Coordinating Against Democracy

The interior minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah attended a GCC security meeting in Riyadh, shortly before returning to Kuwait from Saudi Arabia he announced, through the state news agency KUNA, that there was “a high-level security coordination among the GCC countries to facing future challenges.” According to KUNA, “The final statement of the one-day meeting included resolutions and recommendations that would activate common security challenges and plans.”

The article goes on to say that “very important” decisions were made at the meeting that were “aimed at addressing present, urgent, and future security challenges.” It also said that the Sheikh Ahmad sent a cable to Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, the interior minister of Saudi Arabia thanking him for organizing the meeting. This article is very bland, if not cryptic. It provides absolutely no details at all about what was discussed at the meeting, or its purpose. What are the “present, urgent and future security challenges” that are being addressed? But there is more.

There’s more however, as another article about the same meeting, also on KUNA, describes more about what was discussed. The Saudi Interior Minister said that he hoped for increased security cooperation among the GCC states. Meanwhile, the Interior minister of the UAE, (who is also Deputy Prime Minister) Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al-Nahyan urged the GCC states to develop “unified security policies” that would contribute to “cementing security, stability, and sustainable development.”  A third article also mentions that the six states signed a security agreement. The article also mentions that the Interior Minister of Bahrain thanked the other GCC countries for “standing by Bahrain in the face of terrorism and violence,” and that the Secretary General of the GCC gave condolence to Bahrain for members of the security forces who were killed in “terrorist acts” that were committed by “terrorist gangs.”

It is clear then, that this meeting was held to arrange ways to further clamp down on dissent among the GCC states. When Mohamed Abdul Qader al-Jasem wrote an article urging Saudi Arabia and the UAE to stay out of Kuwaiti affairs, this is what he was warning about. The “very important” decisions that were made almost certainly involved the “challenge” of preventing the people from attaining their rights. “Unified security policies” is, therefore, a codeword for more interventions of the type that happened when Saudi Arabia and the UAE moved to protect an authoritarian regime in Bahrain from the demands of the people.

By the way, it seems as though the Arabic version of the article and put it through Google Translate. What does it say about the government if they can’t even find someone to translate their articles properly.

Update 1: Kuwaiti Government Takes Action Against Mohammad Abdul Qader al-Jasem

Update: We have included an English translation of al-Jasem’s blog post below.

In a recent blog post, Mohammad Abdul Qader al-Jasem urged that Saudi Arabia and the UAE stay out of Kuwait’s internal affairs, and warned that protests in Kuwait could spread to those other countries as well. It is important to recall that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE dispatched forces to participate in cracking down on protests in Bahrain. The Foreign Ministry responded by threatening legal action against him, and he was banned from entering either the UAE or Saudi Arabia. This is not the first time that he has had problems with the authorities, as he has been detained before and was most recently released last year. He is also serving as the attorney for Musallam al-Barrak, the former MP who was jailed for urging the Emir not to be autocratic, and at the end of the post he urges that Barrack be freed. We have translated his blog post into English (the original post in Arabic can be found here), and it is included below:

A letter to a king and a Sheikh

Custodian of the two holy mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed AlNahyan

Peace be upon you, and God’s mercy and blessings,

I never imagined that I would talk to you through this website, so I am here to talk about what comes to mind when I think about Kuwait’s affairs. I am writing with complete freedom and I am saying what my mind and love of my country guide me to. However, these days Kuwait is reluctant because the government is trying to get rid of the relative freedom that we enjoy. It is also reluctant that your acceptance is under the influence that you are convinced that the atmosphere of political freedom in Kuwait threatens the political stability in the Gulf Cooperation Council and that it is inevitably limiting the freedom of an Arabian spring breeze.

This indifferent news is entirely accurate and could be the opposite. However, in any case, I wanted to draw your attention to an issue I believe is very important to us in Kuwait and to you in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as it is in the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

50 years passed on the “Democracy” of Kuwait, but with that, this democracy didn’t move to your cities; perhaps there were flaws with our parliamentary practices, flaws that made our democracy not subject to exportation. However, I would like to turn your attention to what is occurring in Kuwait today, such as “movements for change” which have expanded into traditional political movements and huge protests. The people have demolished all barriers to expression of opinion, and in the beginning, the government was using power and arresting people who opposed. This method may appeal to you, and perhaps for this reason, it was said that you encouraged moving forward in this new policy. This is why I found it important to point out to you that if Kuwaiti democracy has failed to move to your countries during the past five decades, the movement of change, the protests, the marches, and the demonstrations will be a lot easier and quicker. The sessions of the National Assembly of Kuwait and the Kuwaiti press is no longer alluring for follow up in the Gulf Cooperation Council; the demonstrations and protests will inevitably receive intensive follow up in the Gulf, and this will help speed up the process of transmission.

Custodian of the two holy mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed AlNahyan:

  • We in Kuwait are not in a feud with the family of Al Sabah at all. We are working, however, to preserve our rights as a people and our national wealth and dignity. Not one of us wants to bring down the regime; the change we seek is no more than constitutional. We do not have a “phobia” of our Muslim brotherhoods and tribes.
  • We in Kuwait believe that the nation is the source of authority, neither the state nor the princes.
  • We in Kuwait believe that the national wealth belongs to the people not to the king, the state, or the princes.
  • We in Kuwait believe that our ruler is just the head of state who is exercising his powers in accordance with the constitution, not a guardian ruling in the name of religion.
  • We in Kuwait believe that freedom is the value of humanity that cannot be seized by a Sheikh or a prince.
  • We in Kuwait do not accept oppression.
  • We in Kuwait do not believe in the theory of “Al-Seif w Al-Mansaf.”
  • We in Kuwait love our elders, even if we disagree with them.
  • And I don’t think that the convictions of the Saudi people or the people of the United Arab Emirates are different than previous.

In conclusion, I tell you with all love and appreciation that the demonstrations and protests do not need fifty years to spread; they might spread within weeks, and with God as our leader and guider to goodness and righteousness.

Freedom to Mussallam Al-Burrak, Freedom to Mussallam Al-Burrak, Freedom to Mussallam Al-Burrak, Freedom to Mussallam Al-Burrak!

10/30/2012

The Foreign Ministry of Kuwait responded to al-Jasem’s blog post by releasing the following statement, which was posted here in Arabic on on the website of the state news agency, KUNA. In their response they accused him of interference in the affairs of the UAE and Saudi Arabia as well as threatening Kuwait’s relations with those countries, and threatened that action would be taken against him. The statement is as follows (we translated it from the original Arabic):

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait

Kuwait 10-30 (Kona) An insider in the ministry of foreign affairs made a statement last night saying that the ministry was extremely disappointed in the announcement that was posted online by the writer Mohammad Abdelqader Al-Jasem, who, through the internet wrote a letter directed towards the custodian of the two holy mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (may God protect him) and to the crowned prince of Abu Dhabi, deputy supreme commander of the armed forces in the United Arab Emirates , his highness, Alsheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed AlNahyan (may God protect him.)

The ministry confirms its refusal and full rejection of the letter because it represents a misuse and prejudice of brotherly relations, both historically and fatefully in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The statement also represents the bypassing of the constants in these fraternal relations as well as showing unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the brothers.

The source adds that the Kuwait also disagrees with what was said in the letter and at the same time it represents the serious damage of awareness in the country.

The source concluded by saying that the ministry will be taking the necessary measures with the concerned parties for what was said in the letter in order to keep their relations with their brothers.