UAE Hacked Qatar, Sparking Gulf Crisis — US Intelligence

UAE Hacked Qatar, Sparking Gulf Crisis — US Intelligence

Some reports said Saturday that Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt had collectively written to FIFA asking it to remove Qatar as hosts under Article 85 of the FIFA Code, which allows for such action in emergency cases.

A new report by the Washington Post, citing U.S. intelligence, says there is evidence that the United Arab Emirates coordinated the hacking of Qatar's state media agency (QNA), which led to the blockade of the Gulf monarchy.

USA intelligence agencies confirmed in May that the UAE government discussed a plan to breach Qatar government websites, according to the Post. The intelligence sources said it remained unclear whether the UAE carried out the hack itself or paid another entity to do so.

USA intelligence agencies declined to comment on the Post's article, but the UAE's ambassador insisted that it "had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking".

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

Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and allies in Egypt and Bahrain cut trade and political ties with Qatar on 5 June, claiming that Doha meddled in worldwide affairs and funded terrorist organisations.

Qatar rejected the ultimatum by calling it an "unprovoked attack on Qatar's sovereignty" and has denied supporting extremists.

Trump appeared to publically back the Saudi-UAE led efforts to isolate Qatar, however, leading Washington officials such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have quietly supported Doha and tried to end the blockade.

The allegations were made in an article published on Sunday by the Washington Post. Doha denied the accusations.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar are among the world's biggest military spenders, purchasing billions of dollars in equipment from the USA and Europe to beef up their militaries. His visit had yielded little except for a bilateral agreement between the United States and Qatar to fight "terrorism". But the Trump administration shares most Arab governments' fixations with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, so after Trump's visit, they likely assumed their offensive against Qatar would be well-received.

Qatar had repeatedly said that the website of the Qatar News Agency's was hacked but failed to provide the results of its own investigation so far.

Representatives of the Saudi government in the United States, have not commented at this time about the letter.

A senior UAE official said on Monday that global monitoring was needed in the standoff between Qatar and its Arab neighbors, adding he saw signs that the pressure exerted on Doha "was working".

"The United States has the most pressure it can potentially exert on the parties involved, particularly the Saudis and the Emiratis", he said.

"Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack", Qataris Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri said last month.

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