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The necessary friendship

Ahmad al-Sarraf

Published: Updated:

As soon as it was announced in the media that the United States intended to send a few thousand Afghan translators—who had cooperated with the US during its presence in Afghanistan—to Kuwait and two other countries, welcoming statements were issued by both those countries, whereas our own Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs initially refrained to comment on the news.

Remnants of nationalists, and their newfound fundamentalist and Muslim Brotherhood supporters, as well as some heavyweight MPs, took advantage of the government’s silence, and demanded that the Afghans be denied entry because their presence would pose a threat to the country's security, branding them as traitors who cooperated with those who occupied their country!!

I do not wish to underplay the danger of receiving and maintaining such a large number of Afghans among us, and their presence may become a cause for embarrassment and could expose us to terrorist acts as a result. But we are bound by a security agreement with the United States, the main country that liberated us and returned to us back our homeland and dignity. We also deposit and invest billions of dollars in its banks and companies for future generations, and on top of that, more than 13,000 Kuwaiti students receive their education in the US, not to mention our commercial relations and military cooperation. Therefore, we should have been in favor of receiving and hosting these Afghans, until they relocate to their final destination. This is what is expected of an ally, not letdown and refusal, as demanded by those opposing the decision to host the Afghan translators! Note that Kuwait is a major official ally of America, one of only a handful outside NATO.

Our geographical and demographic situation, and our ongoing internal weakness, render it imperative for us to strengthen our alliances with Britain and the United States, and to strengthen our relations with GCC countries, despite their weakness. As for pulling inward and relying on our own strengths, on par with Switzerland, as demanded by some, these are wonderful ideas on paper, and an opportunity for flexing our muscles, albeit impractical and inapplicable—even for a matter of a few hours—in our country. The human structure was weak on August 2, 1990, the date of the Iraqi invasion, and it is now—after all the manipulations of the national identity—even weaker, as the outcomes of the last elections attest.

We must work to be worthy of the confidence of our major allies, internationally and subsequently regionally, and not bite the hand that has helped us through dire straits, nor be like countries such as Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, but rather be like Japan, Germany and South Korea, which accepted the American presence on their soil, and consequently achieved security, stability and economic advancement, notwithstanding their undisputed superiority compared to us!

Note: I wrote the above article before the news of missiles, mostly fired from Iraq, falling near our shared borders, as rumor has it!

This news reinforces our demand for the necessity of consolidating and strengthening our relations with the two great allies, for in their hands is the most precious thing we have: the security of our homeland, of our financial resources... and of our citizens!

The conflicting security statements indicate that our borders are not secure, and our border control systems are ineffective....if they exist at all!!

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas.

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