(AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The Middle East powder keg: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran all see tensions rise

Fake news and a real terrorist attack make the Middle East even more dangerous

Charlie May
June 7, 2017 7:26PM (UTC)

Tensions continue to escalate in the Middle East.

The FBI has sent a team of investigators to Qatar because they believe that Russian hackers are responsible for planting a fake news report that has led to the crisis in which all diplomatic ties to Qatar have been severed by Saudi Arabia and numerous other Gulf nations, according to a CNN report.


"Intelligence gathered by the U.S. security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest U.S. military bases in the region," CNN reported.

U.S. officials have claimed that the motive in the attack was to disrupt alliances between the U.S. and their partners in the Gulf. While the FBI and CIA have declined to comment on the matter, the Qatari embassy said the investigation "is ongoing and its results would be released publicly soon," according to CNN. Russia has since denied all involvement in the alleged hack, calling the CNN story "fake."

The attack allegedly attributed false statements in a story published by the state-run Qatar News Agency on May 23 that were "allegedly made by the young Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani," according to the Washington Post. "The comments affirmed the good relations between Qatar and a number of other countries and organizations, including Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Thani also allegedly noted the importance of Iran as a regional power — an apparent dig at attempts by Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and President Trump to isolate Iran during last month’s summit in Riyadh."

The Qatar News Agency has been offline since the alleged hack occurred and it's not clear if there was only one fake story planted, multiple, or any at all. President Donald Trump also seemed to take credit for the rift between Qatar and multiple Gulf nations over Twitter on Tuesday.

As Qatar faces diplomatic and trade turmoil, Turkish parliament has approved legislation that will send Turkish troops to one of the country's military bases in Qatar, according to Al Jazeera.

"Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has criticised the Arab states' move, saying isolating Qatar and imposing sanctions will not resolve any problems and adding that Ankara will do everything in its power to help end the crisis," Al Jazeera reported.


However tensions have only continued to escalate. ISIS claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in Iran's capital on Wednesday and Iran's Revolutionary Guards have pointed the finger at Saudi Arabia for being involved, according to the Guardian. "This terrorist action, coming one week after the meeting of the president of the United States with the leader of the one of the region’s reactionary governments [Saudi Arabia] … shows they are involved in this savage action,” the IRGC said in a statement, according to the Guardian.

Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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Donald Trump Hacking Qatar Russia Saudi Arabia

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