Opposition society seeks Kuwaiti mediation in national dialogue

March 26, 2011

Kuwait’s parliament speaker has reportedly told Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest political society, that he would push for mediation with the Bahraini authorities only after the society submits a formal request signed by the Bahraini opposition.

In the letter, the opposition would request the facilitation, would not set any precondition for the launch of the national dialogue and would relinquish its earlier demands for the change of the political regime, the imposition of a constitutional constituency and the resignation of the prime minister, Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassahreported on Friday.

According to the newspaper report, Jasem Al Khorafi told the delegation from Al Wefaq at a meeting in Kuwait City to avoid linking between “putting an end to the violence” with the start of the dialogue.

“This condition would take us to causality dilemma about which came first, the chicken or the egg,” he said.

The daily said that Al Wefaq had dispatched the delegation to help persuade Kuwait’s Emir on the importance of mediation between the opposition and the authorities over the impasse to the dialogue.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa last month offered a national dialogue to help the country out of a looming political and economic crisis following deadly clashes between the police and protesters.

In his offer, Prince Salman said there would be no taboos and all groups could take part.

However, the opposition shunned the call and insisted, despite strong advise from the US administration, that the authorities meet its pre-conditions before agreeing to the dialogue.

But when the authorities declared the State of National Safety, the emergency laws, on March 16, the top priority in the country shifted from the dialogue to the imposition of law and order and several figures from the opposition were arrested for inciting for the overthrow of the regime.

In an attempt to push for a national dialogue, Al Wefaq whose 18 MPs resigned in February to protest against the government’s stances has reportedly sought the mediation of the Emir of Kuwait.

Al Seyassah said that selection of the Emir of Kuwait was based on the fact that “he enjoys the respect of all Bahrainis” and that “he is the only leader who can intercede with the Bahraini leadership.”

However, Al Khorafi, according to the daily, blamed the society and the opposition for not heeding the Emir’s words when he called for calm in the early stages of the protests.

“There is no way HH the Emir will mediate while the opposition calls for a constitutional monarchy and for the resignation of the prime minister. Kuwait is keen on the stability of Bahrain and while HH the Emir is ready to oversee the dialogue when the opposition is effectively and realistically ready and committed to the dialogue. Now, we are waiting for the response of the Bahraini opposition,” Al Khorafi reportedly said.

“The political regime in Bahrain is a red line and there is no room for any interpretation, negotiation or discussion about it. All statements about the regime should be stopped right now because they will only fuel sedition and provoke sensitivities that we can well do without,” he said.

Interest in the Bahraini situation received a boost following the deployment of units from the Peninsula Shield, the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in Bahrain and statements by Bahraini leaders that Iran and Hizbullah had blatantly interfered in the domestic affairs of the GCC countries.

The Kuwaiti media said that 20 local lawmakers would be involved in a rally to stress the robust links between GCC countries and to reject external interference.

“The rally will highlight the deep-historical and strategic relations between the GCC countries,” MP Faisal Al Mislim said. “We will not allow anyone to harm any of us.”

Although the organisers did not name it, Iran loomed large in the rally following accusations that Tehran was guilty of blatant interference in the domestic affairs of Bahrain.

However, Kuwaiti MP Mubaral Al Waalan named Iran as the target of his question to Shaikh Mohammad Al Sabah, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

Al Waalan said that he wanted to know the number of diplomats, administrators and employees at the Iranian embassy in Kuwait.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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