UAE denies Qatar media hack that set off diplomatic crisis

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 17, 2017

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was behind a series of hacks that sparked regional discord and isolated Qatar from its neighbors, according to a media report Sunday, quoted by Anadolu Agency.

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

"What is true is Qatar's behaviour", he added. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbours", the statement said.

That came after Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, was quoted online calling Iran - a key rival to Saudi Arabia - an Islamic power and describing Qatari relations with Israel as good.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on 5 June.

Earlier on Monday, the UAE's foreign minister Anwar Gargash told an audience at London think tank Chatham House there was no truth to the allegations made by both Qatar and The Washington Post, which cited information newly analysed by United States intelligence services.

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

"The Washington Post story today that we actually hacked the Qataris is also not true", he told the London-based think-tank Chatham House.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told the BBC on Monday the Post's report was "untrue".

US President Donald Trump visited the region the next day, meeting with Gulf leaders in Riyadh, and the operation was put into action later the same day.

Officials also noted that it is not yet known whether or not the UAE committed the hack itself, or contracted another party to have them carried out.

With US spy agencies now apparently briefing against them, Qatar's antagonists may conclude US sympathy for their position is rapidly dwindling.

The hacks took place almost two weeks earlier on May 24, one day after senior Emirati officials allegedly discussed the plan.

Qatar has been subjected to a diplomatic and economic blockade that the USA government says could compromised U.S. efforts against so-called Islamic State. "They [the UAE] claim that basically their demands from Qatar are legitimate and they insist that they should be fulfilled nearly as a diktat instead of sitting at a table and negotiating some legitimate differences that they might have with Doha, and somehow, unfortunately, Saudi Arabia has followed suit", said Jahshan.

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