Johannesburg – The ongoing Gulf Crisis between Saudi Arabia (KSA), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, non-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country Egypt, and Qatar continues with KSA attempting to once again smear Qatar with a false media report on the 16th anniversary of the Twin Tower attacks.
On Sunday, the New York Times debunked information spread by official Saudi media outlets a day earlier claiming the Islamic State (IS) had expressed support for Qatar in the Gulf crisis.
The US publication said the IS statement aiming to link Qatar to terrorism was "apparently fake", reported Al Jazeera.
This was reportedly yet another attempt by Riyadh to spread false information about Qatar.
In August, Dubai TV falsely reported that Qatari troops had fired teargas at protesters during anti-government demonstrations in the capital Doha.
The false media reports are part of an ongoing dispute between Qatar and its neighbours - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain - as well as Egypt.
On June 5, the quartet cut diplomatic ties with Doha and imposed an air, sea and land blockade on Qatar - accusing it of supporting Iran and "extremists" in the region – an allegation strongly denied by Qatar.
However, questions are being raised as to whether the smear campaign by the Saudis could be an attempt at subterfuge by diverting media attention away from recent reports in the American media about the Saudi Embassy’s possible links to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York’s Twin Towers.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, two were from the UAE, one was from Egypt and one from Lebanon.
"This shows that Saudis are doing their best to divert the attention from reports by The New York Post and The Independent saying that the Saudi embassy in Washington did, in fact, have ties to some of the hijackers of the 9/11 attacks," said Marwan Kabalan, director of policy analysis at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.
The Gulf crisis began in May following the hacking of Qatar News Agency's website when comments falsely attributed to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani were broadcast by both UAE-based broadcasters Sky News Arabia and Al Arabiya.
Furthermore, hopes that there would be progress in diplomatically resolving the crisis were dashed last week following a telephone call between the Qatari leader and the Saudi crown prince.
During the call the two sides discussed holding talks to resolve the Qatar crisis. However, Saudi Arabia subsequently accused Qatar of distorting facts about the call, and said it was ending talks.