“Fake news” warfare? It’s very possible. However this incident speaks to the increasing tensions we are seeing in the Persian Gulf with Shiite Iran and Suni Saudi Arabia the key nodes, and Qatar the current (political) battleground. Add in Turkey (Qatar was once an Ottoman outpost and Turkey has been cuddling up with Qatar lately) and the US (which operates a large air force base in on the peninsula) plus the largest known cache of natural gas in the world and one can see why this is an area worth paying attention to.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called what he said was Qatar’s demand for an internationalization of the Muslim hajj pilgrimage a declaration of war against the kingdom, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Sunday, but Qatar said it never made such a call.
“Qatar’s demands to internationalize the holy sites is aggressive and a declaration of war against the kingdom,” Adel al-Jubeir was quoted saying on Al Arabiya’s website.
“We reserve the right to respond to anyone who is working on the internationalization of the holy sites,” he said.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said no official from his country had made such a call.
“We are tired of responding to false information and stories invented from nothing,” Sheikh Mohammed told Al Jazeera TV.