Hezbollah Sleeper Cells in Kuwait Are a Wake-up Call

  • Middle East Policy

    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

Guest Commentary

Kuwait’s discovery of a massive secret weapons cache, including rocket launchers, machine guns and grenades, in the hands of one of Hezbollah’s sleeping cells allegedly plotting to overthrow the government should be viewed as a harbinger of Tehran’s future malicious intentions. An immediate response, beyond mere verbal condemnation, is needed from GCC States.

Apparently such cells have been in existence for 16 years awaiting the moment to strike. The Arab Times reveals that all 25 Kuwaiti, Lebanese and Iranian suspects were trained in Lebanon and reports that a foreign intelligence service had warned the Ministry of Interior almost a year ago of an upcoming terrorist plot “against Kuwait by a sleeper cell belonging to Hezbollah”.

Together, Gulf States make-up one interlocking body formed on the basis of geography, common history and ties of blood. When one of its extremities is injured the others are more vulnerable. Therefore, all GCC member states must take the toughest measures possible to protect their borders and to use every available tool to root out those who would harm us.

Guest commentators on the Al Arabiya channel expressed their surprise at Kuwait’s lack of decisive action to thwart these kinds of threats, and I could not agree more, given Iran’s destructive meddling in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.

Iran is the mastermind behind many regional troubles, but Hezbollah is the implementer. Kuwait needs to get tough but its democratic system of governance and constitution may be restraining the authorities. Kuwaitis tend to treat their constitution with reverence but it is not a holy book. If its civil liberties provisions endanger the country, it should be changed to give the government a free hand to deal with individuals or parties having dubious links to foreign governments and organisations.

Muna al-Fuzai, a Kuwaiti journalist, hit the nail on the head when she wrote, it is imperative to “put an end to the intervention of pro-Iranian parties in Gulf States, whether in Kuwait or other states and those who support them…”

Indeed, if democratic freedom means opening up ones house to enemies, however they are disguised, then who needs it! Let us not be fooled by the illusion of western-style democracy. In my view, Kuwait’s Parliament is holding the country back from political stability, economic growth and from adopting stringent security policies. The democratic process permits infiltration by parties covertly serving an Iranian agenda.

Years ago, some Kuwaiti lawmakers displayed their loyalty to Hezbollah during visits to Lebanon, appalling when one recalls Hezbollah’s multiple attacks on targets and assassination attempts in Kuwait during the 1980s. Kuwait should purge parliament of treasonous representatives too cosy with Iran.

Kuwait was one of the first countries to declare Hezbollah terrorist, yet the organisation still manages to remain active on Kuwaiti soil. No citizen should be allowed to jeopardise Kuwait’s national security and anyone who does so, should face the death penalty.

Kuwait’s experiment with democracy needs fine-tuning. In the meantime, I would ask GCC member states, in particular Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to respectfully urge Kuwait to call for a State of Emergency in the first instance. Moreover, every Gulf State must be on alert for Iranian plots.

Most of this region’s troubles are rooted in Iran’s thirst for hegemony. That is known! So, the Obama administration’s portrayal of Iran as a benign entity insults our intelligence.

We are not safer just because Iran’s nuclear ambitions are curbed for ten years; on the contrary, the ayatollahs will soon be flush with US$ 80 billion to fuel Tehran’s troublemaking regional proxies and affiliates. Here is the evidence straight from the horse’s mouth.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will always support the current resistance front and of course, with the nuclear agreement, it will have more power to side with its friends in the region, said Ali Akbar Velayati, a high Iranian official who is also the Secretary General of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening.

Iran and its Iranian satellite Hezbollah have a single goal, ideological and physical domination of the Arab World; its prime target being oil-rich GCC States. Why do Gulf countries maintain diplomatic relations with a country that has boasted its control of Arab capitals and used proxies to attempt to overthrow our leaderships?

The call by Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah for a dialogue between the GCC and Iran, was backed by Oman but rightly met with deep reservations from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain. Iran is not seeking reconciliation but rather supremacy and Gulf States should not engage with its game that amounts to a PR exercise for western consumption.

The GCC should cut all diplomatic and economic ties with Tehran and Beirut starting with the withdrawal of ambassadors from both Iran and Lebanon, which has recently benefited from billions in aid from the countries Hezbollah is attacking. Its ingratitude is astounding!

Kuwait dodged the bullet this time. Together, our leaderships must do all in their power to ensure there won’t be a next.

  • Middle East Policy

    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

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