DUBAI/KUWAIT CITY, Nov 25, (RTRS): Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been quietly reining in their clerics on concerns that preachers could use their influence to stir up trouble and inflame sectarian divisions at a time of high tension over the crises in Syria and Egypt. Authorities in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to a powerful conservative clergy, have declined to respond to local media reports in recent months which said nearly 20 clerics had been sacked or suspended.
RIYADH: The $12 billion in aid Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait offered Egypt this week showed their delight at the army’s ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in a reversal for Islamists empowered by the Arab ferment of 2011. It also marked a recalibration of power among Gulf Arab states which, with the notable exception of Qatar, had viewed the Arab uprisings as catastrophic for regional stability and feared the Muslim Brotherhood would use its domination of Egypt to push a radical, Islamist agenda in their own backyard.
The Gulf Cooperation Council yesterday unanimously declared Lebanon-based Hezbollah a terrorist organization and said it would take measures against the group’s interest in the Gulf countries.
“All GCC countries are convinced that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization,” Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Ghanim bin Fadl Al-Buainain told reporters following a meeting of GCC foreign ministers in Jeddah.
Saudi Arabia has arrested 10 more suspects in what it says is a spy ring linked to Iran, state media report.
Those detained include eight Saudis, a Turk, and a Lebanese citizen. Eighteen people were arrested in the same case in March.
Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni Muslim, has recently repeatedly found itself at odds with Iran, an overwhelmingly Shia Muslim nation.
Iran has denied any involvement in spying in Saudi Arabia.
A special security court has issued 2,145 jail sentences for “supporting terrorism” since it was formed four and a half years ago, according to the Justice Ministry.
The Specialized Criminal Court often tries suspects accused of affiliation with Al-Qaeda's local branch, which operates in the region.
Spokesman Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Bakran told reporters that the Specialized Criminal Court has already ruled in 1,080 cases and is still looking into another 419 cases that involve 2,800 suspects.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah appointed Prince Saud bin Nayef as governor of the oil-producing Eastern Province, the Royal Court said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.
"Prince Mohamad bin Fahad bin Abdulaziz is relieved of his duties as the governor of the Eastern Province, upon his request, and Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz ... is appointed governor of the Eastern province," the statement released on Monday said.
Islamic scholar and Saudi religious figure Mohamed El-Areifi draws praise as well as criticism on a visit to Egypt.
Manama: Saudi Arabia on Monday told Iran to stop interfering in internal Gulf Arab affairs and spreading “sedition”, activities Tehran denies.
The comments, made by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal, follow similar allegations levelled at Iran by the kingdom in the past, and other Gulf states are likely to voice similar complaints at a summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that opened on Monday.
Manama: Syria’s opposition and its Gulf backers will press western governments this week to supply weapons to rebels, arguing that significant progress has been made to unify armed groups and bring them under civilian control.
As the Friends of Syria coalition prepares to meet in Marrakech on Wednesday, opposition leaders and Gulf officials said the time for outside direct military intervention has passed, with the rebels’ demands confined to supplies of arms, particularly anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.