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Kuwait's Sunnis question fellow Shiites' loyalties

Kuwait is experiencing heightened Sunni-Shiite tensions, but the country's position in the region may make it difficult to address them should the situation worsen.

Kuwait remains mired in political and sectarian tumult following a controversial visit by the Shiite parliamentarian Abdul Hamid Dashti to Lebanon on July 16. While there, Dashti convened a fatiha council, a Shiite traditional gathering to console the family of a deceased member, and read suras. The event, at Beirut's Al-Saha Hotel, was held to honor the souls of the 27 people killed June 26 in Kuwait at Al-Sadiq Mosque by a suicide bomber. More than 220 people were wounded. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility.

The problem in Kuwaiti eyes was not the visit itself nor Dashti accepting the condolences of non-Kuwaiti mourners outside of Kuwait for an event that had occurred in Kuwait. What offended most of them and led to an escalation in sectarian rhetoric on the streets of Kuwait and accusations of some Shiite figures threatening national unity were the photos that Dashti posted on his Twitter account July 19. Dashti is close to Iran and Hezbollah, Tehran's Lebanese ally.

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