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Iraq demands apology after Bahraini FM calls al-Sadr a ‘dog’

Iraq‘s foreign ministry has demanded that Bahrain issue an official apology after the Gulf kingdom’s top diplomat said the Iranian government “controlled” Baghdad and referred to a top Shia cleric in disparaging terms.

“The words of the Bahraini foreign ministry – representing Bahraini diplomacy – are offensive to Muqtada al-Sadr … [and] are totally unacceptable in diplomatic practice,” the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“They also harm Iraq, its sovereignty and independence, especially when the Bahraini minister speaks of Iraq being under the control of neighbouring Iran.”

Bahraini Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmed called al-Sadr a “dog” in a tweet on Saturday after the latter denounced the wars in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria and demanded their leaders’ immediate departure. 

Translation: Muqtada expresses his fear of increased [foreign] intervention in Iraq … and instead of putting his finder on Iraq’s wounds by directing his speech at the Iranian regime that controls his country, he chose the safe route and addressed Bahrain. God save Iraq from his likes.  

In response, Bahrain’s foreign ministry summoned Iraq’s top envoy, Charge d’Affaires Nihad Rajab Askar, to express the kingdom’s dismay.

“The statement is a blatant and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain,” a statement by the Bahrain foreign ministry said.

“It violates the principles of international law and affects the nature of relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Republic of Iraq.”

Last year, Manama summoned Askar after former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with a delegation from the February 14 movement, an opposition group the Bahraini government labelled a terrorist organisation. 

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