Kuwait’s cabinet resigned en masse after Parliament called on several ministers to answer questions.
One contentious issue was the government’s lack of response to a program that appeared on Bahraini television; it reportedly blamed Shiites for the recent uprising in that country. Saleh Ashour, a Shiite Member of the Kuwaiti Parliament, had called on the foreign minister to explain why he had not responded to the “revolting and insulting statements” in the program.
Bahrain has a majority Shiite population but is ruled by a Sunni monarchy. The protests there have triggered new tensions in Kuwait between the Sunni majority and the Shiite minority.
About 30 percent of Kuwait’s 1.15 million people are Shiites, and they have staged a number of demonstrations in support of protesters in Bahrain. Even as Kuwaiti Sunnis have staged demonstrations in support of Bahrain’s ruling Sunni monarchy.
Also, Kuwaiti Sunnis accuse Iran of interfering in Bahrain’s internal affairs. Relations worsened when Kuwait expelled Iranian diplomats. On March 29, Kuwait sentenced two Iranians and a Kuwaiti to death for alleged spying.
Iran has denied the charges; however, the Bahraini government, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. continue to accuse Iran of fomenting unrest in the Persian Gulf region.