Published: Fri, June 09, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Arab powers add people, groups with Qatar links to terrorism lists

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and several other countries cut their diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants and their archfoe Iran - charges that Qatar says are baseless. Qatar has strenuously denied the allegations.

"We were surprised", Ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani said Tuesday, according to The Daily Beast. It follows a previous listing of scores of organizations in 2014 by Saudi Arabia and the UAE during a previous spat with Qatar.

Article 29 of the cybercrime law criminalises any online publication of information "with intent to make sarcasm or damage the reputation, prestige or stature of the state or... any of its symbols". Turkey's parliament, on the other hand, has approved sending troops to an existing Turkish base in Qatar as a sign of support. "They said they would take a hard line on funding ... extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar".

A top Gulf official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP a major concern was the influence of Sheikh Tamim's father, Sheikh Hamad, who had allowed the Taliban to open an office in Doha and helped arm Syrian rebels before abdicating in 2013.

The reports have added to the deterioration of relations between Qatar and its neighbors, who have accused Qatar of funding terrorism.

But Sheikh Mohammed told the AP that Sheikh Tamim "is not going to leave the country while the country is in blockade", in effect turning down the mediation offer.

Qatar's satellite news giant Al-Jazeera has also emerged as a point of contention in the Gulf.

Kuwait's emir has traveled to Qatar and met that country's leader as part of his efforts to mediate an end to a crisis that's seen Arab nations cut ties to the energy-rich country and attempt to isolate it.

The government of Qatar claimed a May 23 report published by Qatar News Agency that quoted the nation's ruler was a result of a hack on the news site. That's even after Kuwait's emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah flew to Qatar to discuss the crisis with officials. "But all those vague accusations without any solid argument we're not really ready to answer".

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