Arab Spring stumbles in Kuwait

Arab Spring stumbles in Kuwait. 45997.jpegEmir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah held an emergency meeting of the Cabinet. After the meeting, the Kuwaiti government media learned of the decision of the monarch to dismiss the government and dissolve the parliament. This time, the Emir sacrificed the prime minister, his nephew.

Before the decision of the monarch riots were raging in the capital of Kuwait. They stemmed from the information about government corruption. The local press obtained information that the leading ministers and representatives of pro-government forces in the parliament took bribes in the millions of dollars.

Representatives of the opposition in the parliament of Kuwait demanded a wide-ranging parliamentary investigation and called for the prime minister to provide an explanation to the people. The investigation has not been carried out. Then, the Kuwaiti opposition called on its supporters to take to the streets.

Head of the cabinet Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was in the heart of the scandal. He is a member of the royal family, a nephew of the current Emir of Kuwait. He was appointed to his position on February 8, 2006. In the next five years the Sheikh was endlessly accused of taking bribes, and his uncle each time solved the issue in favor of his nephew either by dissolving the parliament or dismissing the government.

The last time an anti-corruption scandal erupted in March of 2009. Then it was quickly solved according to the old scenario: the initiator of the scandal, Kuwait's parliament, was dissolved, and Sheikh Nasser headed the cabinet.

In December of 2010, the opposition took to the streets. The authorities ordered the police to use batons for the first time. Later Emir Sabah the Fourth ordered to give every citizen of the emirate allowance of one thousand dinars (approximately three thousand dollars) and food stamps. Neither of the measures has helped and in March of 2011 the country was rocked by demonstrations and strikes. The protests also affected Kuwait's oil industry.

Oil is the biggest source of income for this country. The average monthly salary of a Kuwaiti is $10,000. The Kuwaitis pay no taxes and receive interest-free loans from the state, free medical care and free education.

In the fall of 2011 in Kuwait another political crisis broke up. Local media was shaken by unprecedented government corruption. Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah and members of the ruling family were again in the heart of the scandal. The parliamentary opposition again demanded an investigation. Neither the Emir nor head of the cabinet reacted. On October 18 Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah resigned.

Kuwaiti newspaper "Al-Anba" wrote that a member of the ruling family resigned in protest against government inaction in relation to a corruption scandal. In addition deputies were accused of accepting bribes. Ministry of Finance until recently was headed by a member of the ruling family Al-Sabah, Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah.

As one would expect, the October resignation of Foreign Minister did not satisfy the opposition. The opposition started its actions on November 16 of this year.

That day the opposition gathered for another rally against Sheikh Nasser. Then the column of demonstrators turned toward the house of the prime minister where they were met by armed police. At the attempt to break through to the house five protesters were injured. After a brief clash with the law enforcers the protesters turned to the parliament building.

The actions of the demonstrators were coordinated by opposition lawmaker Mohammed al-Barak. He instructed the protesters to storm the parliament building. Kuwait's National Guard troops were ordered to "use force".

The Kuwaiti demonstrators chose not to be violent. They quietly entered the meeting room and sang the national anthem. After that, all the protesters in an organized manner left the parliament. At the exit they were met by police. The same day, 24 activists were arrested.

While in prison, they went on hunger strike and complained of mistreatment. On November 23 the opposition rally began at the building of the Ministry of Justice, demanding the release of those arrested. The picket lasted until November 28th. That day the government was dismissed; this time along with Sheikh Nasser.

Leonid Ivashov, Colonel-General, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues, Doctor of Historical Sciences shared his comments on the motives of Emir with Pravda.Ru:

"Kuwait has been moving towards the "Arab spring" according to the Egyptian scenario. I think that the resignation of the government was a warning and a preventive measure. The government that the people were unhappy with has resigned to prevent a revolution in the country.

"Kuwait clearly sees what is happening in the Arab East. The events in Egypt and Tunisia show that corrupt regimes can be overthrown and replaced. On the one hand, nationalism is awakening in the Arab world; on the other hand, anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments are growing. Therefore, the resignation of the cabinet of Sheikh Nasser is a preventive measure.

"They decided to sacrifice the untouchable figure of the sheikh. Especially, considering that near Kuwait there is Iraq where anti-American sentiment is increasing and where terrorist attacks have been recently organized. The "Arab spring" affects the Arab world as a dangerous virus epidemic. I think that even those who are behind the "Arab spring" are in a state of panic. In any country where it happens there is palpable hatred towards America and Israel.

"Iran cannot be disregarded either as it is preparing its own preventive measures in the Middle East. The Iranians have their own ally in this region - Oman. During the next year or two unimaginable things could happen in this region. The map of the Middle East may be drastically redrawn. I met with several politically neutral Arab politicians. Many of them had held high positions in various countries; many are still in politics today.

"They strongly condemned the decision by the League of Arab States on Libya and Syria. When I said that the Arab League is becoming increasingly Nazi-minded, none of these Arabs objected."

Arthur Priymak


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov