The Kuwaiti emir’s messages of wariness and concern

Sheikh Sabah urged everyone to renounce pessimism and to look at things with optimism and hope.
Sunday 03/11/2019
A voice of reason. Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (R) reads his opening speech at the start of the fourth ordinary session of the 15th Legislative Parliament in Kuwait City, October 29. (Reuters)
A voice of reason. Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (R) reads his opening speech at the start of the fourth ordinary session of the 15th Legislative Parliament in Kuwait City, October 29. (Reuters)

The inauguration of the new parliamentary season in Kuwait by Emir Sheikh Sabah Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah was not an ordinary occasion in many ways because the emir voiced warnings in several directions.

The first message from the October 29 event was the standing ovation to welcome Sheikh Sabah, accompanied by Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq al-Ghanim. This unprecedented welcome renewed the Kuwaiti people’s bonds of love for the person of the emir and for his role. It was particularly heartwarming knowing that Sheikh Sabah, 90, had been convalescing for some time.

Sheikh Sabah’s face translated his tremendous gratitude and happiness to be with his people as he returned the applause and greeted the audience.

The second message concerned the situation in the Gulf. “It is no longer acceptable and bearable to continue with a dispute between our brothers in the [Gulf Cooperation Council] GCC,” Sheikh Sabah said. “This dispute has weakened our capabilities and threatened our achievements. The situation requires that we immediately rise above our differences and strengthen our unity and solidify our position.”

Those closely monitoring Kuwaiti efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis are aware of the momentum given to the mediation in recent weeks. It is hoped those efforts will culminate in breakthroughs, considering the high-level exchanges between officials from Kuwait and other GCC countries.

Kuwait’s optimism remains dependent on Qatar’s desire to respond to Sheikh Sabah’s endeavours and meet the conditions required of it, which would allow renewed dialogue with the boycotting countries.

Sheikh Sabah also urged Kuwaitis to strengthen national unity against the crises raging in the region.

“We have to learn the lesson from what is happening around us. We have no choice but to consolidate our national unity and the cohesion of our society and reject the causes of sedition, divisiveness and the hateful ethnic strife,” the emir said.

Sheikh Sabah had in previous speeches alluded to this issue and especially to the vile role of some social media that have become “shops” for rent by Kuwaiti forces that are hungry for power and want to settle internal scores.

Kuwaiti media recently revealed the identities and goals of those behind fake anti-Kuwait social media accounts. Investigations by the Public Prosecutor’s Office uncovered disturbing and dangerous facts about those people’s intentions and sources of funding.

Sheikh Sabah devoted part of his speech to sedition and internal strife, saying that one of the most serious causes of those evils is “the deviant use of social media and turning them into destructive tools and virtual picks to chip away at our national unity and libel people. I’ve invited you on more than one occasion to act quickly and forcefully in order to eliminate this dangerous phenomenon and protect our society from its deadly pests.”

A fourth notable message was Sheikh Sabah’s renewed trust in the parliamentary leadership of Ghanim and of Prime Minister Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah. The emir praised the men’s “fruitful roles in giving shape to the desired cooperation between the two branches in pursuit of the national goals in the service of the homeland and the citizens.”

He renewed the call for parliament and government to cooperate in the interest of Kuwait and of Kuwaitis in compliance with the democratic process and the constitutional instruments related to oversight and accountability.

He said: “I ask everyone in the Assembly and in the government to always make Kuwait’s interest your first concern and preoccupation and to never place any other interest or purpose above it. This requires you to cooperate constructively and seriously for the sake of Kuwait’s supreme interest.

“By this, I do not mean that you should forgo your constitutional oversight prerogatives but to put them to best use, fairly and without exaggeration.”

Sheikh Sabah urged everyone to renounce pessimism and to look at things with optimism and hope.

“We have to evaluate our affairs objectively and fairly,” he said. “We have shortcomings and we should not accept to leave them unattended but we also have a lot to be proud of and we have enough ambition and aspirations that require us to roll up our sleeves and get on with the job of achieving them.”

8