UAE threatens to imprison Qatar sympathisers

The country's military has been put on its highest alert level after an economic and diplomatic blockade was placed on it by other Gulf State nations over its alleged support for terrorists.

The emir of Kuwait is mediating in the dispute and the president of Turkey has also offered to help, but the UAE tightened the squeeze on Qatar on Wednesday.

Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss the situation.

Its ambassador to Washington, Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani has said he still does not know why the Gulf State neighbours have cut links with Qatar.

In a phone call with Al Thani, Trump said he wanted to help Qatar and its Arab neighbors resolve the row that has upended any sense of Gulf unity, suggesting a possible White House summit among leaders.

Qatar has strongly denied supporting terrorism and has condemned the move, largely spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, to isolate it. Meanwhile, Turkey's parliament approved sending troops to an existing Turkish base in Qatar as a sign of support.

Speaking in Berlin, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir also said efforts would be made to resolve the conflict within the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The gas-rich emirate´s satellite news giant Al-Jazeera has also emerged as a point of contention, and on Thursday the broadcaster said it was battling a major cyber attack. Several other countries followed suit.

In a series of three Twitter posts Tuesday, Trump seemed to take credit for the Saudi-led move to isolate Qatar, which hosts the largest USA military base in the Middle East.

The agency noted a substantial rise in the nonresident deposits in the banks of Qatar, and a surge in their providing loans to the government for funding infrastructure projects. Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said that Qatar had benefited from a mixture of "money and media and partisanship and extremism".

One US intelligence official said that while Russia has the expertise and an incentive to sow division among Arab states allied with the United States, Russian hackers were available for hire to other countries and criminal groups.

Trump's tweets seem to have been issued in haste without consideration for United States ties to Qatar which is home to an important U.S. air base.

  • Zachary Reyes