Kuwait hovers between neutrality and isolation

Kuwait City (Photo by Shutterstock)

The Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah, both from Kuwait, seek to isolate the country and antagonise the Gulf States and its Western allies, writes Ahmad Abdul-Rahman.

On the eve of US President Joe Biden's recent visit to the Middle East, a statement was issued in Kuwait condemning it and rejecting peace talks with Israel. It also declined joining what the statement called the "Arab alliance", while warning others against joining it and demanding a policy of neutrality.

The statement was signed by various organisations within the country, some of whom are known for being patriotic, for their work in the political arena, and their public works generally. Others are completely unknown and have no real presence except for signing these statements. However, the two most important forces in Kuwait who signed the statement are the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah.

Before commenting on this statement, Saad bin Tafla Al-Ajmi, the former Minister of Information in Kuwait, said two issues must be clarified: the first is a conviction, and the second is a declared fact. The conviction is that peace relations are a result of negotiations, not a policy. There will also be no real peace with Israel unless the normal conditions for the relationship with it are in place. These conditions require recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people, self-determination and an end to the seizure of their land. Relations with Israel today are limited only to official levels, and they will not be achieved at the popular level unless the rights of the Palestinian people are recognised. On the official level, the Palestinians have signed agreements with Israel and coordinate with it on all levels, including the security ones. Nonetheless, the Palestinian people are unable to make real peace with Israel, even though most of them desire it.

Unfortunately, Joe Biden's visit to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia resulted in nothing but an Arab alliance that includes the moderate Arab countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, and Bahrain. This was stated by the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

The Kuwaiti public did not even pay attention to this statement, which is seen as an attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah to isolate Kuwait from other Gulf countries. The justification continues to be the Palestinian issue.

This was the justification used by the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein when he invaded and occupied Kuwait in 1990. The same justification was used by Iran for its intervention in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Other dictatorial regimes in Arabia have used this reasoning to justify the oppression and subjugation of their peoples. The slogan that continues to be used is: "No voice is louder than the sound of battle."

The Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah have sought to isolate Kuwait from its surroundings and antagonise the Gulf States and Kuwait's western allies. This has been led by the US, whose army is stationed at Arifjan base in Kuwait, under a protection agreement signed between Kuwait and the US. Consequently, it was logical for the signatories of the statement to demand the departure of the US army instead of sterile controversy, under the pretext of rejecting peace relations with the Israelis.

As for issuing a statement against the visit of Joe Biden, the Supreme Commander of the US Army to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the statement said that the visit would not only be rhetoric but it would be be political stupidity. This was an attempt to isolate Kuwait from the Gulf rather tha  defending the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people.

There is concern that the neutral position of Kuwait to solve the problems in Lebanon and Yemen, and even within the Gulf countries, is no longer valid. Neutrality is one thing, however; isolation from the Gulf is another. Neutrality from the Gulf States means isolation and separation, and exposes Kuwait's strategic security to imminent and immediate dangers.


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Sunday, 25 September 2022