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Why offend Kuwait now?

Nadim Koteich

Published: Updated:

Out of the entire Lebanese context, a political commentator on Al Manar television channel that is affiliated with Hezbollah criticized the Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. His comments sparked a wave of political and media condemnation which reflects Kuwait's position among the Lebanese people with all their social, sectarian and political sections.

Criticism backfires

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri was one of the prominent voices who condemned the comments made by the commentator from Hezbollah’s side. I was told that he had instructed his team not to receive the young commentator who was sharing pictures with him (with Berri). As for Al-Manar, it disclaimed the comments of its guest and directed, through an urgent news series, good words about Kuwait and its Emir.

In a televised address in 2015, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah saluted the Emir of Kuwait amid what he called a Kuwaiti consensus to denounce the terrorist bombing of the Imam al-Sadiq mosque in Kuwait.

In this sense, this offense came outside the context of the many Lebanese conflicts in which local affairs are mixed with regional ones in a very complex manner.

What produced this reaction from Hezbollah and the Amal Movement was that they found themselves a prey to exploitation by a commentator whom they have always spoiled, provided with information and analysis and sponsored his television appearances, the latest of which came on the party’s TV channel to serve an agenda that was not a priority for either.
Analyzing the content of this invective indicates that the commentator jumped from the promotion of false news about the visit of the Emir of Kuwait to Washington, to immediately bringing back up an insulting phrase used by Bashar al-Assad in 2006 to criticize former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Perhaps, he wanted to use other expressions made by Assad. What we can understand from this that the offense is an intentional Syrian message which the commentator has been requested to convey to Kuwait. But why now?

Criticism of Kuwaiti Emir is an intentional message from Syria directed through a commentator on Al-Manar TV channel

Nadim Koteich

Syrian message

About a week ago, the UN Security Council witnessed a debate between Kuwait’s Ambassador to the UN Mansour Al-Otaibi and Assad’s representative Bashar Al-Jaafari during a session devoted to deliberating on a draft resolution over the humanitarian truce in Syria and which was prepared by Kuwait in coordination with Sweden.

Kuwait’s delegate had previously spoke of the unjustified absence of the Houthi militia from the Geneva round of consultations on Yemen and said that not attending was another episode of the Houthis’ ongoing series of violations of international law and international humanitarian law and their failure to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

Otaibi urged to work towards a political solution based on the three agreed terms of reference: the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism, the outcomes of the national dialogue in Yemen and the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular Resolution 2216, which is a full and comprehensive commitment to the Gulf framework to the solution which Syria, Iran and their tools are trying to abort in all the present cases and crises.

The Emir of Kuwait had also made a generous initiative to resolve the Gulf crisis during his meeting with US President Donald Trump, in full compliance with the 13 conditions set by the Gulf States on Qatar as a framework for the solution.

False presumption

This Kuwaiti constancy in terms of its political stances regarding the region’s crises and which Kuwait expresses in its own calm way may have been misunderstood by those who imagine Kuwait to be a Trojan Horse in the heart of the Gulf because of its political and social particularities and the distinctions of its political system.

In any case, it is not surprising that this or that country, especially those who are blinded by the severity of their crises, imagine that persuading Kuwait fully or partially to play the role played by Qatar is a possibility. This false presumption reflects political ignorance and resembles the clinging of the desperate to false hopes.

An example of this are the illusions broadcast by some commentators about dates for a meeting for the normalization of relations between Kuwait and the Assad regime through the reopening of the embassy or the appointment of a Chargé d'affaires. This kind of news keeps appearing, yet nothing of the sort has happened.

There have also been other reports about the Gulf; however, it’s enough to follow up on Gulf media to learn that the Gulf’s commitments regarding the Syrian crisis have not changed, with an openness to discuss all frameworks and mechanisms to resolve the crisis in accordance with these commitments, most notably the right of the Syrians to determine their fate and the Syrians’ and the Arabs’ right to end the Iranian occupation.

The good thing about the recent media fuss sparked by the cheap remarks against a major Arab figure like that of the Emir of Kuwait is that it expresses the desperation of those gambling on the fragmentation of the Gulf decision. It also showed the desperate attempts to break the unity of the position led by Saudi Arabia and the complete inability to understand the constants of policy making in this part of the world.

He who insulted cannot but insult if he realizes that the wisdom of Kuwait is not languor, and that the calmness of its policy is not weakness. Finally, as Abu at-Tayyib al- Mutanabbi said: “If you see the fangs of the lion, don't think the lion is smiling.”

This article is also available in Arabic.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.