Trump speaks to Saudi king as Gulf crisis deepens

US military officials, also speaking anonymously to discuss political issues, said the Al Udeid airbase in Qatar is vital to American air support against Iranian paramilitaries and Iranian-backed forces on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war.

The call comes the day after Trump spoke by phone about the crisis with Saudi Arabia's King Salman. He had earlier claimed credit for the pressure placed on Qatar saying his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was "already paying off".

He accused Qatar of being "the main champion of extremism and terrorism in the region". Six other governments also have suspended diplomatic ties.

"The Ministry said the investigation team confirmed that the piracy process had used high techniques and innovative methods by exploiting an electronic gap on the website of the Qatar News Agency", the foreign ministry said in a statement. Kuwait has been mediating among the countries and Turkey has offered to as well.

"And we hope that our brother Qatar will now take the right steps in order to end this crisis".

U.S. investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar's state news agency and planted a fake report that contributed to the crisis, according to USA officials briefed on the investigation.

An outspoken Emirati ruling family member, the writer and political analyst Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, even raised the prospect of Qatar's leadership changing.

Officials said the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the United States and its allies.

But Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman al-Than said there was "no evidence that the Qatar government is supporting radical Islamists". In recent months, suspected Russian cyberactivities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries.

The West African country of Mauritania has joined the swelling ranks of the countries cold-shouldering Qatar.

"This is not about regime change - this is about change of policy, change of approach", Gargash said, as per AFP.

  • Leroy Wright