Qatari crisis: Russia-planted 'fake news' report may be behind diplomatic issues

  • 07/06/2017
Doha Qatar city generic (Getty)
The diplomatic crisis has seen several Arab cut ties with the state. Photo credit: Getty / file

Several Middle Eastern countries have cut their ties with Qatar due to its alleged support of terrorism - but the information which prompted the clash may have been fake and planted by Russian hackers.

The diplomatic crisis has seen several Arab powers including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with the state, including banning Qatari nationals from travelling through the countries.

It's all over a claim Qatar supports terrorism, which has been vehemently denied by Qatari officials.

"All these issues are based on fabricated allegations. There is no proof," Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatari ambassador to the US, told Al Jazeera.

"There's proof that Qatar is combatting terrorism."

US officials believe the crisis may have been prompted by Russian hackers, accusing them of breaching Qatar's state news agency and planting a fake news report, according to CNN.

It's not the first time Russia has been accused of meddling in diplomatic affairs. Intelligence agencies also believe Russian hackers influenced the 2016 US elections.

Fake news stories, also suspected to be from Russia, have also popped up during the French and German elections.

CNN reports a US official saying based on past intelligence, "not much happens in [Russia] without the blessing of the government."

Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, said on Monday (local time) that for Qatar to restore its tie with the other nations, it needs to end its support for the Palestinian group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

He said current measures by the Arab states, including a sea, land and air blockade, would have a considerable cost on the country.