The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates denied Monday a report in The Washington Post that said the Emirates was behind the posting of false stories on Qatari news websites that sparked the regional fallout between four Saudi-led Arab countries and Qatar.
Anwar Gargash, the Emirates foreign minister, told the BBC the Post report was “untrue.” In a statement posted on Twitter, Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to Washington, also dismissed the Post’s reporting:
Amb. Yousef Al Otaiba: "The @washingtonpost story is false. UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article".— UAE Embassy US (@UAEEmbassyUS) July 17, 2017
(1/2) Amb. Al Otaiba:"What is true is #Qatar’s behavior. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas & Qadafi"— UAE Embassy US (@UAEEmbassyUS) July 17, 2017
(2/2) Amb. Al Otaiba:"[#Qatar] Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors".— UAE Embassy US (@UAEEmbassyUS) July 17, 2017
At issue are Qatari news reports in May that quoted Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the country’s emir, as criticizing Saudi Arabia, praising Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival, describing Qatar’s relations with Israel as “good,” and also lauding Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza. Qatari officials immediately called the remarks fake, adding its news websites were a victim of a “shameful cybercrime.” The trouble, though, as regional experts said at the time, was that the comments attributed to Qatar’s emir have long been viewed as Qatar’s policy. Then in June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar, citing its support of terrorism. They expelled Qatari citizens from their countries, recalled their citizens from Qatar, and cut off transportation links with the kingdom, which relies on imports brought in by road from Saudi Arabia and from the UAE’s ports. In response, Qatar turned to Iran and Turkey for supplies and support.