US Intelligence Claims Russian Hackers to Blame for Gulf Crisis

But GCC unity is a key pillar of USA interests in the region and a key component of countering terrorism.

Gabriel earlier told the "Handelsblatt" newspaper he was concerned about escalating tensions and the US' strategy of "pure confrontation" with Iran, including arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Six other governments also have suspended diplomatic ties.

His comments took on further strength as the UAE's Justice Ministry warned social media users that they can face three to 15 years in prison time and fines starting from 500,000 dirhams ($136,000) for offering sympathy for Qatar.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister is calling for Qatar to end "its support for extremist groups" and its "interference" in other countries in the region. "In all battlefields, there are adversaries", the foreign minister said.

"We are in talks with Turkey and Iran and other countries", Reuters quoted the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.

"We believe this will exacerbate Qatar's external vulnerabilities and could put pressure on economic growth and fiscal metrics", the ratings agency said.

With U.S. President Donald Trump taking credit for the Arab world's move to isolate Qatar, the U.S. may be destroying the small country militarily.

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"During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology".

The "supreme committee" responsible for building the 2022 World Cup facilities did not issue a public statement but a source acknowledged that the seriousness of the crisis is greater than any formidable challenges Qatar has faced since winning the vote in 2010 from FIFA's now discredited executive committee, The Guardian said.

Gabriel said after meeting with al-Jubeir that Germany was willing to mediate in the diplomatic spat, which he said threatened to weaken the global coalition against the so-called "Islamic State".

Its emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, on Wednesday arrived in Doha, where he was received by his Qatari counterpart, Kuwait´s official KUNA news agency said.

On Tuesday, he went to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on a "fraternal visit" to mediate in the crisis, according to the state-run Kuwait News Agency.

Putin had a telephone conversation with the emir of Qatar Tuesday, urging dialogue.

Separately, Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the upper chamber of parliament, on Wednesday dismissed the accusations as "an attempt to push the USA against Russian Federation as key players in the Middle East".

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His government hopes this "unfortunate phase will be overcome and the crisis will be resolved on solid grounds that guarantee that all Arab states cooperate to build a better future for our people". Despite this, the Saudi and UAE press showed an nearly unequivocal desire to dismiss the hacking story, instead accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism in the form of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain are among seven states that have cut diplomatic ties and many major transport links with Qatar, a gas-rich emirate on the Saudi border. This, the sources reportedly said, was possibly done to create a rift between the USA and its Gulf allies.

The official statement reads as follows: "The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority has taken the decision to close all offices of Qatar Airways in the United Arab Emirates with immediate effect".

"The nations of the Middle East can not wait for American power to crush this enemy for them".

Qatar's relations with Iran also became the catalyst for the country's isolation in the region, as Iran is one of key enemies of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has said that Qatar is a "brother state" and that punitive steps against it were a well-intentioned effort to stop its support for "extremism".

Defense Secretary James Mattis also spoke to his counterpart in Qatar to express United States commitment to security.

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