On May 23, 2017, Qatar woke up to news of a hack attributing false statements to the emir of Qatar.
The fake remarks were aired on several UAE and Saudi-owned networks in the Gulf, sparking a diplomatic breakdown.
The incident came just two days after US President Donald Trump met Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh.
On May 24, authorities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE also blocked Al Jazeera’s website.
Saudi Arabia then shut its land borders with Qatar, and together with three other countries imposed a land, sea and air embargo on Qatar.
The four countries have claimed that Qatar worked to support “terrorism”, maintained too-close relations with Iran and meddled in the internal affairs of their countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar responded to the initial announcements by saying that there was “no legitimate justification” for the actions taken by the four countries to sever diplomatic relations. It added that the decision was a “violation of its sovereignty” and that it would work to ensure that it would not affect the citizens and residents of Qatar.
Qatar has repeatedly rejected the accusations levelled against it as “baseless”.
Both the emir of Qatar and the country’s foreign minister have reiterated that Qatar is willing to negotiate with the boycotting countries, and have welcomed calls from international leaders for dialogue.
“The countries who imposed the blockade on the state of Qatar interfere in the internal affairs of many countries, and accuse all those who oppose them domestically and abroad with terrorism. By doing so, they are inflicting damage on the war on terror,” Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said in a speech to the UN General Assembly in September. “We have refused to yield to dictations by pressure and siege.”
Qatar rejected the accusations and list of demands by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. The demands included:
1. Downgrade diplomatic relations with Iran, expel Iranian military representatives from Qatar, and limit economic cooperation.
2. Shut down the Turkish military base under construction in Qatar and cease all military cooperation with Turkey.
3. Sever ties to all “terrorist, sectarian and ideological” groups and add them to current and future “terror lists”.
4. Stop all funding of individuals, groups and organisations designated “terrorists” by the blockading countries, the US and others.
5. Hand over all listed “terrorists” and criminals wanted by the four countries and the US and to share all information about them.
6. Shut down Al Jazeera and all affiliated stations.
7. Stop meddling in other nations’ affairs and naturalising citizens of the four blockading countries. Sever relations with elements opposed to blockading governments and hand over all intelligence gathered on them.
8. Financially compensate the four countries for loss of life, property and income caused by Qatar’s policies over the years.
9. Seek harmony with surrounding countries – militarily, politically, economically, etc – to ensure Gulf security and the application of the 2013/2014 Riyadh Agreement.
10. Hand over all information it holds on opposition elements it supported, with clarifications of the forms of support it gave them.
11. Shut down all news outlets funded directly and indirectly by Qatar, including: Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye.
12. All demands must be agreed to within 10 days or they will become null and void.
13. An agreement with Qatar on these points was to include clear goals and a schedule for reporting on progress (monthly for a year, quarterly for the second year, and annually for 10 years after that).