Iran’s English-language broadcaster PressTV this morning is reporting a failed coup attempt in Qatar, citing Saudi-backed channel Al-Arabiya.
But Al Arabiya doesn’t even have that report on its website.
The PressTV report is only one sentence:
A military coup has reportedly been staged against the regime of US-backed Qatari King Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani but has failed.
No one else appears to have this story.
Anyone heard or seen this anywhere else? Is there any truth in it? Or is this just another example of a misinformation campaign targeting the Qatari government?
UPDATE 1: Saudi journalist Ahmed Al Omran reports it is a false story:
Meanwhile, Press TV has added a full article saying the following:
A number of high-ranking military officers rose against the Qatari Emir, triggering fierce clashes between some 30 military officers and US-backed royal guards outside the Emir’s palace, the report said on Tuesday.
Again, an Al Arabiya report is credited as the source of their information, but the story doesn’t appear on their website.
UPDATE 2: Al Arabiya apparently did have the story online earlier, but removed it (presumably due to its inaccuracy):
The Al Arabiya website editor Muhammad Jamal also reportedly tweeted about the story, before deleting those updates:
As @QatariGuy explains:
The incident was supposed to have occured last night, while the Emir was in Italy. The story also looks identical to one that was posted in February of 2011 on Arabic forums like altanaya.net.
UPDATE 3: PressTV have now rewritten their story with the headline "Saudi, Qatari media in power struggle," although it remains unclear what role Qatar’s media had in the story other than calling out false news.
Their idea, apparently, is that Al Arabiya reporting and then deleting inaccurate news is “a new dimension” in “simmering tension between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”
UPDATE 4: Al Arabiya now has a story up saying the article was posted to their website by the Syrian Electronic Army (pro-government hackers).
Why it took almost a day to post that information isn’t addressed. An internet analyst we spoke with also said it would be difficult for hackers to have that much access to Al Arabiya’s content management system unless they had really poor security.
What do you make of all this?
Credit: Thanks for the tip @CanuckInArabia