Russian hackers 'planted false story' behind Qatar crisis

Nabeel Rajab, one of the country's most high-profile activists, is now on trial for a series of tweets criticising a Saudi-led Arab military campaign in Yemen.

Despite the seeming fallout from President Donald Trump's tweets suggesting that Qatar, a Middle East ally that hosts 10,000 U.S. troops, was justifiably isolated by its Gulf neighbors, the Pentagon has yet to see any changes in its relations with the Gulf state, two USA officials told BuzzFeed News.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said there would be more curbs if necessary, and that Qatar needed to make ironclad commitments to change what critics say is a policy on funding Islamist militants.

President Donald Trump is backing Saudi Arabia and other Mideast nations in taking what he says is a "hardline" on Qatar, and said perhaps the rift will be "the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism".

It's the worst diplomatic crisis to strike the region since the 1991 Gulf War.

Political shock waves roiled the Persian Gulf, as Saudi Arabia and other Arab states cut all ties with Qatar, accusing the tiny oil state of supporting terror groups and embracing Iran. They know our efforts to combat financial terrorism and terrorism.

Macron spoke yesterday separately with Qatari ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Saudi King Salman and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and "invited all parties to pursue dialogue", Macron's office said.

A Qatari official said Trump in the call had "expressed readiness to find a solution to the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf, and stressed his keenness that the Gulf remains stable".

Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera reported trucks carrying food had begun lining up on the Saudi side of the border, apparently stranded.

UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya reported the crackdown on expressions of sympathy towards Qatar.

The Financial Times also reports that Qatar is said to have paid a massive ransom after members of the royal family were kidnapped, also contributing to the crisis.

Trump said, arguing that his visit to Saudi Arabia was "already paying off".

The two held talks, though details of their discussions were not released. Later, the Maldives and Mauritania broke off diplomatic ties with Doha.

Federal Bureau of Investigation experts visited Qatar in late May to analyse an alleged cyber breach that saw the hackers place the fake story with Qatar's state news agency, the U.S. broadcaster said.

Qatari officials have repeatedly denied the allegations.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for Gulf unity, saying he was ready to back "all initiatives to encourage calm".

Confidence Qatar's state finances is tumbling in the wake of a diplomatic row that has seen neighbouring states such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain cut ties.

He avoided criticizing the president Tuesday while stressing the need for cooperation in the Middle East.

And, as a show of support of Qatar, Turkey's parliament approved a draft bill allowing its troops to a base in Qatar.

  • Leroy Wright