Led by Saudi Arabia, several states in the Middle East and Africa have severed ties with Qatar since June 5, accusing the gas-rich Gulf state of supporting terrorism and Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.

The UAE was behind a series of hacks that sparked regional discord and isolated Qatar from its neighbors, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
The UAE was behind a series of hacks that sparked regional discord and isolated Qatar from its neighbors, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism based on its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Taliban.

Another point of departure is Qatar's ties with Iran, with whom it shares one of the world's biggest gas fields.

Qatar has denied the accusations and called the collective decision "unjustified." Kuwait, Turkey and the US have all urged a political solution as the bloc isolates Qatar using various ad hoc sanctions, including shutting down their airspace to Qataris and blocking import routes.

The dispute began in May when Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was reported to have made statements on the state news agency supporting Iran. Doha said the statements were fabricated and disseminated via a hack.

Here are the latest developments in the crisis:

July 17, Monday

Egypt ends visa-free entry for Qataris

The Egyptian foreign ministry says there will be no more visa-free entry for Qatari nationals, with some exceptions.

"It does not make sense to keep making exceptions for Qatar and giving it privileges in light of its current positions," foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said.

UAE minister denies any hacking of Qatar

The UAE was not responsible for an alleged hack of Qatari websites which helped spark a month-long diplomatic rift with Doha, the UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs said on Monday.

Speaking at a forum in London, Anwar Gargash also said the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or with Qatar.

UAE wants international monitoring of Qatar

A senior UAE official said international monitoring was needed in the standoff between Qatar and its Arab neighbours, adding he saw signs that the pressure exerted on Doha "was working."

"We need a regional solution and international monitoring," Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said.

"We need to be certain that Qatar, a state with $300 billion in reserves, is no longer an official or unofficial sponsor of jihadist and terrorist causes," he said, giving no further detail on the proposed monitoring.

July 16, Sunday

UAE arranged for hacking of Qatar government sites: The Washington Post

The UAE arranged for Qatari government social media and news sites to be hacked in late May in order to post fiery but false quotes linked to Qatar's emir, prompting a diplomatic crisis, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing US intelligence officials.

Qatar said in late May that hackers had posted fake remarks by the emir, an explanation rejected by Gulf states.

The Post reported that US intelligence officials learned last week of newly analysed information that showed that top UAE government officials discussed the planned hacks on May 23, the day before they occurred.

The officials said it was unclear if the UAE hacked the websites or paid for them to be carried out, the newspaper reported. The Post did not identify the intelligence officials it spoke to for the report.

UAE Ambassador Yousef al Otaiba denied the report in a statement, saying it was "false," the Post said.

For more on previous developments, click here.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies