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

Frederick Owens
July 17, 2017

"We need a regional solution and global monitoring", said Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in prepared remarks he was scheduled to deliver on Monday in London, Reuters reported. Gargash also denied reports that the UAE had threatened Federation Internationale de Football Association over continuing to allow Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.

It was not clear whether the UAE hacked the Qatari sites itself or paid another entity to do so, the Post added.

The United Arab Emirates warned Qatar on Monday it could not belong to the Gulf Cooperation Council if it undermined regional security, calling for a "change of behaviour" but not "regime change".

The UAE is seeking a regional solution for the Qatar crisis, while consulting with global partners on ways to resolve Arab concerns about Doha's links to extremist and terror groups.

The reported evidence shows that on May 23, senior UAE officials discussed the implementation of the hack, which saw statements falsely attributed to Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, being run by QNA in a text-ticker on-air and on social media.

He went on to accuse Qatar of "funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Gaddafi".

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The goal of the hacking was to embed false news stories of an incendiary nature that led to the current Gulf crisis.

Qatar said at the time that it had been hacked by unknown entities.

The UAE's envoy to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, reacted to the post by saying the article was "false" and the country "had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described" there. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbours".

"You can not be both our friend and a friend of al-Qaeda".

The UAE has welcomed the US-Qatar agreement to stem funding for terrorism, seeing that it was a positive development. 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. "But the issue is that we are being hurt, and the world is being hurt, by a state that has $300bn (£230bn) and is the main sponsor of this jihadist agenda".

Gargash said the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or Qatar.

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