Federal Bureau of Investigation suspects Russian hackers sparked Qatar crisis

Federal Bureau of Investigation suspects Russian hackers sparked Qatar crisis

Russian Federation rejected reports it hacked into the Qatari state news agency and planted fake stories to exacerbate a rift between Middle Eastern states.

Just weeks ago Trump smiled and shook hands with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, saying "we are friends, we have been friends for a long time now".

The ongoing Qatar crisis could have stemmed from a fake news story that the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes was planted by Russian hackers.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on June 6 that Qatar needs to take several steps, including ending its support of the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, to restore ties with the Arab states.

Triggering the Arab world's biggest crisis in years, they accused the tiny Gulf state of harboring extremist groups and suggested Qatar supported the agenda of Riyadh's arch-rival, Iran.

Nance said the risk of Trump's decision to pick sides in the fight is that Qatar could potentially ask the USA - which has Al Udeid Air Base and 11,000 military personnel in the country - to leave.

Trump publicly accused key regional ally Qatar of funding extremism, while tacitly backing a blockade of the emirate, home to the Al-Udeid Air Base near Doha where around 10,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed. "It's as if life has been flipped on its head", said al-Fassi, the Saudi professor who teaches Gulf Affairs and Women's Studies at Qatar University.

A State Department official told AP earlier in the day that despite the presence of 8,000 USA troops in Qatar, Washington won't try to mediate the dispute because it is better for countries in the region to resolve the conflict among themselves.

In a September 1963 cable from the American Consul in the Saudi city of Dhahran to the Department of State, the subject of settling the Saudi Arabia-Qatar border was treated as a problem akin to noticing they'd switched Tupperware after a potluck ...

That announcement came hours after President Trump took credit for Saudi Arabia's decision to cut diplomatic ties with the Persian Gulf neighbor.

It warned it could further lower Qatar's rating "if additional or more severe restrictions from either Saudi Arabia and the group of states, or from additional trade partners, are announced".

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told CNN that FBI investigators have confirmed that the agency was hacked and a fake article was inserted into the agency's system.

- Iraq is not taking sides in the dispute that pits Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries against Qatar, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi told a news conference on Tuesday in Baghdad. After "examining the cause" of the crisis, the Jordanian government also made a decision to revoke licenses for the Doha-based broadcaster Al Jazeera. Qatar has strenuously denied the allegations. They also cut off food shipments to Qatar, prompting a dash to supermarkets for residents - although for now it seems that Doha has the economic resources to weather the storm in the short-term.

Jubeir said Riyadh severed ties with Doha due to Qatari policies, which harmed the region especially the Gulf states.

However, the political standoff, if prolonged, could affect Qatar's efforts to emerge as a regional financial hub and host the World Cup games in 2022, the consultancy Eurasia Group says.

"Mauritania's positions have always reflected our firm belief in the need to strengthen cooperation and solidarity among brothers and to confront any threat to security and stability in our Arab homeland", the statement said.

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