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World

Twitter briefly suspends Al Jazeera Arabic account

By Rudaw 17/6/2017
Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel. File photo: AFP/Getty Images, Karam Jaafar
Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel. File photo: AFP/Getty Images, Karam Jaafar
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region –  Social media platform Twitter suspended the account of Al-Jazeera Arabic briefly Saturday morning in what was feared to be related to a wider diplomatic dispute between Qatar, that owns the channel, and Arab nations.
 
There have not been any explanations as of yet from the Doha-based channel or Twitter.
 
Al Jazeera English tweeted earlier today that "[Al Jazeera Arabic] Twitter account has been suspended. The network is working to address [and] restore its service." It later confirmed that that the account has been "restored."
 
Arab nations have already blocked websites and broadcasts by Doha-based Al Jazeera as tensions between the Gulf countries escalated over what the Arab nations call Qatar's support for "terrorist" groups and having good ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival.
 
Qatar has denied the accusations. 
 
Saudi Arabia leads a number of measures that in practice put a partial blockade against Qatar, forcing it to rely on food and other basic needs imported from Iran and Turkey. 
 
Earlier in the day, the Associated Press reported that another Al Jazeera Arabic account described the move as part of an “organized campaign” targeting it.
 
AP also reported that the US-based Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 
 
Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a member of the royal family and a billionaire, owns a significant amount of Twitter shares.

Tensions between Qatar and mainly Arab gulf nations began when Riyadh led Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt to cut their diplomatic ties with Doha earlier in June. 
 
Turkey and Kuwait have tried to mediate between the two sides, but there are no immediate indications that the biggest crisis to hit the Gulf in many years will end any time soon. 

 

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