US Intelligence Alleges UAE Hacked Qatari Government Sites Sparking Crisis

US Intelligence Alleges UAE Hacked Qatari Government Sites Sparking Crisis

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.

The UAE embassy in Washington on Monday sent a series of tweets quoting its ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba, denying the Washington Post report, which was published Sunday and, according to the paper, was based on information provided by unnamed U.S. intelligence officials.

The United Arab Emirates has rejected a report indicating it hacked Qatari government news and social media websites to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar's emir that generated regional turmoil.

The newspaper report, published online Sunday evening, cited unnamed US intelligence officials.

Still, four Arab states - the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain - cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar and issued a list of 13 demands. That is, the UAE - and perhaps its allies - was actively looking for a reason to fight with Qatar, and was willing to go as far as planting false information in order to do it.

Speaking at the Chatham House forum in London on Monday, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash denied the veracity of the claims, the Guardian reported.

"What we really do want is we either reach an agreement and Qatar's behaviour changes, or Qatar makes it own bed and they can move on and we can move with a new relationship".

The US intelligence officials who leaked the claims to the Washington Post knew that they were adding a new layer of drama into what is already an acute crisis in a region that's vital to US military and economic interests. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors".

"Tillerson's spokesperson has said that [Qatar-Gulf crisis negotiations] may be a long process to find any sort of common ground in resolving this conflict", said Zhou-Castro of Al Jazeera. "Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack", Qatari government's attorney general Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri said in a statement last month.

"And now the results are out in public and they confirm that hacking has taken place and the quotes that precipitated this crisis by the emir of Qatar were fabricated and resulting from this hacking".

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