Previous investigations at the time of the regional rift pointed to the Emirates involvement in hacking QNA.
The United Arab Emirates has reportedly unblocked several Qatari news websites following the 2017 Gulf Cooperation Council crisis as Doha News remains embargoed, Al-Monitor reported on Tuesday.
Some of the websites that the UAE appeared to have unblocked include Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera English, Qatar’s state news agency (QNA) and The New Arab.
However, independent English media outlet Doha News (dohanews.co) and Middle East Eye continue to be restricted in Abu Dhabi, per the Al-Monitor report.
The development comes amid the warming of ties between Qatar and the UAE following the 2017 GCC crisis, triggered by the hacking of QNA.
At the time, hackers had attributed fake statements to Qatar’s amir that were aired on UAE and Saudi networks.
US Intelligence found at the time that the UAE might have either hacked QNA or contracted hackers to conduct it.
Weeks after the hack, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an air, land, and sea blockade on Qatar over claims that it supported terrorism.
Qatar had vehemently rejected the claims and dismissed them as “baseless”.
While the region’s worst rift ended with the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration in 2021, Qatar and the UAE’s ties gradually picked up, though at a slower pace in comparison to Saudi Arabia.
More frequent meetings between officials and leaders of both countries have been taking place since last year.
Several investigations that were published even after Al-Ula found UAE-led misinformation campaigns against Qatar.
Last year, an Eekad investigation exposed the Emirati hand involved in the QLeaks platform, which was at the forefront of what appeared to be a major disinformation campaign against Qatar.
More recently, a data leak unveiled a network of influence in France acting on behalf of the UAE to push information linking Qatar to the Muslim Brotherhood.
A report by French investigative outlet Mediapart was published on Wednesday, dissecting the possible Emirati influence in Paris in an apparent misinformation campaign against Qatar.
“The objective is also to influence the press and publish false articles attacking Qatar and the movements linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, supported by the media and financially by the gas emirate,” the report said.
The report echoed findings from other investigations looking into the UAE’s lobbying in France.
Last year, an investigation by Orient XXI found that the UAE was “discretely” lobbying a key partner in France in an effort to present Qatar in a negative light.
The probe had further outlined the UAE’s push to promote Qatar’s alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood, regularly accusing it of financing the group and also associating the movement “with terrorism” as part of its “cognitive war.”