unspecified consequences. Staunchly defending its innocence against the allegations from the onset of the crisis, Qatar claimed the demands were deliberately created to be impossible for it to meet and rejected them, causing the current stalemate in negotiations. "We are ready for this process to take a long time".

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