The largely Sunni-Arab nation of Kuwait is suing a Shiite newspaper over its use of the term “invasion” to describe the deployment of Saudi forces in Bahrain to assist in quelling protests there, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
“So far we have not received official notification, though we heard that we have been referred to the public prosecution for criticizing Saudi Arabia,” Al-Dar newspaper editor Abdulhussein al-Sultan said. But local media is reporting that Kuwait’s acting information minister, Rudhan al-Rudhan, ordered the suit after meeting with Sultan and asking him to stop articles that could damage relations between Arab states in the Gulf.
The meeting came after Al-Dar published a front-page article entitled “Saudi invasion” about events in Bahrain, Sultan said. “Rudhan conveyed the wish of the political leadership not to indulge in issues that undermine Gulf ties,” the editor said. “We always say yes to the emir’s wishes.”
Kuwait is no exception to the soaring sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims across the region following the uprising in Shiite-majority Bahrain, which was met with a harsh crackdown by that nation’s Sunni monarchy.
Sunni MPs in Kuwait vowed Saturday to question the prime minister in parliament over not sending troops to Bahrain under the aegis of the six-member Gulf Cooperative Council’s (GCC) Peninsula Shield force, and accused Shiite Iran of meddling in Bahraini affairs.
It remains whether Kuwaiti troops were or weren’t sent to Bahrain as announced by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of whom deployed forces to Bahrain on March 16. Bahrain’s army chief of staff said Monday that Kuwaiti navy units had joined other Gulf forces deployed in Bahrain for joint exercises. A Qatari military official said last week that his country’s troops had also formed part of the joint Peninsula Shield force deployed to Bahrain.
Fear of Shiite Iran’s intentions vis-a-vis the Persian Gulf region have been foremost in the minds of GCC members who, while hoping to stanch unrest in Bahrain and Oman with economic aid packages, issued a stern warning for ‘outsiders’ to stay out of their affairs.
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