Russian hackers 'planted false story' behind Middle East crisis

Claudine Rigal
Juin 8, 2017

Qatar's foreign minister told CNN that hackers put a false story on Qatari state media, claiming the country's leader made remarks friendly to Iran and skeptical of Trump.

Another Arab nation, Jordan, said after studying the causes of the crisis with Qatar it was downgrading its diplomatic representation and withdrawing licenses for the Amman bureau of the Doha-based TV news channel Al-Jazeera.

Moniz, a chartered accountant, chooses to travel Qatar Airways because the flight is short unlike low cost carriers that have long layovers with stopovers in Mumbai.

The ratings agency has said Qatar's economy could be severely hit by the decision announced earlier this week by a raft of countries to cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar.

American President Donald Trump took sides in the deep rift in the Arab world on Tuesday, praising the Middle East countries' actions against Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and other Arab nations have abruptly severed diplomatic ties with Doha, blocking their borders and airspace to nationals and flights from the tiny Gulf kingdom.

Tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia - a Middle East heavyweight - bubbled to the surface two weeks ago when Qatar said its state-run news agency and its Twitter account were hacked to publish a fake story claiming the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, had called Iran "a regional and Islamic power that can not be ignored".

A presidency spokesman said Macron would continue his mediation in coming days.

Or perhaps worst of all, this would just be one more step towards forming a 1914-style set of alliance blocs across the whole of the Middle East and North Africa, with a Sunni bloc led by Saudi Arabia, and a Shia bloc led by Iran - a powder keg which would not just be dangerously unstable, but actually already on fire in multiple locations.

Al-Udeid, located in the Qatari desert, is home to some 10,000 U.S. troops and is a crucial hub in the fight against Islamic State group extremists in Syria and Iraq.

"The company is in dialogue with the relevant authorities and assessing the potential impact on its operations", MSC said. This means even if Qatar Airways isn't grounded, it would be subject to heavy air-traffic congestion. Sheikh Hamad became emir through a palace coup in 1995 and expanded his nation's presence on the worldwide scene through negotiating hostage releases, briefly flirting with diplomatic ties to Israel, hosting a Taliban office and creating Al-Jazeera.

Qatar is the world's leading LNG exporter and supplies 80 million tonnes annually by sea.

In an apparent sign of support, Turkey's parliament will debate on Wednesday a bill that would allow deploying troops to a Turkish base in Qatar.

Riyadh also accused Doha of supporting Iran-backed "terrorist activities" in eastern Saudi Arabia and in Shiite-majority Bahrain. As the move to sever ties is stronger than the previous one, it would increase problems and difficulties of people in GCC countries especially in Qatar. Trump spoke to the Saudi king Tuesday, the White House said, delivering a very similar message.

Qatar has an independent streak that has often angered its neighbours, attracting criticism for supporting Islamist rebels in Syria, and in 2013, the Afghan Taliban opened a Doha office.

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