Investigation confirms Qatar news agency was hacked

Pauline Gross
June 9, 2017

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) meets with Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 6, 2017.

The United Arab Emirates tightened the squeeze on fellow Gulf state Qatar yesterday, threatening anyone publishing expressions of sympathy towards Doha with up to 15 years in prison and barring entry to Qataris. "The Department of Defense has talked about this", she said.

The U.S.is one of several countries offering to help.

Qatar hosts 8,000 USA military personnel at al Udeid, the largest US air base in the Middle East and a launchpad for USA -led strikes on ISIS.

"They need us as much as we need them", a third USA official said.

The UAE threatened to impose an economic embargo against Qatar while Bahrain said "any options" were on the table as the crisis in the Gulf showed no signs of abating on Thursday.

The diplomatic crisis, however, came less than two weeks after state Qatar News Agency (QNA) released a statement by Emir Al-Thani who called Iran an "Islamic power", which Qatar later said was "fake" as QNA's website had been "hacked".

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, charging it with financing militant groups.

He added that "we have taken these steps in the interest of Qatar... and in the interest of security and stability in the region".

He recalled that Trump's message in Riyadh was that "all nations needed to take action against extremism and take action to also terminate the support, financial support, in any ways that they can".

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Saudi FM: 'Brother State' Qatar Must Act to End Crisis
Gregory Gause, a professor at Texas A&M and an expert on the Gulf region, spoke to NPR on Tuesday about the diplomatic rift. Saudi Arabia is closing its border with Qatar, leaving citizens of the peninsula nation scrambling for food and supplies.

They then sought to clean up the president's comments by stressing US-Qatari cooperation remained intact and crediting the country with working hard to stem funding and support for extremists.

Jordan also chose to revoke the license of Al Jazeera channel in the country, Minister of State for Media Affairs and the government spokesman Mohammad Momani said on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump is offering to mediate the Qatar diplomatic crisis by hosting the feuding countries for a White House meeting.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha, Qatar.

But the crisis hit the Gulf country at a time when its economy was starting to face some headwinds amid the drop in global commodity prices.

Saudi Arabia's central bank advised banks in the kingdom not to trade with Qatari banks in Qatari riyals, banking sources said.

Turkey - which has sided with Qatar against Saudi Arabia in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas militants who rule the Gaza Strip - criticized the squeeze on the emirate and offered to try to mend the rift through dialogue. He said his country was "protecting the world from potential terrorists".

Many Qatari companies - especially banks including Qatar National Bank and Doha Bank - are consituents of several emerging market benchmarks, so many foreign investors can not ignore them.

Bans on Doha's fleet using regional ports and anchorages are threatening to halt some of its exports and disrupt those of liquefied natural gas.

University of Illinois Professor of International Law Francis Boyle told Sputnik the Trump administration was irresponsibly supporting the Saudi aggressive policy against Qatar to advance its own anti-Iranian agenda.

Other reports by GizPress

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