Crisis in Qatar Disrupting Flights Result of Fake News Planted by Enemies

While conflict with Israel gets the most press in the U.S., the primary conflict in the Mideast is between Saudi Arabia (along with Turkey) seeking Sunni influence in the region and working to counter Shia Iran. The conflict in Syria, for instance, is largely a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Saudis have fought Iran-backed rebels in Yemen over the past several years.

Qatar hosts a major US military installation, but has also been accused of supporting terrorism. Saudi Arabia, of course, fits that same description. Tensions between Qatar and other regional powers especially Saudi Arabia are hardly new. While Shia Islam is a minority in Qatar, it’s hardly an oppressed minority. Saudi Arabia was emboldened after the U.S. President’s visit there in May.

Comments were recently broadcast by Qatar state media suggesting that Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was in support of Iran and Hezbollah (and suggesting that Donald Trump wouldn’t remain in power long). These comments were the predicate for the effective blockade against Qatar by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region.


Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

Flights in and out of Qatar have become more difficult. Airlines like Etihad, Emirates, and Gulf Air aren’t flying to Doha. And the severing of relations has created limits on Qatari-registered aircraft flying through the airspace of some of the countries involved.

Qatar does not have its own flight information region, it’s within the Bahrain region. The Doha terminal control area is from ground to 24,500 feet, and above 24,500 feet is the Bahrain Upper Information Region. Traffic is re-routing primarily via Iran. There are only two routes for air traffic in and out of Qatar.

It turns out that the comments attributed to Qatar’s Emir, which were disavowed, were faked — the result of UAE hacking Qatar state media, according to US intelligence agencies. (HT: Hans Mast)

The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing upheaval between Qatar and its neighbors, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Officials became aware last week that newly analyzed information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that on May 23, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation. The officials said it remains unclear whether the UAE carried out the hacks itself or contracted to have them done.


Hamad International Airport, Doha

The underlying issues between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors remain. And while the U.S. would normally be a countervailing force holding these powers in check, the President’s public statements of support or Saudi Arabia and critical of Qatar have undermined the Secretary of State’s efforts to bring about a rapprochement.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Hmm…. the link to washington post required subscription. On the other hand, does it mean US President has been supporting a side which later proofed had been forging evidence to support its accusation?

  2. Your headline and post mentions hacking by Saudi Arabia, but I see no mention of it in the quoted paragraph. Am I missing something here?

  3. If you have seen credible reporting that Saudi Arabia is behind the falsified statements that were the result of the hack into the Qatari government websites, you should have included it in your post. You quote the first sentence of the Washington Post’s report as stating, “The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing upheaval between Qatar and its neighbors, according to U.S. intelligence officials.”

    Nowhere in that article does it state that Saudi Arabia was behind the hack; in fact, the Washington Post report states “It remains unclear whether the others [ed. note: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, et. al.] also participated in the plan.” There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia is the leader of the group of nations taking action against Qatar, but you have not supported the statements you make in your headline and in your post with any evidence or credible, well-sourced reporting that Saudi Arabia is actually responsible for the hacking itself. (And your HT link points to a photography blog.)

    (I generally am annoyed at the trolls who look to pounce at anything they tenuously perceive as “clickbait” in your blog, which I read regularly because I find it informative and useful. However, in this case, I believe a correction is in order.)

  4. Trump’s embrace of the Saudis was very ill-considered. Does anyone remember where the 9/11 perpetrators came from? Apparently Trump does not. The sooner they run out of oil and sink back into the desert the better IMHO.

  5. Yeah but they gave him a really big medal and let him touch their crystal ball.

  6. While it was clear from the beginning that the UAE or Saudi were behind or at least were supportive of the hack, especially for the people who live in Qatar, this confirms our suspicions.
    It is indeed sad that the president can be manipulated (bought) so easily by a few gifts and flattery. Yes he did back the Saudi and Emirati, even if the state department and the defense department were telling him not to do so.”But the Saudi were so nice and generous and treated me with so much respect…so of course they are the good guys!”

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