Small but wealthy countries are changing arms and grounds in the ongoing political struggle between Qatar and its major neighboring countries.
The talk started with narrative and reached the boycotts through restrictions, but now this fight is being fought with new weapons like bots, fakes news and hacking.
The two major countries in Qatar, which are actually in the field, are Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
On 24th May, 2017, a news report was published on Qatar’s official news agency ‘QNA’ website.
The report was that ‘Rich Sheikh Tameem bin Hamad Althani of the country gave a startling speech.’
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From there, Sheikh Tameem bin Hamad Althani’s statement was posted on ‘QNA’ social media accounts.
And then the news agency’s YouTube account begins to appear on the tickers of the video being uploaded.
In this statement, Qatar’s wealthy was described as praising the Islamic group ‘Hamas’, ‘Hezbullah’ and ‘Muslim Brotherhood’.
Even more controversial things happened on that day. In the statement, people also saw that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Althani was praising Iran’s enemy nation for Iran.
But this news soon disappeared from the website of ‘QNA’ and the Qatar Foreign Ministry issued a statement denying this fact.
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Accusations on the UAE
It was said in the statement that Qatar’s rich had never given such a speech.
No such video was ever exposed in which the rich people of Qatar were saying something that was spread on their name.
Qatar claimed that the website of ‘QNA’ was hacked and that hacking was done with the intent of spreading false news about its leader and his foreign policy.
Qatar specifically attributed this to the United Arab Emirates.
Later, the ‘Washington Post’ newspaper also confirmed the allegations of Qatar accusing American intelligence sources. However, the UAE had dismissed these reports altogether.
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Commotion on the statement of the rich
But the ruckus that was supposed to be raised by this alleged speech of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Althani has happened.
Within a few minutes, Saudi Arabia and UAE’s TV channels ‘Al-Arabia’ and ‘Sky News Arabia’ started showing prominence in al-Thani’s statement.
Both the news network accused the extremists of Qatar of providing Mali help and spreading instability in the area.
A few days after this incident, another incident of alleged hacking happened. This time the target was on the UAE.
In the United States, the United Arab Emirates’s ambassador Yusuf al-Otaiba was leaked to the email press.
For several days in the international media, Yusuf al-Otaiba has been spreading various kinds of things about his personal life.
Qatar had rejected the demand for banning the news channel Al-Jazeera
On June 5, 2017, nine countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, broke their relations with Qatar.
These countries started removing the Qatari people from here, diplomatic relations were postponed.
Qatar’s land border was blocked, the road to air traffic was stopped and all businesses were closed.
And among all these Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman kept 13 demands in front of Qatar. To complete these, Qatar was granted a 10-day moratorium.
These demands were the key to breaking the relationship with Iran and the issue of closure of the Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera.
Donald J. Trump
So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding …
7:06 pm – 6 June 2017
43 thousand people are talking about this
Donald J. Trump
… extremism, and all the reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the end of the horror of terrorism!
7:14 pm – 6 June 2017
54.6 thousand people are talking about this
After becoming President, Donald Trump traveled to Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip. There he welcomed the action being taken on Qatar.
Trump said that his anti-extremist policies are being implemented and this is proof of that. Following the statement of Trump, the propaganda war continued on the Twitter tweeter
In the support and opposition of Qatar, both sides have seen the Hashtag campaign running.
Hashtag campaigns such as Twitter #Tamim_The_Glorious and #QatarIsNotAlone have been run from Qatar. These hashtags were visible in Twitter’s Gulf Trends.
It is seen as a symbol of the feelings of the people of the Gulf region. But the front was also open from the other side.
The popular hashtag against Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Althani was #GaddafioftheGulf They were compared to Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.
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Battle of Boats
In a Arabic investigation, it was found that most of the tweets being done with these hashtags were being made from fax accounts.
These fakes on Twitter are called account bots. These are the kind of automated Twitter handles whose purpose is to artificially convert people into ideas.
Ben Neo is a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council. He has thoroughly investigated the trending hashtags and its nuances so that its sources can be traced.
They found that Twitter Boats adopts a variety of ways, sometimes they need a sudden bounce in their internet traffic or hashtags.
For this, Twitter Boats themselves use that hashtag or post.
Meaning of power struggle in Saudi Arabia
Action of twitter
#Tamim_The_Glorious hashtag @sabaqksa was re-tweeted 201 times from the Twitter handle and that too within a few seconds.
Ben Neemo explains that this is not a common trend. Twitter had suspend handles with @sabaqksa. The BBC Arabic service could not contact its owner.
This hashtag posted 1410 times from almost 100 Twitter handles and all of it was done within five hours.
Ben says that it is difficult to believe that a person can post or re-twitter on this speed.
When such large number of fax accounts are activated simultaneously on Twitter, it is called ‘bots nets’.
These photoshopped images of Qatar’s wealthy were spread by Twitter Bots
The insult of Qatar’s rich
But Ben Neemo says that Twitter bots were used on behalf of the anti-Qatar front.
Through these, the abusive pictures of Qatar’s rich were spread.
Such tweets against Qatar started with the same Twitter handle @ saudq1978.
This Twitter handle is associated with Saud al-Qahfani, a key member of the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia. They are also Crown Prince’s advisors.
He has more than a million twitter followers on Twitter, and he is seen as a major twitter celebrity in the Gulf region.
Saud al-Qahtani is also the advisor to Crown Prince Salman
The quarrel does not seem to be resolved …
Hashtag #GaddafiOfTheGulf’s Top Five Tweets were made from this Twitter handle.
This Twitter handle was accused of killing the common people and paying money for extremist activities in the Libyan war in Qatar.
The Arabic Arabic service of the BBC tried hard to know Saud Al-Qahtani’s side on this issue but there was no response from them.
Meanwhile, in many debates on the boycott of Qatar or the blockade of Qatar, a lot depends on what aspect you are talking to.
Despite all the arbitration attempts from the United States, the dispute is not yet resolved.
Al-Arabia TV has claimed in its reports that the Qatari people are going through food crisis
There is no political battle …
Hashtags associated with conflict have been made in Twitter Trends and hacking activities are also going on in 2018. The news channels in this area are still involved in the game of charge-allegations.
These channels tried to present the impact of the crisis on people in different ways.
The Al-Arabia TV channel showed that the people of Qatar were facing food crisis and the shops showed empty shelves.
But al-Jazeera was showing Qatari people a common life.
“This is not only a political battle but it is also a media war,” says Deena Matar, a Arab media savvy. The problems that are in the West are also in the Arab world.
“Fake News is everywhere: Arab world politicians are well aware of the importance of the media, so the media has become a weapon.”