Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

UAE denies hacking Qatar news agency

The UAE was not responsible for an alleged hack of Qatari websites which helped spark a month-long diplomatic rift with Doha, the UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs said on Monday. But it has denied aiding jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda or so-called Islamic State (IS).

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism based on its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Taliban. Four Arab states claimed that economic boycott against Qatar will remain in place until the country changes its policies for the better.

The Gulf crisis is the worst to hit the region since the establishment of the GCC in 1981. The Saudis and Emiratis were interested in settling scores with Qatar, they interpreted Trump's embrace in Riyadh a couple days earlier as a green light for them to do what they liked, and they just needed to fabricate a reason to launch their punitive campaign.

"We do see signs now, however, that our pressure is working", Gargash said.

"We need a regional solution and worldwide monitoring", he added while making remarks in London.

So, why now? It may have had something to do with Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia in May, in which he praised Saudi leaders for fighting terrorism, urged a crackdown against terrorist financing, and gave a strongly anti-Iran speech in the capital of Iran's arch-enemy.

"The difference is that the Saudi government realises it does have an issue and the Saudi government is acting over the last years to deal with this issue", he said. Instead, he said the quartet meant to put the issue on the back burner to focus on trying to resolve the crises in Libya and Yemen.

Later that day, the official Qatar News Agency quoted Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as criticising United States "hostility" towards Iran, describing it as an "Islamic power that can not be ignored", and calling Hamas the "legitimate representative of the Palestinian people".

US intelligence agencies confirmed in May that the UAE government discussed a plan to breach Qatar government websites, according to the Post. The ambassadors said that the current diplomatic actions are being taken after Doha presented a complaint to the Civil Aviation Organisation regarding the decision to ban Qatari aircrafts from flying in the airspaces of the four countries.

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