U.S. sources have said that fake news and false quotes maliciously planted by an agent of the UAE are behind the current tensions in the Gulf.
As relations between Qatar and its neighbors reach their nadir, senior American officials have said that they believe that fake news is the cause of escalating diplomatic tensions in the Gulf region, NBC reports.
U.S. intelligence authorities say that quotes attributed to Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, the country’s emir, were actually planted by an agent of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) across a variety of Qatari news and social media outlets. This situation was confirmed by unnamed sources speaking to the Washington Post, who reported that American officials had heard UAE officials speaking of this plan earlier this spring.
These quotes, made in late May, have the emir controversially praising both Hamas and Iran.
Since being released, they have prompted a number of Middle Eastern nations, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to place an embargo on all travel to and from Qatar.
However, Yousef al-Otaiba, UAE’s ambassador to the U.S., has released a statement, refuting his nation’s involvement in the current situation.
Calling the report in the paper “false,” he said, “The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the [Washington Post] article. What is true is Qatar’s behavior. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi. Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors.”
In response, Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri, the spokesperson for the Qatari Embassy in Washington, said, “Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack.”
The UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have cut all diplomatic and transport links with Qatar in the face of the ongoing crisis.