The brothers in Kuwait always need to discover the truth themselves and they’re very sensitive to any Gulf or regional warning. Relations with Iran are not the first when it comes to this matter.
Fortunately, Tehran’s harm which targeted Kuwait was aborted at early stages either when the Hezbollah cell was discovered or when its members fled. The Kuwaiti government acted without being advised or incited, and it expelled Iranian diplomats in the country reducing their number to four. It also shut down the Iranian embassy’s technical offices and missions as it was proven they are dens for espionage and arranging terrorist operations.
Terrorism is nothing strange to Iran as its terrorist activities can be seen in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and even Latin America. The surprise is that Iran targeted Kuwait which is one of the most reconciled countries with it. Kuwait’s emir visited Tehran three years ago despite the bad timing on the Gulf level and three top Kuwaiti officials congratulated Tehran for the nuclear agreement and viewed it as a positive turning point. Kuwait then welcomed Iranian President Hassan Rowhani. His visit to Kuwait was described by the Iranian envoy in the country as a positive move in the region. Cooperation committees were formed at a time when Tehran’s relations with Riyadh were deteriorating and Iranian Revolutionary Guards were fighting in Syria. In September 2014, around four months after the visit, Iranians entered Sanaa to work with Houthi militias.
A year after this openness and positive Kuwaiti policy, security forces discovered massive amounts of weapons in the possession of a Kuwaiti terrorist cell that consists of over 20 people who are affiliated with Iran. Their intentions were to harm the stability of Kuwait which did not engage in any hostile activity against Tehran – not even verbally. Kuwait proved, whether through the naivety of its policy or through its attempt to test the honesty of its Iranian neighbor that it’s impossible to deal with Iran without being cautious and without looking out for potential threats. The detained members of the Iranian cell escaped – the cell is called as such but only one of its members is Iranian and the rest are Kuwaiti. It was the Iranian embassy that planned their escape. This was viewed as a flagrant aggression against Kuwait’s sovereignty as Iranian Revolutionary Guard wings in the Iranian embassy in Kuwait planned the detainees’ escape and smuggled them out of the country via boats to Iran.
Dangerous Iranian interference in Kuwait and Bahrain takes back everyone to square oneAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Kuwait has now realized that being lenient while dealing with Iran and other parties affiliated with it is what made them dare to harm it and facilitated achieving the aims they had failed to achieve in Bahrain when they tried to release terrorists from prison and smuggle them via boats. Bahraini authorities thwarted this attempt at the beginning of 2017.
Dangerous Iranian interferences in Kuwait and Bahrain takes back everyone to square one which stipulates that Gulf Cooperation Council countries can only confront Iran, which hasn’t stopped targeting them, together. GCC countries must realize this and Qatar must realize this much more than Kuwait because it has severed Iran’s policy by allying with it in the past decade and supported extremist opposition groups in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. This is exactly why these countries cannot keep silent over Qatar’s irresponsible practices which pave way for Iranian threats and incite to overturn regimes. Qatar’s current rapprochement with Iran and warmer ties with Turkey will burden it a lot more than burdening others. Qatar chose to take risks by dealing with powers that it will not be able to get rid of in the future and it only did so because it does not want to cooperate with the four countries that asked it to stop exporting chaos and inciting against them.
Kuwait tried to keep a reasonable political distance from Tehran but we’ve all seen the results now. So what do you think will happen with Qatar that chose to work with those with ambitions in this rich region?
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.